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son and his campaign reporter, Charles L. Swem, Bradford, Ohio, September 16, 1912 

A Crossroads of Freedom 


Edited by John Wells Davidson 





Copyright 1956 by Yale University Press. 
Printed in the United States of America by 
VaU-Ballou Press, Inc., Binghamton, N.Y. 
Afl rights reserved. This book may not be 
reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form 
(except by reviewers for the public press), 
without written permission from the publishers. 
Library of Congress catalog card number: 56-11796 





Part 1. Introduction 


Part 2. Opening the Campaign 


Delivered at Sea Girt, New Jersey, August 7, 1912. 


Delivered at Gloucester, New Jersey, August 15. 



Delivered at Williams Grove, Pennsylvania, August 29. 

Delivered at Williams Grove, Pennsylvania, August 29. 

Delivered August 29. 

Part 3. Campaigning in New York 


Delivered at Buffalo, New York, September 2 

Delivered at Buffalo, New York, September 2 



Address Delivered in New York City, September 4. 

Delivered in New York City, September 4. 

Address Delivered in New York City, September 9. 

Delivered in New York City, September 9. 




Delivered near Syracuse, New York, September 12. 

Address Delivered at Syracuse, New York, September 12. 

Copyright 1956 by Yflfe University Press. 
Printed in the United States of America by 
Vflfl-BoHou Press, Inc., Binghamton, N.Y. 
All rights reserved. This book may not be 
reproduced, In whole or in part, in any form 
(except by reviewers for the public press), 
without written permission from the publishers. 
Library of Congress catalog card number: 56-11796 





Part 1. Introduction 


Part 2. Opening the Campaign 


Delivered at Sea Girt, New Jersey, August 7, 1912. 


Delivered at Gloucester, New Jersey, August 15. 



Delivered at Williams Grove, Pennsylvania, August 29. 

Delivered at Williams Grove, Pennsylvania, August 29. 

Delivered August 29. 

Part 3. Campaigning in New York 


Delivered at Buffalo, New York, September 2 

Delivered at Buffalo, New York, September 2 



Address Delivered in New York City, September 4. 


Delivered in New York City, September 4. 

Address Delivered in New York City, September 9. 

Delivered in New York City, September 9. 




Delivered near Syracuse, New York, September 12. 

Address Delivered at Syracuse, New York, September 12. 

vi A Crossroads of Freedom 

Part 4. First Western Tour 



Delivered September 16. 

Speech Delivered at Logansport, Indiana, September 16. 

Delivered September 17. 

Delivered September 17. 

Speech Delivered at Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 18. 

Address Delivered at Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 18. 
AT ST. PAUL 196 




Delivered September 19. 

Delivered at Columbus, Ohio, September 20. 

Address Delivered at Columbus, Ohio, September 20. 

Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 


Address Delivered at Scranton, Pennsylvania, September 23. 

Address Delivered at Hartford, Connecticut, September 25. 

Address Delivered at New Haven, Connecticut, September 25. 

Delivered September 26. 

Address Delivered at Boston, September 27. 

Delivered September 27. 



Part 6. Second Western Tour 



Delivered at Indianapolis, Indiana, October 3. 

Contents vii 


Address at Indianapolis, October 3. 

Address Delivered at Kokomo, Indiana, October 4. 





Delivered at Omaha, Nebraska, October 5. 





Address Delivered at Lincoln, Nebraska, October 5. 


Delivered October 7. 



Delivered October 7. 

Delivered at Denver, Colorado, October 7. 



Delivered October 8. 

Delivered October 8. 

Address Delivered at Springfield, Illinois, October 9. 

Address Delivered at Springfield, Illinois, October 9. 
WELCOME TO ST. Louis 398 


Delivered October 9. 

Address Delivered at Chicago, October 10. 

Address Delivered at Chicago, October 10. 

Delivered October 11. 



Delivered in New York City, October 12. 

Part 7. The Last Phase 


October 17. 

viii A Crossroads of Freedom 




Delivered October 17. 


Address Delivered at Clarksburg, West Virginia, October 18. 



Address Delivered at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 18. 


Address Delivered at Pittsburgh, October 18. 


Delivered in Brooklyn, New York, October 19. 



October 28. 


Delivered at Philadelphia, October 28. 



Delivered October 29. 


Delivered October 30. 


Delivered October 31. 


Delivered November 1. 






INDEX 551 


Wilson and Swem Frontispiece 

Two Versions of Wilson's New York Press Club Speech 8 

Wilson's Shorthand Draft of His Acceptance Speech 17 

Helping Hands (cartoon) 70 

Dr. Wilson's Cure for Workingmen's Ills (cartoon) 71 

Wilson's Longhand Notes of His Broadway Arsenal Speech, Buffalo 87 

The Wilson Treatment Tor Liberty" (cartoon) 123 

"'Croshaying' It all Himself (cartoon) 174 

Governor Wilson Explains How the Democratic Party Resembles a 

Princeton Football Team 197 

Scene in the Detroit Armory When Gov. Wilson Spoke 200 

CaH Me "Woody" (cartoon) 297 

A Page of Charles L. Swem's Shorthand Notes 327 

Wilson's Suggestion for a Cartoon (cartoon) 363 

Mr. Wilson's Opportunity (cartoon) 392 

Yes, Campaigning Is Hard Work (cartoon) 423 

Between pages 304 and 305: Theodore Roosevelt Campaigning; Presi- 
dent Taft; Wilson Celebrating Jersey Day; Wilson at the State Fair 
Crounds, Syracuse; Woodrow Wilson, 1912; Wilson Waylaid by School 
Children; Ty Cobb, Wilson, and Dinner Guests; Wilson Speaking in 
the Rain 



THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1912 formed manifestly a criti- 
cal period in the career of Woodrow Wilson. Its significance did not 
derive merely from the successful outcome of the election, which was 
indicated if not assured by the revolt of Roosevelt and the resulting 
schism of the Republican party. Before the end of the summer Roose- 
velt himself privately admitted the likelihood of Wilson's election. The 
campaign was important, rather, because it brought Wilson to the 
formulation of a political philosophy more sharply etched and point- 
ing further towards the left than any that he had developed as pro- 
fessor of jurisprudence at Princeton or as Governor of New Jersey. 
He thereby entered clearly and definitely into the expanding forces 
of the progressives. 

The progress of the campaign also opened to him the opportunity, 
which he capitalized with energy and skill, of assuming the leader- 
ship not merely of the Democratic party but of the progressive move- 
ment itself, throughout the nation. His spectacular program in New 
Jersey and the initial triumph of his legislative accomplishment there 
had aroused widespread attention and interest. But his campaigns of 
1911 and the spring of 1912, even though followed by his victory at 
Baltimore, had not yet given assurance that he could capture the 
confidence of the country as a whole and the sincere loyalty of Demo- 
cratic politicians. That assurance was established in the presidential 
campaign. By the time of his election he had not merely formulated 
and popularized a national political program but firmly fortified his 
personal leadership. 

The clarity and the positive quality of his program deserve em- 
phasis. Under the conditions which he faced it was not enough that 
he should merely preach progressive principles in opposition to the old 
standpat Republicanism. It was essential that he should discover a 
sharply defined issue upon which he could take his stand against the 
New Nationalism of Roosevelt. Laissez-faire was not only inadequate 
in a political sense; it no longer satisfied Wilson's own feeling of the 
necessity of advance further to the left. He was pledged to the preach- 
ing of freedom, but the maintenance of freedom could not in the 
circumstances of the day safely be left to individuals; its protection 
had become the responsibility of government. 


xli A Crossroads of Freedom 

To Roosevelt's proposals of virtual intervention by government on 
behalf of social justice and the economic welfare of die underprivi- 
leged, Wilson retorted with reiterated insistance upon the principle of 
freedom; federal power must be utilized not for die regulation of in- 
dustrial enterprise but for its emancipation from the chains forged by 
special interests. Influenced largely by Brandeis, he broadened his 
program from its original emphasis upon the tariff out into a generous 
crusade on behalf of free competition in general, which in its liberated 
strength would find the power to destroy monopoly. The New Freedom 
was made to appear as a revival of traditional Democratic principles 
redefined to meet the necessities of new conditions. 

Thus it came about that Wilson emerged from the campaign not 
merely President-elect but already equipped to apply a general phi- 
losophy to specific issues in the drafting of legislation. And his exposi- 
tion of principles in the debate with his chief antagonist had brought 
him a moral victory comparable to the political success which he 
achieved at the polls. His superiority became manifest in Roosevelt's 
failure to win over the progressive Democrats in appreciable numbers 
and in his inability to establish the Progressive party as a stable po- 
litical organization apart from himself. In contrast the Democrats, al- 
though still forming only a minority party, had discovered and placed 
at their head a national leader. 

Historians have underlined the striking development of Wilson's 
program in the course of the electoral campaign, as he proceeded to 
make concrete application of general principles in terms comprehensi- 
ble to the common man. They have also noted the surprising growth 
of his personal authority. The results they have observed and empha- 
sized, but they have lacked the historical materials with which com- 
pletely to explain the process. To understand it adequately the exact 
text of what Wilson said on the platform was essential; until the ap- 
pearance of this volume this text was in large measure unavailable. 
For the first time students can now study the language in which Wil- 
son couched his effective appeal to the electorate. With a single ex- 
ception, his speeches were delivered extemporaneously, and the im- 
pression they produced is often quite different from that of the 
advance copies given to the press, and far more compelling. The text 
as now printed will help the student to understand and appreciate 
the extraordinary vitality of Wilson's oratory, simple in phrase but 
charged with persuasive emotion. Both as political and as personal 
leader Wilson becomes comprehensible. 

The service which this book will render to historians is manifest. 
Its quality matches the significance of the subject. The textual rescue, 
practically complete, of Wilson's speeches in this campaign involved 

Preface riii 

imagination, assiduity, and technical skill. The prefatory setting of die 
successive speeches called for a critical sense of political values as 
well as a breadth of scholarship. These editorial qualifications have 
been combined to make of this volume a historical contribution of 
distinctive importance, standing as a memorial worthy of Woodrow 
Wilson as we celebrate his centennial. 



WALTER LIPPMANN in his introduction to a recent reprint of Wood- 
row Wilson's Congressional Government lamented the fact that its 
author never had the chance to write another volume on the American 
political system after he had retired from the Presidency a book in 
which he would have explained the successes and failures of his own 
career. I too deplore that Wilson never wrote such a book. But I like 
to think that in the publication of these 1912 campaign speeches there 
is made available to the public at least a part of what Wilson would 
have included in the book that exists only "in limbo." 

In my introduction I describe briefly the manner in which this book 
was conceived and how it grew, but here I wish to pay tribute to 
those many persons and institutions that have aided me in this under- 

First of all, I wish to express my thanks and gratitude to Mrs. Edith 
Boiling Wilson for approving my project and for her grant of permis- 
sion to use the Woodrow Wilson Papers at the Library of Congress; 
and to the Woodrow Wilson Foundation of New York for financial 
assistance in the preparation and publication of this volume in the 
Wilson Centennial Year. 

Most of the work on this volume was done at the Library of Con- 
gress. For many months I profited from the use of its wealth of his- 
torical materials. My debt to the Manuscripts Division alone is huge. 
Miss Katharine Brand, while head of the Recent Manuscripts Section, 
gave indispensable advice based on her extensive knowledge of Wil- 
son materials and encouraged me. David C. Mearns, C. Percy Powell, 
Robert Land, John de Porry, and other members of the staff rendered 
courtesies too numerous to mention. The staff of the Newspaper Ref- 
erence Room time and again responded efficiently and cheerfully to 
my requests for volumes of newspapers. The Prints and Photographs 
Division aided me in the selection of photographs. All of the illustra- 
tions reproduced in this volume are from the collections of the Library 
of Congress. The Stack and Reader Division very kindly provided me 
with study facilities, and the staff of the Microfilm Reading Room 
always made me welcome. 

I wish to express my deepest appreciation to Princeton University 
for granting me research privileges in its Library. My thanks go espe- 
cially to Alexander P. Clark, Curator of Manuscripts, and to his as- 
sistant, Alexander D. Wainwright, for their courteous and efficient 

Acknowledgments xv 

services and for making my visits to the Princeton University all the 
more pleasant. 

For the work of deciphering shorthand notes I was unusually fortu- 
nate. My sister, Elizabeth Davidson, contributed her knowledge, skill, 
and energy without stint and performed the invaluable service of 
transcribing many of Wilson's speeches from the Swem shorthand 
notes and of aiding me in the revision of Mrs. Fuller's transcripts. 
Among other things, she helped in the typing of my manuscript and 
in the reading of proofs. Julian R. Series and Cleveland Tucker, offi- 
cial shorthand reporters of the House of Representatives, very gen- 
erously transcribed some of the more difficult passages in the Swem 
shorthand notes and suggested certain revisions in the transcripts of 
my sister and Mrs. Fuller. Mr. Swem himself did me the great favor 
of reading some of the passages in his shorthand notes that had proved 
to be most difficult and of confirming some of the readings about 
which there were some doubts. I have found it impracticable to indi- 
cate in the texts of the speeches or in the footnotes all the contribu- 
tions of Mr. Swem, Mr. Series, and Mr. Tucker. To Mrs. Inez C. 
Fuller of Amherst, Massachusetts, whose transcripts I have used with 
some revisions, I wish to express my appreciation. Without her 
transcripts of the Swem shorthand notes in the Library of Congress 
the preparation of this volume would have been much more difficult. 

To Finley Peter Dunne, Jr., of Washington, D.C., I owe more than 
a debt of gratitude. His perspicuous criticisms and incisive editorial 
suggestions, particularly as to my introductions, were especially help- 
ful. More than this, he cheered me with his wit, listened to my talk, 
and inspired me with his enthusiasm for this project from its very 
beginning. I am also indebted to him for suggesting the title of this 
book, one which Wilson himself might have chosen since time and 
again in his speeches he pictured America standing at the crossroads 
of freedom. 

My appreciation goes to August Heckscher, President of the Wood- 
row Wilson Foundation, and to Mrs. Julie d'Estournelles, its Executive 
Secretary, for their enthusiasm and help; to Russell H. Bastert of Wil- 
liams College and to George W. Oakes of Washington, D.C., for the en- 
couragement they have given me; to Henry F. Pringle for allowing me 
to quote from his Theodore Roosevelt; to Warren F. Johnson of Wash- 
ington, D.C., for information about the campaign of 1912; to Huston 
Thompson of Washington for granting me an interview in which he 
gave me his personal recollections of Woodrow Wilson; and to Charles 
Seymour, President Emeritus of Yale University, for contributing a 

The following libraries and societies have furnished me with im- 

xvi A Crossroads of Freedom 

portent information and photostats: the Buffalo Historical Society, the 
Canton Public Library Association, the Fall River Public Library, the 
Indiana State Library, the Library of Congress, the Massachusetts 
Historical Society, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Nebraska 
State Historical Society, the New Jersey State Library, the New York 
Public Library, the New York State Library, the Ohio State Historical 
Society, the Pennsylvania State Library, and the South Dakota State 
Historical Society. 

My thanks go to the staff of the Yale University Press for their 
courtesies and the efficient handling of the publication of this vol- 
ume. To Miss Roberta Yerkes, Associate Editor, I am especially grate- 
ful for her correction of my errors and for her constructive suggestions. 
I appreciate very much the help from my children: Hildegarde 
Goepp, Max Goepp, and Carla Goepp. The aid from Max and Carla 
in the laborious task of proofreading was indeed most welcome. No 
words will suffice to thank my wife, Elisabeth Wenning Davidson, for 
her share in this undertaking. Making editorial suggestions and listen- 
ing to me talk about Woodrow Wilson were but two of the many 
ways she assisted me. 

I thank the Dupont Secretarial Services for careful and accurate 
typing of my manuscript and David Home for the indexing. 

Finally, as editor I assume responsibility for whatever errors may 
appear in this book. 

j. w. D. 


SINCE nearly all the texts of Wilson's speeches in this volume are from 
transcripts of shorthand notes, the editor has standardized spelling 
and capitalization, and has rearranged paragraphs and punctuation 
according to the demands of context. He has made an exception to 
this rule, however, in the case of the Address to the National Con- 
servation Congress, the text of which is published almost as it ap- 
pears in the Proceedings of that organization. Changes in words 
resulting from a comparison of the text with Charles L. Swem's short- 
hand notes have been indicated except when they are inconsequential. 
The editor has corrected obvious typographical errors but has altered 
the capitalization and punctuation only slightly. The Speech of Ac- 
ceptance, the only speech of the 1912 campaign that Wilson delivered 
by reading from a prepared text, has likewise received special treat- 
ment. The text of this speech has been reproduced accurately from 
a Senate document with no changes in capitalization, spelling, or punc- 
tuation. Quotations from newspapers included in the introductions 
and footnotes have been left unchanged except for correction of obvi- 
ous typographical errors and minor alterations in punctuation. 

Square brackets have been used to indicate changes made in Mrs. 
Inez C. Fuller's transcripts, or in the transcripts found in the Wilson 
Papers, of Charles L. Swem's Notes. Words enclosed in square brackets 
but not italicized are readings of the Swem Notes that differ from 
Mrs. Fuller's. Words enclosed in square brackets and italicized were 
supplied by the editor and are not to be found in the Swem Notes. 

Words enclosed by angular brackets and italicized were supplied 
by Mrs. Fuller in her transcripts and are not in the Swem Notes. 

Question marks used by Mrs. Fuller to express doubt about her 
readings of the Swem Notes have been eliminated by the editor wher- 
ever her tentative readings have been confirmed. Minor revisions of 
Mrs. Fuller's transcripts by the editor have not as a rule been indi- 

Three ellipses indicate an omission by the editor within a para- 
graph. The omission of one or more sentences is explained in a foot- 
note. This is likewise so where a part of a sentence has been left out, 
except that in a very few instances where the several words omitted 
had no significance for Wilson's meaning or the expression of his 
thought, no note has been thought necessary. 

Five ellipses (in the center of the page) indicate one or more para- 


xviii A Crossroads of Freedom 

graphs have been omitted. Short summaries of these passages are to 
be found in the footnotes to all the major speeches. 

Applause and comments from audiences have not been indicated 
except when Wilson chose to make acknowledgement or reply in some 

The following "code" has been adopted for some of the names and 
sources that appear most frequently in the notes at the bottom of the 
page and in the back of the book. 

BP Ray Stannard Baker Papers 

ED Elizabeth Davidson 

IGF Inez C. Fuller 

LC Library of Congress 

PUL Princeton University Library 

WP Woodrow Wilson Papers 

To avoid constant repetition, the year "1912" has been omitted from 
many of the citations to newspapers, but it has been used whenever 
its omission might cause doubt. 


Introduction: The Quest for the New 


THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1912 has taken a deserved place 
as one of the most significant events in American political history. Not 
only did it bring a great President, Woodrow Wilson, to the White 
House after an exciting three-cornered struggle involving the regular 
Democratic and Republican organizations and Theodore Roosevelt's 
newly fledged Progressive Republican party; it also saw the gradual 
hammering out, in Wilson's mind and in his speeches, of the political 
philosophy that was to become the basis of his domestic reform pro- 
gram during the first four years of his Presidency, the philosophy 
which we know as the New Freedom. 

At the start of the campaign Wilson had by no means worked out 
in his thinking all the principles of the New Freedom. Progressive and 
humanitarian as he was in his personal views, as governor of New 
Jersey he had been concerned mainly with finding the best way of 
achieving reform at the state level. The presidential campaign was the 
stimulus that caused him to turn the full power of his mind to the 
problems of the nation. 

Wilson's path to the White House was not an easy one. To begin 
with, this comparative novice in politics with only two years as gov- 
ernor of New Jersey behind him had to defeat the experienced veteran, 
Champ Clark, in a long and bitter fight at the Democratic National 
Convention. Then, when the presidential contest itself started, he 
found his chief opponent to be Theodore Roosevelt, like himself a 
progressive and an intellectual. From the moment of Wilson's ac- 
ceptance of the nomination on August 7 to election day, November 5, 
Wilson, advocate of the New Freedom, and Roosevelt, champion of 
the New Nationalism, were to clash head on, each bidding for the 
support of the vast majority of American voters who had cast aside 
the older conservatism. 

Under the heat of this conflict Wilson tested his ideas. In the stress 
of the campaign, in the relative peace of the "Little White House" at 
Sea Girt where he sometimes found respite, in the dusty railroad car 
that carried him on speaking tours, in his hurried appearances on the 
rear platform, over the banquet tables and in the stifling atmosphere 
of crowded auditoriums, Wilson day by day developed, revised, and 
strengthened his fundamental principles. 

The program that Wilson set forth was designed to revitalize Amer- 
ican democracy and readjust the American economy. The first step 
called for was a liberation of the nation from the political influences 


4 Part 1. Introduction 

that had made the federal government a dispenser of special favors. 
This, of course, meant that the electorate should choose the Demo- 
cratic party as an instrument for reform. Then should follow congres- 
sional legislation for revision of the tariff, for reorganization of the 
banking and currency system, for destruction of monopoly, and for 
dealing with social problems. Wilson's plan for handling the trust 
problem owed much to Louis D. Brandeis, who suggested that the 
efforts of the federal government should be directed towards the "regu- 
lation of competition" rather than the "regulation of monopoly" pro- 
posed by Roosevelt. A basic aim of the New Freedom, therefore, was 
to achieve free enterprise; not, however, by the application of laissez- 
faire principles but by the use of federal powers to eliminate economic 
maladjustments so that the economy might run freely. 

About other aspects and details of the New Freedom of 1912 his- 
torians are often either in doubt or in disagreement because they have 
had no easy access to the texts of Wilson's campaign speeches as he de- 
livered them. For the most part they have had to rely upon con- 
temporary newspaper reports (many of them inadequate and highly 
abbreviated) or to resort to The New Freedom, that small volume of 
extracts compiled by William Bayard Hale and published early in 
1913. 1 This book has performed a valuable service by acquainting the 
public with the general principles of Wilson's political and economic 
program. But for the historian, as well as for the interested layman, it 
is tantalizingly incomplete. Besides containing no more than a quarter 
of the speeches actually delivered by Wilson during the 1912 cam- 
paign, it includes without identification a considerable amount of 
material from speeches made prior to his nomination. Furthermore 
the book is arranged topically and contains no documentation. Any- 
one seeking to find out on what occasion Wilson made a certain state- 
ment will get little help from it. Even the publication during the 
years 1925-27 of The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 2 edited by 
Ray Stannard Baker and William E. Dodd, did little to make the 1912 
speeches more accessible to scholars. Although this work contains sev- 
eral of Wilson's 1912 speeches of the preconvention campaign, it of- 
fers only one delivered between his nomination at Baltimore on July 
2 and his election to the Presidency on November 5. 

Fortunately Wilson had with him as his shorthand reporter during 
the campaign a young man named Charles L. Swem, who in time 
would win two world championships in shorthand. Then only nine- 
teen years old, Swem had already developed speed and efficiency in 
his work that had brought him national recognition. Although most of 
the typewritten transcripts he made of Wilson's 1912 campaign 
speeches have been lost, his stenographic notes themselves have been 

Quest for the New Freedom 5 

preserved. Some of these, covering sixty-odd long and short speeches, 
Ray Stannard Baker secured from Swem and had Mrs. Inez C. Fuller 
transcribe. He made limited use of these in his Woodrow Wilson, Life 
and Letters, 3 but did not have access to Swem's notes of forty-odd 
other speeches delivered by Wilson during the 1912 campaign. These 
in some way had been mislaid for a time. 

During the summer of 1948 I first saw the Fuller transcripts of 
Swem's notes while examining the Ray Stannard Baker Papers at the 
Library of Congress. Reading these speeches of Wilson in the actual 
form in which he delivered them was a rich and fruitful experience, 
for it gave me a much better understanding not only of the New Free- 
dom but of the mind and the heart of the man himself. Extemporane- 
ous and unedited, these speeches revealed his human as well as his 
intellectual qualities. 

Further study of the Fuller transcripts later convinced me that Wil- 
son's 1912 campaign speeches should be made available to the public 
in a more complete form. I began exploratory work in the fall of 1953 
at the Library of Congress, planning to base my projected work on the 
Fuller transcripts, on contemporary newspaper accounts, and on such 
texts as I might find in the Woodrow Wilson Papers. Miss Katharine 
Brand, formerly secretary to Ray Stannard Baker and head of the 
Recent Manuscripts Section of the Manuscripts Division of the Library 
of Congress, gave me a sympathetic hearing. Her thorough knowledge 
of the contents of the Wilson Papers and her experience, especially 
as assistant to Baker and Dodd in the preparation of The Public Papers 
of Woodrow Wilson, made her advice invaluable. 

Through the medium of the Manuscripts Division of the Library of 
Congress, I sought and obtained Mrs. Woodrow Wilson's approval of 
my project. And a few weeks later the Board of Directors of the Wood- 
row Wilson Foundation voted me a substantial grant to aid in 
preparation of the manuscript. August Heckscher, President of the 
Foundation, and Mrs. Julie d'Estournelles, its Executive Director, have 
given me encouragement as I encountered many obstacles in my 

Meanwhile I had learned from Miss Brand that the Princeton Uni- 
versity Library had in its possession some of Swem's shorthand note- 
books. I immediately inquired what these notes covered. The guide to 
these notebooks, I was informed, indicated that most of them covered 
the period of Wilson's Presidency, but there was one group described as 
"Campaign Notes." The titles written on the covers of these notebooks 
suggested that they might be the rest of Swem's notes of the 1912 
campaign speeches, the ones to which Baker had never had access. 
But since there were no transcripts for this group, I could not be sure 

6 Part 1. Introduction 

that they were the ones I was seeking until someone with a knowledge 
of Gregg shorthand had examined them for me. 

By this time, in the spring of 1954, 1 realized the necessity of going 
back to Swem's notes to determine what Wilson had actually said in 
his speeches. The newspaper texts had proved to be far less accurate 
than I had anticipated. Moreover, there were words and phrases in 
the Fuller transcripts marked as doubtful or left untranscribed. Mrs. 
Fuller had done a magnificent piece of work, but she had had the 
advantage of few newspaper texts to facilitate her reading of the 

Fortunately for me, my sister, Elizabeth Davidson, volunteered to 
help me. Being a trained stenographer, she soon familiarized herself 
with Swem's style of shorthand by studying his notebooks at the Li- 
brary of Congress. I had already made typed copies of a large num- 
ber of the Fuller transcripts, and I read these aloud while my sister 
followed my reading in the Swem notes. The superior legibility of 
Swem's notes, written in purple ink, expedited this preliminary work. 
We began with speeches for which I was reasonably sure we had good 
newspaper texts. By collating Mrs. Fuller's transcript of a speech with 
a newspaper text and my sister's reading of Swem's notes, we were 
able to produce a more accurate text. Miss Brand, also familiar with 
Gregg shorthand, during this phase of our work gave us some valuable 
tips about the technique of transcribing. 

After several weeks my sister and I felt that we were ready to under- 
take the transcribing of some of Swem's notes at the Princeton Uni- 
versity Library. During the summer of 1954 my sister took a week's 
leave from her government position and went with me to Princeton. 
I carried with me a scrapbook containing photostats and "Contoura" 
reproductions of all the 1912 campaign speeches of Wilson that I had 
been able to find. Mr. Clark, Curator of Manuscripts at the Princeton 
Library, received us cordially and brought out the Swem notebooks. 
It took only a short time to establish that they did indeed contain the 
notes of a large number of speeches delivered by Wilson during the 
1912 campaign. 

Although there were many pages of notes still unread at the end 
of an intensive week's work, I was very pleased with the progress we 
had made in transcribing. Of utmost importance was the fact that 
the six notebooks covering the 1912 campaign promised to be a veritable 
treasure trove for Wilson scholars. 

Since the photoduplication equipment of Princeton University was 
at that time being used on another large project, I returned to Princeton 
in a few days and made Contoura reproductions of the notes of several 
speeches that I considered significant. Later I made two other trips 

Quest for the New Freedom 7 

to Princeton for the same purpose and took back to Washington nu- 
merous reproductions which my sister began to study in her spare time. 
Later the Princeton University Library also furnished me with photo- 
stats of pages of the notes that I requested. 

My sister and I worked out a system for the transcribing of these 
reproductions. She wrote out in longhand or typed out a rough draft 
of her first reading and I furnished texts, summaries, and fugitive 
quotations that related to the speech on which we happened to be 
working. I again searched in the newspaper collection at the Library 
of Congress for texts and ordered photostats of others from libraries 
and historical societies throughout the country. Sometimes study of 
Wilson's other speeches helped in the transcribing by suggesting a 
word or a phrase that would fit into a particular passage. This method 
of work produced, on the whole, satisfactory results, but the tran- 
scribing of speeches for which we had only scanty newspaper texts 
at times was most difficult. In some cases we even lacked a good sum- 
mary which would provide us with a clue as to context. Our work was 
made somewhat easier by my finding four transcripts in the papers 
added to the Wilson collection at the Library of Congress in 1951 and 
1952. Handwritten emendations in Swem's own hand, in the kind 
of ink he used in 1912, and their accuracy, as demonstrated by a com- 
parison with his own stenographic notes, convinced me that these 
were transcripts Swem himself had made during the campaign of 1912. 

A brief description of the technique we used in establishing the text 
of Wilson's speech at the New York Press Club, on the evening of 
September 9, 1912, should serve to indicate some of the problems of 
this project. First, we discovered by studying newspaper reports and 
Swem's notes that Wilson had issued an advance text (which, inter- 
estingly enough, was an edited version of the speech he had made 
at the Broadway Arsenal in Buffalo) and then had delivered a different 
speech extemporaneously at the New York Press Club. Most of the 
newspapers quoted from the advance text and had none of the speech 
as it was actually delivered. One exception was the New York Tribune, 
which had the actual speech taken down stenographically. The 
Tribune's report aided us in the transcription of Swem's notes by 
furnishing context. That it is not adequate as a final text, however, 
is evident when it is compared with Elizabeth Davidson's transcript 
of Swem's notes. ( See below, p. 8. ) The first sentence of the Tribune's 
version, for instance, has "seal" and "canvass" where Swem wrote 
"scene" and "context," respectively. And the next sentence is garbled 
because the shorthand reporter for the Tribune mistook "tithe" for "tie." 

Yet it was on the Tribune's report that Theodore Roosevelt relied as 
the basis for his San Francisco attack on Wilson. ( See below, p. 130 n. ) 


Extracts from Elizabeth Davidson's 
transcript of Swem Notes 

Photostat of first part of stenographic re- 
port in the New Yorfc Tribune, Sept. 10 

Governor Woodrow .Wilson was the* 
guesf of the New York Press Club at din- 
iftr last nlgm and. after, listening to a 
lot of humorous parodies sun? at his ex- 
pens*, made the most serious speech ha 
has, delivered since he became the Demo* 
Ctatie candidate for President. 

.In'hta speech, which was taken steno- 
graphJcally for The' Tribune, Governor 
Wilson started t'o analyse the three 
parties, but became so enthusiastic in his 
dissection of Colonel Roosevelt and the 
third- party platform and In his praise 
of the Democratic document that he for- 
ot to say ve/y much about President 
Xaft^nd the Republican party. 

.*:i should be ashamed of myself," Mr. 
Wilso nsaid, "If I tried to obscure or 
misstate the pending problem, and I 
promised myself as I came heer to-night 
the privilege, if I might, of setting the 
sejal of the present canvhss and trying to 
point out as clearly as I could what 
seemed io be involved 

'"Whatever wejnay say abdut the par- 
ticular character in ftrtall of the prob- 
lama that we ate now facing, the funda- 
mental problem of all H to set out gov. 
ripnent tree to deal with those problems. 
Because If there be anv tie in the privi- 
lege; In thar things which we ought to set 
right now which entangle our polities' 
aa4 make just action Impossible-It It 
true that In past decades the government 
vf the Tfalted States has not been fret to 
at ft* the Interest of all " 


Governor "Wilson pitched into Colonel 
Boosetelt good and hard, saying: . 

The history of llbertv 10 a hletory of the 
limitation of governmental power. nnt the 
Increase of it Do these gentleman dream 
that in the year 1913 we have dlsporercd 
it \mknie exception of the movement of 
humaS history? Do they dream that the 
whole character of those who x*rclM 
/power has changed: that it Is no longer a 

I should be ashamed of myself if I 
tried to obscure or misstate the pend- 
ing problems, and I promised myself 
as I came here tonight the privilege, 
if I might, of setting the scene of the 
present contest and trying to point out 
as clearly as I could what seemed to me 
to be involved. 

Whatever we may say about the 
particular character in detail of the 
problems that we are now facing, the 
fundamental problem of all is to set 
our government free to deal with them. 
Because, if there be any tithe of truth 
in the things which we have said are 
now entangling our politics and mak- 
ing just action impossible, it is true that 
in past decades the government of the 
United States has not been free to act 
in the interest of all of us. It has had 
special rather than general connec- 
tions. And it is the problem of the pres- 
ent campaign to set it free for action. 
When it is set free, what is it to do? 
Why, it seems to me that it is to do a 
very great thing. It is to save civiliza- 
tion and humanity. 

. . . And I say to these noble men 
and women who have allied them- 
selves with that party because of the 
social program: Who will guarantee 
to us that this machine wifl be just 
and pitiful? Do we conceive social bet- 
terment to he in the pitiful use of ir- 
resistible power? Or do we conceive it 
to arise out of the irresistible might of 
a body of free men? Has justice ever 
grown in the soil of absolute power? 
Has not justice always come from the 
press of the heart and spirit of men 
who resist power? 

Liberty nas never come from the 
government. Liberty has always come 
from the subjects of the government. 
The history of liberty is a history of 
resistance. The history of liberty is a 
history of the limitation of governmen- 
tal power, not the increase of it. Do 
these gentlemen dream that in the year 
1912 we have discovered a unique ex- 
ception to the movement of human 
history? Do they dream that the whole 
character of those who exercise power 
has changed, that it is no longer a 
temptation? Above all things else, do 
they dream that men are bred great 
enough now to be a Providence to the 
people over whom they preside? 

Quest for the New Freedom 9 

By the fall of 1954 my sister had transcribed most of our repro- 
ductions of the Swem notes and had almost finished revising all of 
the Fuller transcripts that I intended to use in this volume. But there 
were some passages left that we had not been able to decipher to our 
satisfaction. For help with these I turned to Julian R. Series and 
Cleveland Tucker, official shorthand reporters of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, who very generously gave much valuable time to a study 
of the knotty passages and solved a large proportion of them. 

On those sections about which we still had doubts I was fortunate 
enough to have the aid of Mr. Swem himself, who despite his heavy 
duties as official court reporter of the Supreme Court of New York, 
very generously agreed to transcribe them. I went to see him in New 
York, taking along a bundle of Contoura reproductions of his notes. 
For me it was a thrilling sight to watch him transcribe with sure- 
handed rapidity the stenographic notes he had written forty-two years 
before when Woodrow Wilson was enunciating the principles of his 
New Freedom. Subsequently Mr. Swem did even more; he furnished 
readings of other passages in his notes, which I mailed to him from 
time to time. 

The question will arise whether the publication of these speeches 
will alter the picture historians have painted of Wilson. I feel that 
only careful and intensive study of them by historians, over a con- 
siderable period of time, can supply a definite answer to this question. 
I do wish to suggest, however, some of the ways in which this book 
may at least modify previous interpretations. 

A reading of these speeches, in my opinion, will reveal that in em- 
phasizing their point, a legitimate one, that Wilson's reform program 
was mainly economic in its aims scholars have failed to realize to what 
extent the Democratic nominee in 1912 also took a stand for social 
justice. Time and again in these speeches the reader will find Wilson 
endorsing social aims advocated by Roosevelt, although contending 
that they could not be attained without first freeing the government 
from the influence of special interests, and that the Progressive Re- 
publican party was not the instrument for accomplishing them. Wilson 
did put economic reform such as the lowering of the tariff, the reform 
of the currency and banking system, and the regulation of competition 
before social reform, but he was aware of the need for the latter 
as early as 1912. 

Making Wilson's 1912 campaign speeches more accessible to schol- 
ars should bring about a better understanding of his attitude towards 
the role of the federal government. Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 helped 
to foster the idea that his chief opponent was merely advocating the 
"laissez-faire doctrine of the English political economists three-quarters 

10 Part 1. Introduction 

of a century ago" and seeking "to limit the power of the people and 
thereby to leave unchecked the colossal, embodied privileges of the 
present day." The key to Wilson's position, the Bull Moose leader 
contended, was the statement in his New York Press Club speech: 
The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental 
power, not the increase of it" Yet, through his reliance upon the in- 
complete text of the Press Club speech printed in the New Yorfc 
Tribune, Roosevelt in effect quoted out of context, thereby distorting 
Wilson's position a position which can really be understood only 
after an examination of the paragraphs preceding the "history of 
liberty" statement. 

Besides making accessible to scholars materials for re-examination 
of these and other important aspects of Wilson's 1912 program, this 
volume should bring to light some of the minor but interesting facts. 
For instance, historians have written much about the New Freedom 
but have not stated when and on what occasions Wilson used this term 
during the campaign. His first use of it, insofar as the editor has been 
able to ascertain, was in a setting characteristically American, at the 
Indianapolis Baseball Park, October 3, 1912. Six days later he used it 
again at the Coliseum in St. Louis. 

Equally important is the way in which these speeches show facets 
of Wilson's personality. The reader will see him in many roles: as the 
political reformer championing progressivism; as the political phi- 
losopher analyzing the structure of government; as the historian draw- 
ing on his knowledge of the past; as the orator swaying the crowds 
with his eloquence; as the tired campaigner expressing his distaste 
for rear-platform speaking all these revealing aspects of the man 

Furthermore, throughout the whole campaign Wilson spoke ex- 
temporaneously, except when he accepted the Democratic nomination. 
He met the challenge of the day and pled his cause in words of his 
own choosing, not in those of a staff of ghost writers. 

The editor cannot refrain from offering here one quotation suggesting 
what is in store for the reader. It is taken from Wilson's speech at 

I used to say sometimes when I was attempting to write history 
that I could sit on the side lines and look on with a certain degree 
of complacency upon the men who were performing in the arena 
of politics; because, I said, after die game is over, some quiet 
fellow like myself will sit down in a remote room somewhere 
and will tell the next generation what to think of you fellows, 
and they will think what he tells them to think. He assesses; he 

Quest for the New Freedom 11 

sums up. You may talk yourselves tired, and your own estimate 
of yourselves will be discounted. 

And now that I am myself exposed, I think of that quiet jury 
sitting in those rooms surrounded by nothing but shelves and 
books and documents. I think of the anticipated verdict of another 
generation, and I know that the only measure and standard by 
which a man can rise or fall is the standard of absolute integrity; 
that he can deceive nobody but himself and his own generation 
for a little space. 

Wilson well knew, therefore, that he could not escape history, even 
if he would. 


Opening the Campaign 


Delivered at Sea Girt, New Jersey, August 7, 1912 

WOODROW WILSON'S acceptance speech, his reply to formal notifica- 
tion of his nomination by the Democratic party, was delivered from the 
wide front veranda of the summer home of New Jersey's executives 
in the sleepy resort town of Sea Girt. Behind him sat his wife and three 
daughters, surrounded by an assemblage of Democratic notables, in- 
cluding governors of eight states (among them Thomas R. Marshall of 
Indiana, the vice presidential nominee). 

Governor Wilson had expressed a wish that the notification cere- 
monies be simple and democratic. He even had canceled the plans 
of his adjutant general to use a company or two of New Jersey militia 
and only reluctantly allowed a detail of blue-coated policemen from 
Jersey City to handle the crowd. One newspaper reporter, impressed 
by the unpretentious nature of the exercises, remarked that there was 
"less pomp and circumstance to this nation-engrossing event than it 
takes to induct the leader of a church choir." 2 

Nevertheless, during the morning and early afternoon the ordinarily 
quiet little town became a teeming center of activity, as Democratic 
delegations, marching clubs, and bands arrived from neighboring 
towns and cities, and forty-odd photographers busied themselves 
snapping pictures of important visitors. Soon after one o'clock, Governor 
Wilson greeted the notification committee on the lawn of his cottage, 
and then entertained them and other honored guests at a luncheon. 

A few minutes past 3:00 P.M. tall, stentorian Senator-elect Ollie 
James of Kentucky, Chairman of the Notification Committee, escorted 
the Democratic nominee to the front of what some hopeful Democratic 
newspapers were already calling "the Little White House," and opened 
the exercises with a thunderous old-fashioned stump speech in which 
he flayed the Republicans, lauded the Democrats, and hailed Wilson 
as a man possessing "in splendid fulness those great attributes of 
constructive genius, inventive intellect, and resistless will" needed for 
the undertaking ahead. 8 To the surprise of no one, he concluded by 


18 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

formally tendering the Democratic nomination to the man who had 
won it five weeks before at Baltimore. 

The Democratic nominee, attired in a gray suit, rose to reply. He 
held out his hand to silence the applause. His aquiline face bore no 
trace of a smile as he began reading in a clear voice from a printed 
copy of his speech. But soon, as he warmed to his subject, he broke 
the dead seriousness of his mood by interjecting, to the delight of the 
crowd, occasional extemporaneous remarks of a whimsical nature. 
Once, when he lost his place, he smiled and said, "I feel that I could 
be a great deal more interesting if I didn't have to read this speech." * 

The audience interrupted frequently with volleys of applause but 
made no great demonstrations, for Wilson's address was no rousing 
political exhortation but a carefully drawn interpretation of his own 
and his party's aims. He restated much of his own political philosophy, 
especially his belief that government, rather than be a dispenser of 
special favors to particular groups, should act as the agent of all the 
people. The statement of these aims gave the speech special signifi- 
cance, for in this first move of the campaign he unequivocally set 
forth the course he proposed to follow. 

Mr. James and Gentlemen of the Notification Committee: 

^peaking for the National Democratic Convention, recently 
assembled at Baltimore, you have notified me of my nomination 
by the Democratic Party for the high office of President of the 
United States. Allow me to thank you very warmly for the gener- 
ous terms in which you have, through your distinguished chair- 
man, conveyed the notification, and for the thoughtful personal 
courtesy with which you have performed your interesting and 
important errand. 

I accept the nomination with a deep sense of its unusual signifi- 
cance and of the great honor done me, and also with a very pro- 
found sense of my responsibility to the party and to the Nation. 
You will expect me in accepting the honor to speak very plainly 
the faith that is in me. You will expect me, in brief, to talk politics 
and open the campaign in words whose meaning no one need 
doubt. You will expect me to speak to the country as well as to 
yourselves. / 

We can not intelligently talk politics unless we know to whom 
we are talking and in what circumstances. The present circum- 
stances are clearly unusual. No previous political campaign in 
our time has disclosed anything like them. The audience we ad- 


A facsimile of Woodrow Wilson's shorthand draft (second page) of his Speech of Acceptance. 
Mr. Wilson used the Graham wctem nf chnrflianrl BArmvliiAA/1 fmm 1i/M+k<it*l 

18 fart 2. Opening the Campaign 

dress is in no ordinary temper. It is no audience of partisans. 
Citizens of every class and party and prepossession sit together, a 
single people, to learn whether we understand their life and know 
how to afford them the counsel and guidance they are now keenly 
aware that they stand in need of. We must speak, not to catch 
votes, but to satisfy the thought and conscience of a people deeply 
stirred by the conviction that they have come to a critical turning 
point in their moral and political development. 


stand in the presence of an awakened Nation, impatient 
of partisan make-believe J The public man who does not realize 
the fact and feel its stimulation must be singularly unsusceptible 
to the influences that stir in every quarter about him. The Nation 
has awakened to a sense of neglected ideals and neglected duties; 
to a consciousness that the rank and file of her people find life 
very hard to sustain, that her young men find opportunity embar- 
rassed, and that her older men find business difficult to renew and 
maintain because of circumstances of privilege and private ad- 
vantage which have interlaced their subtle threads throughout 
almost every part of the framework of our present law. She has 
awakened to the knowledge that she has lost certain cherished lib- 
erties and has wasted priceless resources which she had solemnly 
undertaken to hold in trust for posterity and for all mankind; and 
to the conviction that she stands confronted with an occasion for 
constructive statesmanship such as has not arisen since the great 
days in which her Government was set up. 

plainly, it is a new ags? The tonic of such a time is very exhila- 
rating. It requires self-restraint not to attempt too much, and yet 
it would be cowardly to attempt too little. The path of duty so- 
berly and bravely trod is the way to service and distinction, and 
many adventurous feet seek to set out upon it. 

(There never was a time when impatience and suspicion were 
more keenly aroused by private power selfishly employed; when 
jealousy of everything concealed or touched with any purpose not 
linked with general good, or inconsistent with it, more sharply 
or immediately displayed itself. 

Nor was the country ever more susceptible to unselfish appeals 
or to the high arguments of sincere justice. These are the umnis- 

Speech of Acceptance 19 

takable symptoms of an awakening. There is the more need for 
wise counsel because the people are so ready to heed counsel if it 
be given honestly and in their interest.^ 


It is in the broad light of this new day that we stand face to 
face with what? Plainly not with questions of party, not with a 
contest for office, not with a petty struggle for advantage, Demo- 
crat against Republican, liberal against conservative, progressive 
against reactionary. With great questions of right and of justice, 
rather questions of national development, of the development of 
character and of standards of action no less than of a better busi- 
ness system, more free, more equitable, more open to ordinary men, 
practicable to live under, tolerable to work under, or a better fiscal 
system whose taxes shall not come out of the pockets of the many to 
go into the pockets of the few, and within whose intricacies special 
privilege may not so easily find covert. The forces of the Nation are 
asserting themselves against every form of special privilege and 
private control, and are seeking bigger things than they have ever 
heretofore achieved. They are sweeping away what is unrighteous 
in order to vindicate once more the essential rights of human 
life; and, what is very serious for us, they are looking to us for 
guidance, disinterested guidance, at once honest and fearless. 

At such a time, and in the presence of such circumstances, what 
is the meaning of our platform, and what is our responsibility 
under it? What are our duty and our purpose? The platform is 
meant to show that we know what the Nation is thinking about, 
what it is most concerned about, what it wishes corrected, and 
what it desires to see attained that is new and constructive and 
intended for its long future. But for us it is a very practical docu- 
ment. We are not about to ask the people of the United States to 
adopt our platform; we are about to ask them to intrust us with 
office and power and the guidance of their affairs. They will wish 
to know what sort of men we are and of what definite purpose; 
what translation of action and of policy we intend to give to the 
general terms of the platform which the convention at Baltimore 
put forth, should we be elected 

The platform is not a program. A program must consist of 
measures, administrative acts, and acts of legislation. The proof 

20 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

of the pudding is the eating thereof. How do we intend to make 
it edible and digestible? From this time on we shall be under 
interrogation. How do we expect to handle each of the great mat- 
ters that must be taken up by the next Congress and the next 


What is there to do? It is hard to sum the great task up, but 
apparently this is the sum of the matter: There are two great 
things to do. One is to set up the rule of justice and of right in 
such matters as the tariff, the regulation of the trusts, and the 
prevention of monopoly, the adaptation of our banking and cur- 
rency laws to the various uses to which our people must put them, 
the treatment of those who do the daily labor in our factories and 
mines and throughout all our great industrial and commercial 
undertakings, and the political life of the people of the Philip- 
pines, for whom we hold governmental power in trust, for their 
service, not our own. The other, the additional duty, is the great 
task of protecting our people and our resources and of keeping 
open to the whole people the doors of opportunity through which 
they must, generation by generation, pass if they are to make con- 
quest of their fortunes in health, in freedom, in peace, and in 
contentment. In the performance of this second great duty we 
are face to face with questions of conservation and of develop- 
ment, questions of forests and water powers and mines and water- 
ways, of the building of an adequate merchant marine, and the 
opening of every highway and facility and the setting up of every 
safeguard needed by a great, industrious, expanding nation. 

These are all great matters upon which everybody should be 
heard. We have got into trouble in recent years chiefly because 
these large things, which ought to have been handled by taking 
counsel with as large a number of persons as possible, because 
they touched every interest and the life of every class and region, 
have in fact been too often handled in private conference. They 
have been settled by very small, and often deliberately exclusive, 
groups of men who undertook to speak for the whole Nation, or 
rather for themselves in the terms of the whole Nation very hon- 
estly it may be true, but very ignorantly sometimes, and very 
shortsightedly, too a poor substitute for genuine common coun- 

Speech of Acceptance 21 

sel. No group of directors, economic or political, can speak for a 
people. They have neither the point of view nor the knowledge. 
Our difficulty is not that wicked and designing men have plotted 
against us, but that our common affairs have been determined 
upon too narrow a view, and by too private an initiative. Our task 
now is to effect a great readjustment and get the forces of the 
whole people once more into play. We need no revolution; we 
need no excited change; we need only a new point of view and a 
new method and spirit of counsel. 


We are servants of the people, the whole people. The Nation 
has been unnecessarily, unreasonably, at war within itself. Inter- 
est has clashed with interest when there were common principles 
of right and of fair dealing which might and should have bound 
them all together, not as rivals, but as partners. As the servants 
of all, we are bound to undertake the great duty of accommoda- 
tion and adjustment. 

We can not undertake it except in a spirit which some find it 
hard to understand. Some people only smile when you speak of 
yourself as a servant of the people; it seems to them like affecta- 
tion or mere demagoguery. They ask what the unthinking crowd 
knows or comprehends of great complicated matters of govern- 
ment. They shrug their shoulders and lift their eyebrows when 
you speak as if you really believed in presidential primaries, in 
the direct election of United States Senators, and in an utter 
publicity about everything that concerns government, from the 
sources of campaign funds to the intimate debate of the higher 
affairs of State. 

They do not, or will not, comprehend the solemn thing that 
is in your thought. You know as well as they do that there are all 
sorts and conditions of men the unthinking mixed with the wise, 
the reckless with the prudent, the unscrupulous with the fair and 
honest and you know what they sometimes forget, that every 
class without exception affords a sample of the mixture, the 
learned and the fortunate no less than the uneducated and the 
struggling mass. But you see more than they do. You see that 
these multitudes of men, mixed, of every kind and quality, con- 
stitute somehow an organic and noble whole, a single people, and 

22 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

that they have interests which no man can privately determine 
without their knowledge and counsel. That is the meaning of rep- 
resentative government itself. Representative government is noth- 
ing more or less than an effort to give voice to this great body 
through spokesmen chosen out of every grade and class. 


You may think that I am wandering off into a general disquisi- 
tion that has little to do with the business in hand, but I am not. 
This is business business of the deepest sort. It will solve our 
difficulties if you will but take it as business. 

See how it makes business out of the tariff question. The tariff 
question, as dealt with in our time at any rate, has not been busi- 
ness. It has been politics. Tariff schedules have been made up for 
the purpose of keeping as large a number as possible of the rich 
and influential manufacturers of the country in a good humor with 
the Republican Party, which desired their constant financial sup- 
port. The tariff has become a system of favors, which the phrase- 
ology of the schedule was often deliberately contrived to conceal. 
It becomes a matter of business, of legitimate business, only when 
the partnership and understanding it represents is between the 
leaders of Congress and the whole people of the United States, 
instead of between the leaders of Congress and small groups of 
manufacturers demanding special recognition and consideration. 
That is why the general idea of representative government be- 
comes a necessary part of the tariff question. Who, when you 
come down to the hard facts of the matter, have been represented 
in recent years when our tariff schedules were being discussed 
and determined, not on the floor of Congress, for that is not where 
they have been determined, but in the committee rooms and con- 
ferences? That is the heart of the whole affair. Will you, can you, 
bring the whole people into the partnership or not? No one is 
discontented with representative government; it falls under ques- 
tion only when it ceases to be representative. It is at bottom a 
question of good faith and morals. 

Speech of Acceptance 23 


How does the present tariff look in the light of it? I say nothing 
for the moment about the policy of protection, conceived and car- 
ried out as a disinterested statesman might conceive it. Our own 
clear conviction as Democrats is, that in the last analysis the only 
safe and legitimate object of tariff duties, as of taxes of every other 
kind, is to raise revenue for the support of the Government; but 
that is not my present point. We denounce the Payne-Aldrich 
tariff act as the most conspicuous example ever afforded the coun- 
try of the special favors and monopolistic advantages which the 
leaders of the Republican Party have so often shown themselves 
willing to extend to those to whom they looked for campaign con- 
tributions. Tariff duties as they have employed them have not 
been a means of setting up an equitable system of protection. 
They have been, on the contrary, a method of fostering special 
privilege. They have made it easy to establish monopoly in our 
domestic markets. Trusts have owed their origin and their secure 
power to them. The economic freedom of our people, our pros- 
perity in trade, our untrammeled energy in manufacture depend 
upon their reconsideration from top to bottom in an entirely differ- 
ent spirit. 

We do not ignore the fact that the business of a country like 
ours is exceedingly sensitive to changes in legislation of this kind. 
It has been built up, however inadvisedly, upon tariff schedules 
written in the way I have indicated, and its foundations must not 
be too radically or too suddenly disturbed. When we act we 
should act with caution and prudence, like men who know what 
they are about, and not like those in love with a theory. It is obvi- 
ous that the changes we make should be made only at such a rate 
and in such a way as will least interfere with the normal and 
healthful course of commerce and manufacture. But we shall not 
on that account act with timidity, as if we did not know our own 
minds, for we are certain of our ground and of our object. There 
should be an immediate revision, and it should be downward, un- 
hesitatingly and steadily downward 

24 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 


It should begin with the schedules which have been most obvi- 
ously used to kill competition to raise prices in the United States, 
arbitrarily and without regard to the prices pertaining elsewhere 
in the markets of the world; and it should, before it is finished or 
intermitted, be extended to every item in every schedule which 
affords any opportunity for monopoly, for special advantage to 
limited groups of beneficiaries, or for subsidized control of any 
kind in the markets or the enterprises of the country; until special 
favors of every sort shall have been absolutely withdrawn and 
every part of our laws of taxation shall have been transformed 
from a system of governmental patronage into a system of just 
and reasonable charges which shall fall where they will create the 
least burden. When we shall have done that, we can fix questions 
of revenue and of business adjustment in a new spirit and with 
clear minds. We shall then be partners with all the business men 
of the country, and a day of freer, more stable property shall have 

There has been no more demoralizing influence in our politics 
in our time than the influence of tariff legislation, the influence of 
the idea that the Government was the grand dispenser of favors, 
the maker and unmaker of fortunes and of opportunities such as 
certain men have sought in order to control the movement of 
trade and industry throughout the continent. It has made the 
Government a prize to be captured and parties the means of 
effecting the capture. It has made the business men of one of the 
most virile and enterprising nations of the world timid, fretful, 
full of alarms; has robbed them of self-confidence and manly 
force, until they have cried out that they could do nothing with- 
out the assistance of the Government at Washington. It has made 
them feel that their lives depended upon the Ways and Means 
Committee of the House and the Finance Committee of the Sen- 
ate (in these later years particularly the Finance Committee of 
the Senate). They have insisted very anxiously that these com- 
mittees should be made up only of their "friends"; until the 
country in its turn grew suspicious and wondered how those com- 
mittees were being guided and controlled, by what influences 
and plans of personal advantage. Government can not be whole- 

Speech of Acceptance 25 

somely conducted in such an atmosphere. Its very honesty is in 
jeopardy. Favors are never conceived in the general interest; they 
are always for the benefit of the few, and the few who seek and 
obtain them have only themselves to blame if presently they seem 
to be contemned and distrusted. 


For what has the result been? Prosperity? Yes, if by prosperity 
you mean vast wealth no matter how distributed, or whether dis- 
tributed at all, or not; if you mean vast enterprises built up to be 
presently concentrated under the control of comparatively small 
bodies of men, who can determine almost at pleasure whether 
there shall be competition or not. The Nation as a nation has 
grown immensely rich. She is justly proud of her industries and 
of the genius of her men of affairs. They can master anything they 
set their minds to, and we have been greatly stimulated under 
their leadership and command. Their laurels are many and very 
green. We must accord them the great honors that are due and we 
must preserve what they have built up for us. But what of the 
other side of the picture? It is not as easy for us to live as it used 
to be. Our money will not buy as much. High wages, even when 
we can get them, yield us no great comfort. We used to be better 
off with less because a dollar could buy so much more. The 
majority of us have been disturbed to find ourselves growing 
poorer, even though our earnings were slowly increasing. Prices 
climb faster than we can push our earnings up. 

Moreover, we begin to perceive some things about the move- 
ment of prices that concern us very deeply, and fix our attention 
upon the tariff schedules with a more definite determination than 
ever to get to the bottom of this matter. We have been looking 
into it, at trials held under the Sherman Act and in investigations 
in the committee rooms of Congress, where men who wanted to 
know the real facts have been busy with inquiry; and we begin to 
see very clearly what at least some of the methods are by which 
prices are fixed. We know that they are not fixed by the competi- 
tions of the market, or by the ancient law of supply and demand 
which is to be found stated in all the primers of economics, but by 
private arrangements with regard to what the supply should be 
and agreements among the producers themselves. Those who buy 

26 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

are not even represented by counsel The high cost of living is 
arranged by private understanding, 


We naturally ask ourselves, How did these gentlemen get con- 
trol of these things? Who handed our economic laws over to them 
for legislative and contractual alteration? We have in these dis- 
closures still another view of the tariff, still another proof that not 
the people of the United States but only a very small number of 
them have been partners in that legislation. Those few have 
learned how to control tariff legislation, and as they have per- 
fected their control they have consolidated their interests. Men of 
the same interest have drawn together, have united their enter- 
prises and have formed trusts; and trusts can control prices. Up 
to a certain point (and only up to a certain point) great combina- 
tions effect great economies in administration, and increase 
efficiency by simplifying and perfecting organization; but whether 
they effect economies or not, they can very easily determine 
prices by intimate agreement so soon as they come to control a 
sufficient percentage of the product in any great line of business; 
and we know that they do. 

I am not drawing up an indictment against anybody. That is the 
natural history of such tariffs as are now contrived, as it is the 
natural history of all other governmental favors and of all licenses 
to use the Government to help certain groups of individuals along 
in life. Nobody in particular, I suppose, is to blame, and I am not 
interested just now in blaming anybody. I am simply trying to 
point out what the situation is, in order to suggest what there is 
for us to do if we would serve the country as a whole. The fact is 
that the trusts have been formed, have gained all but complete 
control of the larger enterprises of the country, have fixed prices 
and fixed them high so that profits might be rolled up that were 
thoroughly worth while, and that the tariff, with its artificial 
protection and stimulations, gave them the opportunity to do these 
things and has safeguarded them in that opportunity. 

Speech of Acceptance 27 


The trusts do not belong to the period of infant industries. They 
are not the products of the time, that old, laborious time, when the 
great continent we live on was undeveloped, the young Nation 
struggling to find itself and get upon its feet amidst older and more 
experienced competitors. They belong to a very recent and very 
sophisticated age, when men knew what they wanted and knew 
how to get it by the favor of the Government. It is another 
chapter in the natural history of power and of "governing classes." 
The next chapter will set us free again. There will be no flavor of 
tragedy in it. It will be a chapter of readjustment, not of pain and 
rough disturbance.* It will witness a turning back from what is 
abnormal to what is normal. It will see a restoration of the laws 
of trade, which are the laws of competition and of unhampered 
opportunity, under which men of every sort are set free and 
encouraged to enrich the Nation. 

I am not one of those who think that competition can be es- 
tablished by law against the drift of a world-wide economic 
tendency; neither am I one of those who believe that business 
done upon a great scale by a single organization call it corpora- 
tion, or what you will is necessarily dangerous to the liberties, 
even the economic liberties, of a great people like our own, full 
of intelligence and of indomitable energy. I am not afraid of any- 
thing that is normal. I dare say we shall never return to the old 
order of individual competition, and that the organization of 
business upon a great scale of cooperation is, up to a certain point, 
itself normal and inevitable. 


Power in the hands of great business men does not make me 
apprehensive, unless it springs out of advantages which they have 
not created for themselves. Big business is not dangerous because 
it is big, but because its bigness is an unwholesome inflation 
created by privileges and exemptions which it ought not to enjoy. 
While competition can not be created by statutory enactment, it 

* At this point Wilson departed from his prepared text to say: ". . . that is, there 
will be no pain except for die selected few." New fork Times, Aug. 8. 

28 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

can in large measure be revived by changing the laws and for- 
bidding the practices that killed it, and by enacting laws that will 
give it heart and occasion again. We can arrest and prevent 
monopoly. It has assumed new shapes and adopted new processes 
in our time, but these are now being disclosed and can be dealt 

The general terms of the present Federal antitrust law, for- 
bidding "combinations in restraint of trade," have apparently 
proved ineffectual. Trusts have grown up under its ban very 
luxuriantly and have pursued the methods by which so many of 
them have established virtual monopolies without serious let or 
hindrance. It has roared against them like any sucking dove. I am 
not assessing the responsibility. I am merely stating die fact. But 
the means and methods by which trusts have established monop- 
olies have now become known. It will be necessary to supplement 
the present law with such laws, both civil and criminal, as will 
effectually punish and prevent those methods, adding such other 
laws as may be necessary to provide suitable and adequate 
judicial processes, whether civil or criminal, to disclose them and 
follow them to final verdict and judgment.* They must be specifi- 
cally and directly met by law as they develop. 


But the problem and the difficulty are much greater than that. 
There are not merely great trusts and combinations which are to 
be controlled and deprived of their power to create monopolies 
and destroy rivals; there is something bigger still than they are 
and more subtle, more evasive, more difficult to deal with. There 
are vast confederacies (as I may perhaps call them for the sake of 
convenience) of banks, railways, express companies, insurance 
companies, manufacturing corporations, mining corporations, 
power and development companies, and all the rest of die circle, 
bound together by the fact that the ownership of their stock and 
the members of their boards of directors are controlled and de- 
termined by comparatively small and closely interrelated groups 
of persons who, by their informal confederacy, may control, if 
they please and when they will, both credit and enterprise. There 

* Here Wilson added extemporaneously: ". . . thus overcoming in some degree 
the modesty of our courts in this pursuit." New fork World, Aug. 8. 

Speech of Acceptance 29 

is nothing illegal about these confederacies, so far as I can per- 
ceive. They have come about very naturally, generally without 
plan or deliberation, rather because there was so much money to 
be invested, and it was in the hands, at great financial centers, of 
men acquainted with one another and intimately associated in 
business, than because any one had conceived and was carrying 
out a plan of general control; but they are none the less potent a 
force in our economic and financial system on that account. They 
are part of our problem. Their very existence gives rise to the 
suspicion of a "money trust," a concentration of the control of 
credit which may at any time become infinitely dangerous to free 
enterprise. If such a concentration and control does not actually 
exist it is evident that it can easily be set up and used at will. Laws 
must be devised which will prevent this, if laws can be worked 
out by fair and free counsel that will accomplish that result with- 
out destroying or seriously embarrassing any sound or legitimate 
business undertaking or necessary and wholesome arrangement. 

Let me say again that what we are seeking is not destruction of 
any kind nor the disruption of any sound or honest thing, but 
merely the rule of right and of the common advantage. I am 
happy to say that a new spirit has begun to show itself in the last 
year or two among influential men of business, and, what is per- 
haps even more significant, among the lawyers who are their 
expert advisers; and that this spirit has displayed itself very 
notably in the last few months in an effort to return, in some 
degree at any rate, to the practices of genuine competition. Only 
a very little while ago our men of business were united in resisting 
every proposal of change and reform as an attack on business, an 
embarrassment to all large enterprise, an intimation that settled 
ideas of property were to be set aside and a new and strange order 
of things created out of hand. While they thought in that way, 
progress seemed impossible without hot contest and a bitter 
clash between interests, almost a war of classes. Common counsel 
seemed all but hopeless, because some of the chief parties in 
interest would not take part; seemed even to resent discussion as a 
manifestation of hostility towards themselves. They talked con- 
stantly about vested interests and were very hot. 

30 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 


It is a happy omen that their attitude has changed. They see 
that what is right can hurt no man; that a new adjustment of 
interests is inevitable and desirable, is in the interest of every- 
body; that their own honor, their own intelligence, their own 
practical comprehension of affairs is involved. They are begin- 
ning to adjust their business to the new standards. Their hand is 
no longer against the Nation; they are part of it; their interests are 
bound up with its interests. This is not true of all of them; but it is 
true of enough of them to show what the new age is to be and 
how the anxieties of statesmen are to be eased if the light that is 
dawning broadens into day. 

If I am right about this, it is going to be easier to act in accord- 
ance with the rule of right and justice in dealing with the labor 
question. The so-called labor question is a question only because 
we have not yet found the rule of right in adjusting the interests 
of labor and capital. The welfare, the happiness, the energy and 
spirit of the men and women who do the daily work in our mines 
and factories, on our railroads, in our offices and marts of trade, on 
our farms and on the sea, are of the essence of our national life. 
There can be nothing wholesome unless their life is wholesome; 
there can be no contentment unless they are contented. Their 
physical welfare affects the soundness of the whole Nation. We 
shall never get very far in the settlement of these vital matters so 
long as we regard everything done for the workingman, by law or 
by private agreement, as a concession yielded to keep him from 
agitation and a disturbance of our peace. Here, again, the sense of 
universal partnership must come into play if we are to act like 
statesmen, as those who serve, not a class, but a nation. 


The working people of America if they must be distinguished 
from the minority that constitutes the rest of it are, of course, 
the backbone of the Nation. No law that safeguards their life, that 
makes their hours of labor rational and tolerable, that gives them 
freedom to act in their own interest, and that protects them where 
they can not protect themselves, can properly be regarded as class 

Speech of Acceptance 31 

legislation or as anything but as a measure taken in the interest of 
the whole people, whose partnership in right action we are trying 
to establish and make real and practical. It is in this spirit that we 
shall act if we are genuine spokesmen of the whole country. 

As our program is disclosed for no man can forecast it ready- 
made and before counsel is taken of everyone concerned this 
must be its measure and standard, the interest of all concerned. 
For example, in dealing with the complicated and difficult ques- 
tion of the reform of our banking and currency laws it is plain that 
we ought to consult very many persons besides the bankers, not 
because we distrust the bankers, but because they do not neces- 
sarily comprehend the business of the country, notwithstanding 
they are indispensable servants of it and may do a vast deal to 
make it hard or easy. No mere bankers' plan will meet the require- 
ments, no matter how honestly conceived. It should be a mer- 
chants' and fanners' plan as well, elastic in the hands of those who 
use it as an indispensable part of their daily business. I do not 
know enough about this subject to be dogmatic about it; I know 
only enough to be sure what the partnerships in it should be and 
that the control exercised over any system we may set up should 
be, as far as possible, a control emanating not from a single special 
class but from the general body and authority of the Nation itself. 


In dealing with the Philippines we should not allow ourselves 
to stand upon any mere point of pride, as if, in order to keep 
countenance in the families of nations, it were necessary for us to 
make the same blunders of selfishness that other nations have 
made. We are not the owners of the Philippine Islands. We hold 
them in trust for the people who live in them. They are theirs, for 
the uses of their life. We are not even their partners. It is our 
duty, as trustees, to make whatever arrangement of government 
will be most serviceable to their freedom and development. Here, 
again, we are to set up the rule of justice and of right. 

The rule of the people is no idle phrase; those who believe in it 
as who does not that has caught the real spirit of America? 
believe that there can be no rule of right without it; that right in 
politics is made up of the interests of everybody, and everybody 
should take part in the action that is to determine it. We have 

32 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

been keen for presidential primaries and the direct election of 
United States Senators, because we wanted the action of the 
Government to be determined by persons whom the people had 
actually designated as men whom they were ready to trust and 
follow. We have been anxious that all campaign contributions 
and expenditures should be disclosed to the public in fullest de- 
tail, because we regarded the influences which govern campaigns 
to be as much a part of the people's business as anything else 
connected with their Government. We are working toward a very 
definite object the universal partnership in public affairs upon 
which the purity of politics and its aim and spirit depend. 

For there is much for the partners to undertake. In the affairs 
of a great nation we plan and labor, not for the present only, but 
for the long future as well. There are great tasks of protection and 
conservation and development to which we have to address our- 
selves. Government has much more to do than merely to right 
wrongs and set the house in order. 


I do not know any greater question than that of conservation. 
We have been a spendthrift nation, and now must husband what 
we have left. We must do more than that. We must develop, as 
well as preserve, our water powers and must add great waterways 
to the transportation facilities of the nation, to supplement the 
railways within our borders as well as upon the Isthmus. We 
must revive our merchant marine, too, and fill the seas again with 
our own fleets. We must add to our present post-office service a 
parcel post as complete as that of any other nation. We must look 
to the health of our people upon every hand, as well as hearten 
them with justice and opportunity. This is the constructive work 
of government. This is the policy that has a vision and a hope and 
that looks to serve mankind. 

There are many sides to these great matters. Conservation is 
easy to generalize about, but hard to particularize about wisely. 
Reservation is not the whole of conservation. The development 
of great States must not be stayed indefinitely to await a policy 
by which our forests and water powers can prudently be made use 
of. Use and development must go hand in hand. The policy we 

Speech of Acceptance 33 

adopt must be progressive, not negative, merely, as if we did not 
know what to do. 

With regard to the development of greater and more numerous 
waterways and the building up of a merchant marine, we must 
follow great constructive lines and not fall back upon the cheap 
device of bounties and subsidies. In the case of die Mississippi 
River, that great central artery of our trade, it is plain that the 
Federal Government must build and maintain the levees and keep 
the great waters in harness for the general use. It is plain, too, that 
vast sums of money must be spent to develop new waterways 
where trade will be most served and transportation most readily 
cheapened by them. Such expenditures are no largess on the part 
of the Government; they are national investments. 


The question of a merchant marine turns back to the tariff 
again, to which all roads seem to lead, and to our registry laws, 
which, if coupled with the tariff, might almost be supposed to 
have been intended to take the American flag off the seas. Bounties 
are not necessary, if you will but undo some of the things that 
have been done. Without a great merchant marine we can not take 
our rightful place in the commerce of the world. Merchants who 
must depend upon the carriers of rival mercantile nations to carry 
their goods to market are at a disadvantage in international trade 
too manifest to need to be pointed out; and our merchants will not 
long suffer themselves ought not to suffer themselves to be 
placed at such a disadvantage. Our industries have expanded to 
such a point that they will burst their jackets if they can not find a 
free outlet to the markets of the world; and they can not find such 
an outlet unless they be given ships of their own to carry their 
goods ships that will go the routes they want them to go and 
prefer the interests of America in their sailing orders and their 
equipment. Our domestic markets no longer suffice. We need 
foreign markets. That is another force that is going to break the 
tariff down. The tariff was once a bulwark; now it is a dam.* For 
trade is reciprocal; we can not sell unless we also buy. 

* Then Wilson said: ". . . and you can spell the word either way you want to." 
New Yorfc Times, Aug. 8. 

34 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

The very fact that we have at last taken the Panama Canal 
seriously in hand and are vigorously pushing it toward completion 
is eloquent of our reawakened interest in international trade. We 
are not building the canal and pouring out millions upon millions 
of money upon its construction merely to establish a water con- 
nection between the two coasts of the continent, important and 
desirable as that may be, particularly from the point of view of 
naval defense. It is meant to be a great international highway. It 
would be a little ridiculous if we should build it and then have no 
ships to send through it. There have been years when not a single 
ton of freight passed through the great Suez Canal in an American 
bottom, so empty are the seas of our ships and seamen. We must 
mean to put an end to that kind of thing or we would not be cut- 
ting a new canal at our very doors merely for the use of our men- 
of-war. We shall not manage the revival by the mere paltry device 
of tolls. We must build and buy ships in competition with the 
world. We can do it if we will but give ourselves leave. 



tere is another duty which the Democratic Party has shown 
itself great enough and close enough to the people to perceive, the 
duty of Government to share in promoting agricultural, industrial, 
vocational education in every way possible within its constitu- 
tional powers.)No other platform has given this intimate vision of 
a party's duty. The Nation can not enjoy its deserved supremacy 
in the markets and enterprises of the world unless its people are 
given the ease and effectiveness that come only with knowledge 
and training. Education is part of the great task of conservation, 
part of the task of renewal and of perfected power. 

We have set ourselves a great program, and it will be a great 
party that carries it out. It must be a party without entangling 
alliances with any special interest whatever. It must have the 
spirit and the point of view of the new age. Men are turning away 
from the Republican Party, as organized under its old leaders, 
because they found that it was not free; that it was entangled; and 
they are turning to us because they deem us free to serve them. 
They are immensely interested, as we are, as every man who 
reads the signs of the time and feels the spirit of the new age is, 
in the new program. It is solidly based on the facts of our national 

Speech of Acceptance 35 

life; its items are items of present business; it is what every man 
should wish to see done who wishes to see our present distemper 
made an end of and our old free cooperative life restored. 

We should go into this campaign confident of only one thing 
confident of what we want to do if intrusted with the Govern- 
ment. It is not a partisan fight we are entering upon. We are 
happily excused from personal attacks upon opponents and from 
all general indictments against the men opposed to us. The facts 
are patent to everybody; we do not have to prove them; the more 
frank among our opponents admit them. Our thinking must be 
constructive from start to finish. We must show that we under- 
stand the problems that confront us, and that we are soberly 
minded to deal with them; applying to them, not nostrums and 
notions, but hard sense and good courage. 


(A, presidential campaign may easily degenerate into a mere 
personal contest and so lose its real dignity and significance. 
There is no indispensable man. The Government will not col- 
lapse and go to pieces if any one of the gentlemen who are seeking 
to be entrusted with its guidance should be left at home. But men 
are instruments.) We are as important as the cause we represent, 
and in order to be important must really represent a cause. What 
is our cause? The people's cause. That is easy to say, but what 
does it mean? The common as against any particular interest 
whatever? Yes, but that, too, needs translation into acts and 
policies. We represent the desire to set up an unentangled gov- 
ernment, a government that can not be used for private purposes, 
either in the field of business or in the field of politics; a govern- 
ment that will not tolerate the use of the organization of a great 
party to serve the personal aims and ambitions of any individual, 
and that will not permit legislation to be employed to further any 
private interest. It is a great conception, but I am free to serve it, 
as you also are. I could not have accepted a nomination which 
left me bound to any man or group of men. No man can be just 
who is not free; and no man who has to show favors ought to 
undertake the solemn responsibility of government in any rank or 
post whatever, least of all in the supreme post of President of the 
United States. 

36 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

To be free is not necessarily to be wise. But wisdom comes with 
counsel, with the frank and free conference of untrammeled men 
united in the common interest. Should I be entrusted with the 
great office of President, I would seek counsel wherever it could 
be had upon free terms. I know the temper of the great convention 
which nominated me; I know the temper of the country that lay 
back of that convention and spoke through it. I heed with deep 
thankfulness the message you bring me from it. I feel that I am 
surrounded by men whose principles and ambitions are those of 
true servants of the people. I thank Cod, and will take courage. 


The New Yorfc Evening Post (Independent), edited by the militant 
liberal Oswald Garrison Villard, very felicitously contrasted Wilson's 
serene tone at Sea Girt with Theodore Roosevelt's highly charged 
emotionalism at the Bull Moose convention: "After the earthquake, a 
still small voice. After the raging torrent of epithets at Chicago, a calm 
poised discussion of the chief political issues before the people." 1 

Democratic newspapers were lavish in their praise. The New Yorfc 
World hailed Wilson's speech as "the ablest, clearest, sanest statement 
of high public purpose this country has known in a generation." 2 The 
Philadelphia Record called it "the speech of a man who can look 
broadly and yet accurately over a vast nation, interpret the signs of 
the times, understand changes and see whither the present aspirations 
of the people are tending." 8 The Atlanta Journal noted with satisfac- 
tion that the new Democratic leader had demonstrated he had no in- 
tention of stirring up class animosities but was endeavoring "to unite 
the people in their common interests." 4 

On the other hand the Boston Journal, owned by Frank A. Munsey, 
one of Roosevelt's chief backers, labeled the speech "too naive and 
ingenuous" and "too reassuring," and charged that it promised the 
trusts "tender consideration." 5 And the Boston Transcript (Republi- 
can) questioned whether a speech such as Wilson's, which read "like 
a schoolmaster's talk to pupils or fellow-teachers" would suffice to 
check "that Terrible Teddy." 

"Teddy" himself, during his speaking tour through New England, 
attacked Wilson for saying the Democratic platform was "not a pro- 
gram." And Roosevelt went on to boast that the Progressive Republi- 
cans did not have to apologize for their platf orm but would stand upon 
it and ask the American people to adopt it. T Already he was begin- 
ning to use against Wilson a strategy that he would continue to em- 

Speech of Acceptance 37 

ploy during the rest of the campaign, namely, to tie his chief opponent 
as closely as possible to the Democratic platform. 

Wilson himself was not entirely satisfied with his performance at 
Sea Girt. On the day following his notification, he told a group of news 
reporters how difficult it had been for him to read his speech and stick 
to his text. "The rest of my speeches," he declared emphatically, "will 
be delivered as I like to deliver a speech right out of my mind as it 
is working at the time." 8 


Delivered at Gloucester, New Jersey, August IS 

WASHINGTON PARK, near the Delaware River, was the scene of 
Wilson's second speech in the presidential campaign. Charles L. 
Swem, the Democratic nominee's new campaign reporter, sat on the 
speaker's stand and with swift, fluent strokes of his pen made an ac- 
curate shorthand record of this extemporaneous address. Most of Gov- 
ernor Wilson's five thousand listeners were members of the South 
Jersey Farmers' Association, which was holding its picnic in the park, 
not far from the old Gloucester race track. 

This time the Democratic nominee tailored his remarks to his audi- 
ence by stressing farm problems and their relation to the issues of 
the campaign, especially the issue of the protective tariff. 

During most of the address the crowd, standing unprotected under 
a blazing afternoon sun, was undemonstrative; but as Wilson uttered 
his closing words the scene changed abruptly. Hundreds of farmers 
rushed forward to shake the governor's hand. A dozen policemen, seek- 
ing to hold the crowd in check, were forced to give way before the 
onrush. Even after the candidate had started to leave in his auto- 
mobile, he was forced to stop for another round of handshakes. 2 

Here indeed Wilson had demonstrated the power of a personal 
magnetism that belied the austerity of his features. This ability to stir 
men's enthusiasm as well as their minds was to prove one of his great- 
est assets throughout the arduous weeks ahead. 

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: 

I remember very distinctly, and with a great deal of pleasure, 
being here just a year ago. As I was coming down on the train I 
was asking myself the difference between this occasion and that. 
At that time we were on the eve of a state political campaign, as 
we are now. This time the view has widened to the nation itself, 
and we are now about to combine with the choice of state officers 


Washington Park, New Jersey 39 

the choice also of a President and Vice President of the United 

Have I come therefore on a diflferent errand? It seems to me, 
that although I was not a candidate last time and am a candidate 
this time, that so far as my thought is concerned that has very 
little to do with it. I am interested in politics not as a search for 
office but as a great contest devoted to something very definite 
and practical indeed. Politics ought not to be considered as a mere 
occasion for oratory. Politics ought to be considered as a branch 
of the national business, and a man who talks politics ought to 
tell his fellow citizens very distinctly what he thinks about their 
affairs and what his own attitude towards them is. 

There was another thought that was prominent in my mind as I 
came down today. Here we are at a farmers' picnic, and on this 
day I suppose that here at Washington Park we might say that the 
farmers occupy the center of the stage.* When did the farmers 
ever occupy the center of the stage in our politics? I don't remem- 
ber any time. I do remember a time written of with great enthusi- 
asm by historians in the far year 1775 when the farmers around 
about Lexington in Massachusetts gathered along the roadside to 
prevent the retreat of a little handful of British troops who had 
been bent upon an illicit errand. I have read a great deal of poetry 
about the embattled farmers at Lexington, and I know that every 
war that we have fought has seen the farmers of this country 
along with the other patriotic men embattled in the nation's de- 
fense. But when it comes down to the voting, when it comes down 
to the making of laws, where are the embattled farmers? When 
have the farmers ever occupied the center of the [stage] in politics? 

Do you ask me whether I want the farmers to organize them- 
selves in such a way that they shall thrust others aside and usurp 
the center of the [stage]? I reply, No. There is not a single class of 
the nation that ought to demand that it should be occupying 
constantly the center of the [stage], t but there is also not a single 
class in the nation that ought not to demand constantly that it be 
regarded as a member of the firm in the great partnership. 

I have seen the interests of a great many classes especially 

* The transcript in the Wilson Papers has "state" with "stage" written in long- 
hand above it. It is evident that the context demands "stage." 

f The transcript in the Wilson Papers has "state" but the Swem Notes have 

40 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

regarded in legislation, but I must frankly say that I have never 
seen the interests of the farmer very often regarded in legislation. 
And one of the greatest impositions upon the farmer of this 
country that has ever been devised is the present tariff legislation 
of the United States. I have not heard of fanners waiting for a 
hearing before the committee of Ways and Means of the House 
and the Finance Committee of the Senate in order to take part in 
determining what the tariff schedule should be. I have not heard 
anybody but orators on the stump say that the tariff was intended 
for the benefit of the farmer, because you have to be on the 
stump to keep a straight face when you make a statement like 
that. When the United States was the granary of the world and 
was supplying the world far and near with the foodstuffs that it 
subsisted upon, the farmers were not looking for protection, and 
while they were not looking everything else had duties [put] * 
upon it, and the cost of everything that they had to use was raised 
upon them and raised upon them, until now it is almost impossible 
for them to make a legitimate profit. 

While you were feeding the world, Congress was feeding the 
trusts. Nobody doubts what the process of tariff legislation has 
been, because everybody who has been curious enough to inquire 
knows what the process of tariff legislation has been. We could 
give you a list of the gentlemen who have been most prominent 
in securing tariff legislation. We know the kind that secured it 
and the purpose they secured it for; and they weren't thinking 
about the general prosperity of the United States. They were 
thinking about the balance sheets in particular investments, and 
those investments were not investments which were easily within 
the reach and work of the farmer himself. 

I would be ashamed of myself, ladies and gentlemen, if I tried 
to stir up any feeling on the part of any class against any other 
class. I wish to disavow all intention of suggesting to the farmer 
that he go in and do somebody up. That isn't the point. All that I 
am modestly suggesting to you is that you break into your own 
house and live there. And I want you to examine very critically 
the character of the tenants who have been occupying it. It is a 
very big house and very few people have been living in it; and the 
rent has been demanded of you, and not of them. You have paid 

* The transcript in the Wilson Papers omitted "put," which is in the Swem Notes. 

Washington Park, New Jersey 41 

the money which enabled them to live in your own house and 
dominate your own premises. 

I regard this campaign as I regarded the last one, and the one 
before the last, and every campaign in which people have taken 
part since the world began, as simply a continued struggle to see 
to it that the people were taken care of by their own government. 
And my indictment against the tariff is that it represents special 
partnerships and does not represent the general interest. It is a 
long time since tariffs were made by men who even supposed that 
they were seeking to serve the general interest, because as I 
think my friend, Congressman Hughes,* will bear me out in say- 
ing tariffs are not made by the general body of the members of 
either house of Congress. They have in the past been made by 
very small groups of individuals in certain committees of those 
houses, who even refused information to their fellow members as 
to the basis upon which they had acted in framing the schedules. 
One of the gentlemen who have been most conspicuously con- 
nected with this thing has in recent years prudently withdrawn 
from public life. I mean the one-time senior Senator from Rhode 
Island, Mr. Aldrich. f I at least give Mr. Aldrich the credit of 
having had a large weather eye. He saw the weather was changing 
in Rhode Island even in Rhode Island as well as in the rest of 
the Union; that men who had long known that he was imposing 
upon them felt that the limit had been reached, and they were not 
going to be imposed upon any longer. They saw that he wasn't 
even doing what he pretended to do, namely, to serve the special 
interests of Rhode Island, because he was serving only some of the 
special interests of Rhode Island and not all of them. You cannot 
go into a game like that without narrowing and narrowing and 
narrowing the circle of interest, until presently you will not think 
about anything but one particular individual interest. The only 
way you can conduct politics is in widening circles, not in narrow- 
ing circles, and these gentlemen have been trying to conduct it in 
ever narrowing circles which centered about particular interests, 
whose maneuvers in politics we are painfully familiar with. Every 

* William Hughes, U. S. Representative from New Jersey. In 1012 he was elected 
to a seat in the Senate of the United States. 

t Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich, U. S. Senator from Rhode Island (1881-1911), was 
well known for his advocacy of a high protective tariff. He was co-author of the 
Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909. 

42 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

time we get on the platform, therefore, we put on our war paint 
and say we are in this thing to see that everybody is considered a 
member of the great firm of the United States of America when 
we transact business. 

Now, there are various questions which you gentlemen ought 
to realize are pending questions that directly concern the farmer 
of this country. The tariff intimately concerns the farmer of this 
country. It makes a great deal of difference to you that Mr. Taft 
the other day vetoed the steel bill. It makes a difference to you in 
the cost of practically every tool that you use upon the farm; and 
it is very significant, or ought to be very significant, to you that a 
Democratic House of Representatives has just passed the steel 
tariff reduction bill over the President's veto a thing, I am in- 
formed, unprecedented in the history of the country: that a House 
should have passed two tariff measures, the wool measure and 
the steel measure, over the veto of the President. Why? Because 
these gentlemen know that they are pushing this thing forward 
against some of the most powerful combined interests of this 
country and that they are under bonds to represent the people of 
the United States and not the special parties in it. 

Tariff measures are not measures for the merchant merely, and 
the manufacturer. The farmer pays just as big a proportion of the 
tariff duties as anybody else. Indeed, sometimes when we are 
challenged to say who the consumer is as contrasted with the 
producer, so far as the tariff is concerned, I am tempted to answer, 
'The fanner." Because he does not produce any of the things that 
get any material benefit from the tariff, and he consumes all of 
the things which are taxed under the tariff system. 

Now, there is another matter. You know we are digging a tre- 
mendous ditch across the Isthmus of Panama. It is predicted by 
the engineers in charge of that colossal enterprise that we shall 
be able to open it to the ships of the world by the year 1915. What 
interest have you in opening it to the ships of the world? We don't 
own the ships of the world. By a very ingenious process, which I 
would not keep you standing in the hot sun long enough to out- 
line, the legislation of the United States has destroyed the mer- 
chant marine of the United States. The chief road by which your 
crops travel to the Orient is through the Suez Canal. They don't 
go around by the Pacific. Most of your maps do not show you 
die short road to the Orient, because they are spread out flat. If 

Washington Park, New Jersey 43 

you will get a globe and draw a circle around the globe, you will 
see that your short road is through the Suez Canal, not across the 
Pacific, and that the western farmer, therefore, has to ship his 
grain across the continent in order to reach the ships that are to 
take that road. And when his crops reach the port, do they find 
American ships waiting for them? Not at all. In most years not a 
single ship carrying the American flag goes through that canal 
carrying freight. Some ships carry the American flag through that 
canal, but they are mostly private yachts. A friend of mine who 
has just traveled around the world told me that he did not see the 
American flag once between New York and Hong Kong, going by 
way of the canal, until he reached the island of Ceylon, and then 
he saw the flag of Mr. James Gordon Bennett's * yacht. And if the 
shipowners of other nations carry your grain and cargoes, they are 
going to carry them by routes and to markets which suit them, 
not the routes and the markets which are chosen by you. One of 
the great objects in cutting that great ditch across die Isthmus of 
Panama is to allow farmers who are near the Atlantic to ship to 
the Pacific coast by way of the Atlantic ports, to allow all the 
farmers on what I may, standing here, call this half of the con- 
tinent, to find their outlet at the ports of the Gulf or the ports of 
the Atlantic seaboard, and then to have coastwise steamers carry 
their products down around through the canal and up the Pacific 
coast, or down the coast of South America. 

Now, at present there are no ships to do that. And one of the 
bills pending, just passed by Congress passed I believe yesterday 
by the Senate as it had passed the House provides for free tolls 
for American ships through that canal and prohibits any ship 
from passing through that canal which is owned by any American 
railway company. You see the object of that, don't you? We don't 
want the railways to compete with themselves; because we under- 
stand that kind of competition. We want the water carriage to 
compete with the land carriage, so as to be perfectly sure that you 
are going to get better rates around by the canal [than] t you 
would across die continent. 

The farmers of this country are, in my judgment, just as much 
concerned in the policy of the United States with regard to that 

* Proprietor of the New York Herald. 

t The transcript in the Wilson Papers has "that" but the Swem Notes have 

44 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

canal as any other class of citizens in the United States. Probably 
they are more concerned than any other one class of citizens. And 
what I am most desirous to see is the farmers of the United States 
coming forward as partners in the great national undertakings 
and take a wide national, nay, international, view of these great 
matters, feeling all the pulses of the world that beat in the great 
arteries of commerce and are part of the pulse of their own life 
and prosperity. Everything that is done in the interest of cheap 
transportation is done directly for the farmer as well as for other 
men. So that you ought not to grudge the millions poured out for 
the deepening and opening of old and new waterways. 

Then there is another thing you ought to be deeply interested 
in, that is in the program of the great party I belong to. That is 
the parcels post. This is the only civilized country in the world 
whose government does not see to it that every man has an express 
agency at his own door. It is the only government in the world 
that does not see to it that rates established by the government 
and facilities established by the government enable men to ship 
their goods, large and small, as they please from one end of the 
continent to the other. We have no parcels post until you reach 
the ports, and from the ports to the other side of the Atlantic you 
can have parcels-post rates, but you can't have them inside the 
United States. Because may I conjecture the reason because 
there are certain express companies which object. 

Now, I move that the objections of all private enterprises be 
overruled. I move that we establish a parliamentary procedure 
by which they will not even be considered; not in order that men 
who have made legitimate investments of capital may not have 
their proper return for it, but in order that they may not look to 
the government for their proper return for it. The trouble with 
the business of the United States under the tariff is that men think 
they can't make money without the assistance of the government. 
And as long as you allow them to think that, then every mother's 
son of us is tied to the apron strings of the old grandmother sitting 
in the Capitol at Washington. Now, for my part, I am free and 
twenty-one, and I don't want any assistance of the government 
to enable me to make a living. You will say that I am not in a 
protected industry. I suppose that public office and public oratory 
are not protected industries, but they are a great drain on the 
capital of the people investing in them, and especially when you 

Washington Park, New Jersey 45 

speak outdoors, a great drain on the physical constitution. But I 
want at every turn of every argument that I make of this nature to 
say that the legitimate business enterprises of this country have 
absolutely nothing to fear, provided they will stand on their own 
bottoms; but that they have everything to fear if all they have 
under them is the prop of a tax which everybody is obliged to pay 
in order that they may be able to conduct their business and I 
believe that that is the just principle of government. 

There is another matter in which I am deeply interested. There 
are only three lines devoted to it in the Democratic platform, but 
there are no lines devoted to it in the Republican platform; and 
there are so many lines in the Bull Moose platform that I haven't 
found it yet. It is a Sabbath day's journey through that program. 
If there are such lines I have not reached that station yet. But in 
the Democratic platform there are three lines in which the party 
declares it to be its duty to devote such funds of the national 
government as it may constitutionally devote to such purposes to 
the promotion of industrial, agricultural, and vocational education. 

The specific meaning of that part of the platform is this: You 
know that in our universities there is stored up no end of informa- 
tion, which would be extremely useful to the farmer, if the farmer 
could only get at it. We cannot let the farmer leave the fields 
and come to the university to get the information, because we 
would starve in the meantime. But we can organize matters in 
such a fashion that the university will carry the information to 
the farmer; and it is our business to see that die chemistry of soils, 
all the investigation that has been going on in the world of science 
for a generation and more, in the proper rotation of crops, all the 
information which has been gathered with regard to the proper 
time and method of planting certain crops and the adaptation of 
certain crops to certain soils all questions which have been ex- 
haustively studied in the universities should be carried to the 
farms, and the men on the farms given free use of these accumu- 
lations of knowledge. 

There is a bill pending in the House now for the purpose of 
beginning this system of what may properly be called university 
extension to the farm. Congressman Hughes tells me that it is 
pending and under consideration this very day in the House of 
Representatives showing that the men in the House are not 
waiting until you elect national officers on their platform. They are 

46 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

going ahead with their duty now; because our platform is not 
molasses to catch flies. It means business. It means what it says. 
It is the utterance of earnest and honest men who intend to do 
business along those lines and who are not waiting to see whether 
they can catch votes with those promises before they determine 
whether they are going to act upon them or not. Because the 
American people are now taking notice in a way in which they 
never took notice before, and gentlemen who talk one way and 
vote another are going to be retired to a very quiet and private 
retirement. So that when we speak of vocational education, when 
we speak of assistance to those lads who want to learn how to do 
scientifically and carefully the things that they are attempting to 
do, we are speaking of that whereof we know, and that which we 
intend to do, for let me say in this American audience it can be 
said without embarrassment that America is very much behind 
some of her chief competitors in the commercial world in the 
matters in which she prepares her people to earn their living 
by skillful work. 

There is one label that I often see on goods sold in our shops 
that makes me blush a little bit. That label is "Made in Germany." 
Why should that be a commendation? Why should you prefer to 
buy something made in Germany rather than something made in 
the United States? The only conceivable reason is that you believe 
that the hands that made that in Germany were better trained 
than the hands that made the similar article in the United States. 
And what I don't like to admit, but must admit, is that in some 
instances that is true. We don't give our lads a chance to learn 
how to do the work as well as it is done in Germany, because the 
German government long ago saw the signs of the times, saw that 
we must live by science, by knowledge, by skill, by the infinite 
dexterity of our hands, and that if they were to be masters in the 
world of commerce they must also have supremacy in the world 
of knowledge. 

Now, America has been trusting to her native capacity, to her 
native wits, and she has had so much of it that she has been able 
to trust to them for a long time, but the world is getting a little 
more difficult. Competition is becoming a little more strenuous. 
You can't do things now with the flat hand. You must do it with 
the skillful touch of the finger, and America like Germany must 
see to it that her young men are skilled workmen. She must see to 

Washington Park, New Jersey 47 

it that when they go into a vocation they go into it with the 
knowledge of its tasks and the skill to address themselves to its 
tasks. And that affects the farmer just as it affects anybody else. 
We must carry the university to the farm. 

Not only that, but there is something else. The farmer is in- 
terested in the size and variety of the markets into which the 
merchants of the United States enter. You know that we have not 
established ourselves in foreign markets very successfully as yet, 
as compared with competitors, because we have been so com- 
placently content with the domestic market. We have been com- 
placently content with the domestic market, because by ingenious 
legislation we were making the prices of the domestic market 
most inviting. And if we could get all the money we wanted out 
of the pockets of our neighbors, there was no particular interest 
in stirring our brains to find what pockets we could get it out of on 
the other side of the world. But America has so prospered; she is 
now so productive of everything that the human race uses, almost, 
that she has got too much to sell to herself. If prosperity is not to 
be checked in this country, we must broaden our borders and 
make conquest of the markets of the world. That is the reason 
that America is so deeply interested in the question of which I 
have already spoken the merchant marine, and that is also the 
reason why America is so much interested in breaking down, 
wherever it is possible without danger to break it down, that dam 
against which all the tides of our prosperity have banked up, that 
great dam that runs around all our coasts, and which we call the 
protective tariff. I would prefer to call it the restrictive tariff. I 
would prefer to call it the tariff that holds us back. I should prefer 
to call it the tariff that hems us in, the tariff that chokes us, the 
tariff that smothers us, because the great unmatched energy of 
America is now waiting for a field greater than America itself in 
which to prove that Americans can take care of themselves. 

I don't want to belong to a crowd that can't take care of them- 
selves. After a while if you keep on with this tariff business, we 
will have to have a special board of guardians to look after the 
United States. Now, we have tried one board of guardians in 
Jersey. I speak this with bated breath, because a distinguished 
member of that board lives not so very far away from here, and 
used to have a great deal to do with the thoughtful protection of 
this public resort, but nevertheless I am frank to profess my belief 

48 Port 2. Opening the Campaign 

that New Jersey not so very long ago used to be looked after by a 
very particular board of guardians, and they saw to it that their 
friends were taken care of, as guardians always do. Guardians 
have not a large imagination. Guardians have not a large liberality. 
Guardians attend to business, and I don't want to see the United 
States any longer in the hands of guardians. 

There was a time, ladies and gentlemen, not many years ago 
when I would have uttered sentiments like these with a certain 
degree of heat; because I would have known I would have felt 
at any rate that I was against an almost irresistible force. But I 
don't feel the least heat now. We have got them on the run now, 
and the resistance is very little. The friction is going to come when 
they try to put on brakes and try to stop. There is no heat in the 
business now; there is hopeful confidence that the people of the 
United States at last realize their opportunity, know what it is 
they want, and are out to get it. I have never known anything like 
the awakening that has occurred in the United States in recent 
years. It is just as if we had all been taking a long and comfortable 
sleep, with sometimes very disturbing dreams; we would wake up 
once in a while in a nightmare and say, "Who is this sitting on my 
chest?" but then we would turn over and go to sleep again, and at 
last we waked up and found there was somebody sitting on our 
chests. And now we have come entirely to the consciousness of 
the new day. There are not going to be any more nightmares. It is 
going to be daytime all the time, and somebody is going to be on 
the lookout all the time to see that this thing does not happen 
again; and what we are trying for in this campaign is merely this: 
Who of you, how many of you, which of you, have enlisted for the 
fight? I believe that it is going to be one of those general recruit- 
ments when you won't need to have recruiting officers. I was 
talking to a friend the other day who said, "We must go around 
and form clubs/' I said, "My dear boy, they are forming them- 
selves." They don't have to have presidents and secretaries and 
constitutions. Every group you meet on the street corner is a club, 
and somewhere about their clothes they have got a club, and the 
men that need to watch the weather are the men for whom that 
club is reserved. 

I believe that there is going to be a great, handsome, peaceful, 
hopeful revolution on the fifth day of November, 1912; and that 
after that revolution has been accomplished, men will go about 

A Lull in the Campaign 49 

their business saying: "What was it that we feared? We feared 
chains and we have won liberty. We feared to touch anything for 
fear we should mar it, and now everything wears the bright face 
of prosperity, and we know that the right is also the profitable 
thing, and that nobody can serve a nation without serving also 


August 16-28 

DURING THE two weeks following his appearance at Washington 
Park, Wilson confined himself to four "minor" talks. The first two were 
at Sea Girt in celebration of "Jersey Day," August 17. He made his 
main speech to a group of Jerseymen as he stood beneath a large 
weeping willow tree to the left of his cottage. 2 

In this he had little to say about national politics but dwelt upon the 
achievements of his administration as governor and pointed out the 
dangers of permitting New Jersey to fall once more under the invidi- 
ous influence of political bosses. "Plans are being laid," he warned, "to 
put the old men in the saddle again, and restore the old order of poli- 
tics in New Jersey. Are you going to consent?" These were timely 
words. Just before beginning his speech he had received infor- 
mation that former United States Senator James Smith, Jr., one-time 
Democratic boss of New Jersey, against whose bossism he had already 
fought successfully, was planning to run for the Senate again. 8 * 

One short passage about the Progressive party surprised the audi- 
ence, for it sounded almost like an endorsement of the Progressive 
group. Having recalled the despair that had settled over New Jersey 
before the Democrats had come into power and enacted progressive 
measures, Wilson accounted for the birth of the Bull Moose party in 
this way: "I suppose you know the force behind the new party that 
has recently been formed, the so-called ^Progressive party/ It is a force 
of discontent with the regular [parties] of the United States. It is the 

James Smith, Jr., U.S. Senator from New Jersey (1893-99), for a long time 
one of the leaders in the Democratic machine in New Jersey, had backed Wilson 
for the governorship of New Jersey in 1910. There was a break in their relations 
after Wilson insisted on putting through a progressive program and refused to be 
dictated to by machine leaders. 

50 P^ri 2. Opening the Campaign 

feeling of men who have tired of having gone into blind alleys and are 
anxious to find a way out." * 

A few hours after this speech, Wilson amplified his remarks with a 
statement that the best hopes of achieving progressive aims depended 
upon the Democratic party. Two days later, after receiving numerous 
telegrams that requested further clarification, he issued the follow- 
ing statement: "The progressive element in the Republican party tried 
to get control of it and failed. The progressive element in the Demo- 
cratic party tried to get control of it and overwhelmingly succeeded. 
So that it is obvious to the whole country that the Democratic party 
is free to serve all the purposes of the people. The Democratic party 
has thus become a free, organized instrumentality through which pro- 
grams of reform can be carried out." B 

That afternoon, Wilson addressed representatives of the newly 
formed Women's Wilson and Marshall League. Here he encountered 
another problem. Unwilling to advocate woman's suffrage as some 
of the speakers on the same program had done, he handled the di- 
lemma by stating that he wholeheartedly approved women's partici- 
pation in politics because of their direct contact with the cost of living, 
and in this way avoided committing himself on equal suffrage. 6 

At Schuetzen Park, near Hoboken, on August 19, Wilson faced a 
crowd very different from his farmer audience at Washington Park. 
His five thousand listeners, mostly picnickers of the Plattdeutscher 
Volksfest Verein, a German-American organization, increased the 
natural difficulties of outdoor speaking with their frequent bursts of 
applause. And as an additional handicap the Democratic nominee, 
standing upon a high, improvised balcony, had to make himself heard 
above the music of four German bands marching in other parts of 
the park. It is therefore not surprising that Wilson as a speaker was 
less effective on this occasion than usual. 7 

His introductory remarks represented the Democratic party as an 
organized force capable of putting the American people in control of 
their own government. "I know," he declared, "that the people of this 
country have determined to take possession of their own affairs in 
order that their own thoughts may get translated into the affairs of 
government, and I know by the present constitution of the great party 
I belong to that there is a way in which they can get it." 8 

He devoted much of his speech to describing the immigrants' image 
of America as a place where liberty, justice, and economic opportunity 
obtain. And he said that Americans should strive to realize that ideal. 
"If this is the home of political liberty," he asked, "are we seeing to 
it that political liberty is unsoiled and unlimited in America? If this 

A Lull in the Campaign 51 

is a place of economic opportunity, where a man may choose his own 
career, are we seeing to it that it remains such a place? For if we are 
not, then we are not true Americans." fl 

When the music proved too much, Wilson cut short his speech with 
the following words: "I am not used to competing with a band, but 
the band quite fully expresses my own feeling of affairs. A band is 
not intellectual, but it is very spiriting. It affects the emotions, and I 
am ready to follow a band after the fifth of November." 10 

Wilson delivered his next speech on August 20 at the Interstate 
Fair Grounds at Trenton. He had accepted the invitation to attend the 
annual outing of the Mercer County Democratic League with the un- 
derstanding that he would not have to make a speech, but a warm 
reception by his "home folks" induced him to give a short impromptu 
talk. 11 

Remarking that there was an influence at work in the modern world 
to overthrow privilege, so that even China had declared for a repub- 
lic, he called it "amazing" that America, "designed as an asylum for 
the oppressed of the world, should have become the home of privi- 
lege." He denounced those men, whether they called themselves Dem- 
ocrats or Republicans, who selfishly exercised their political powers 
to their own advantage. 12 

He went on to assure his listeners that in this presidential campaign, 
as in the gubernatorial race of 1910, he "had made no promises to any 
man." At this point a voice from the audience asked, "Not even to Jim 
Smith?" With a laugh Wilson replied, "I never did make any to him. 
My only promise is to the people of the United States." 13 

The Governor finished by saying it was a "Democratic year," be- 
cause the people recognized that "the Democratic party, as it is now 
controlled, as it is now directed, is in position to put itself at the dis- 
posal of the people." 14 

Wilson gratefully returned to Sea Girt. For a few days he was free 
from the ardors of campaigning, his next scheduled address being on 
August 29, and he was happy to have time for his official duties as 
governor and conferences with Democratic leaders from various parts 
of the country. 

Somewhat reluctant to engage in the rough-and-tumble of the hus- 
tings, Wilson went ahead with plans to make only a few more cam- 
paign speeches. To the dismay of his managers, he declared long 
stumping tours were undignified and announced he would make no 
extended tour during the rest of the presidential contest. 15 This un- 
doubtedly would have been a strategic blunder. He would have failed 
to make full use of his unusual oratorical talents and allowed the 

52 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

dynamic Roosevelt, who already had begun to write disparagingly 
of Wilson's speeches as having "mighty little punch in them," to roam 
unchallenged. 16 

But Wilson was soon to become an aggressive campaigner who 
would openly cross swords with Roosevelt. Thanks to Louis D. Bran- 
deis, ardent progressive and authority on monopoly, who arrived at 
Sea Girt on August 28, the Democratic nominee's ideas about mo- 
nopoly were directed into a new channel. The two men sat down to 
lunch at Shadow Lawn and talked for two hours on industrial prob- 
lems. When Wilson rose from the table, he was a staunch believer in 
the plan Brandeis had outlined to him for the destruction of monopoly 
by the regulation of competition. Five days later, in his Labor Day 
speech at Buffalo, he was to advocate it with great force. 17 


Delivered at the Pennsylvania State Grangers 9 Picnic, 
Williams Grove, Pennsylvania, August 29 

THE MORNING AFTER the meeting with Brandeis found Wilson on 
his way to deliver an early afternoon address at Williams Grove, near 
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Leaving Philadelphia at 9:40 A.M. in a 
private car attached to a regular passenger train, he was soon ac- 
knowledging the greetings of crowds at stops along the way. At Lan- 
caster, the first stop out of Philadelphia, he abandoned a recent re- 
solve to deliver no rear-platform speeches, and he spoke again sev- 
eral times during the trip in response to the Pennsylvanians' cordial 
welcome. 2 

His arrival at Williams Grove, shortly after the noon hour, caused 
great excitement. A crowd of twenty thousand farmers along with 
their wives, children, and friends pushed and shoved to get a glimpse 
of the Democratic nominee. But only 2,500 of the immense throng at 
the Grangers' picnic could jam themselves into the auditorium and 
really hear Wilson. 8 Those who did heard a rousing assault on the Re- 
publicans, on Taft, and above all on Roosevelt, who had promised 
in his speech at Providence, Rhode Island that workingmen would 
get "a more equitable division of the prize money" under a Bull Moose 
protective tariff than they had under the Payne-Aldrich Act. 

Williams Grove 53 

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, my neighbors of Pennsyl- 

I used to live in Pennsylvania but Pennsylvania was asleep in 
those days. I am glad to come back and visit you when you have 
been cried wide awake by a knowledge of the circumstances of 
our times. It has been truly said by Mr. Thomas * that the 
Grangers of this country, the men who think in the quiet of the 
farm, the men who live upon the hillside, the men in whom the 
din of the city does not drown out the fruitage of reflection, have 
stood for progressive policies throughout the greater part of our 
lifetime. But if you have stood for them, gentlemen, why have 
they not been put in effect? If you have believed in them, why 
haven't you insisted upon them? If this has been your program, 
what constitutes your weakness and your iinpotency that it should 
not be also the policy of a great government which is yours in 
name? Why should it not be yours in fact? 

I thank God that we have lived to see a time when men are 
beginning to reason upon the facts and not upon party tradition. 
I believe in party tradition, but I believe in it only as it is founded 
upon eternal principles of justice. I have heard a great deal said 
about the fathers of the Republic not only, but a great deal said 
about the fathers of the Republican party. I have heard men speak 
very familiarly in these later days of the great Lincoln and as- 
sume that they are acting in his spirit, when all the world knows 
how open the heart of Lincoln was to the pulsations of every 
other heart that beat among his fellow men. Lincoln's glory was 
not merely that he was a man of the people but that by study, 
learning the lessons of the people's life, he, in the fullness of time, 
lifted himself above the general mass. Standing there with that 
gaunt figure and those quiet eyes, <he> looked away from groups 
of politicians <and> said: "You have forgotten the traditions of 
the Republic. You listen to your own voices. You do not hear the 
unspoken commands, the inaudible whispers, of the public con- 
science. I do not hear you; I hear only the mandate of die people." 

You know that there is a fine story told of the great English 
admiral, Lord Nelson, that when his chief in command signaled 

* Robert H. Thomas, manager of the park at Williams Grove where the Pennsyl- 
vania State Grange was having its picnic, was the first speaker at the exercises in 
the auditorium. 

54 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

him to withdraw from the great fight at [Copenhagen] he put his 
spy glass to his blind eye and said: "I can't see the signals. Keep 
mine flying and have closer action/' There <were> certain 
politicians in command in Mr. Lincoln's day, and they signaled 
him to do the expedient thing and to withdraw from the thinking 
party, or what was [expedient] according to the usual calcula- 
tions of politics, and he put his glass to his blind eye and said, 
"You keep my signal flying to carry out the program of the 

Now we have come again to a time when no politician living 
can tell us what the future is going to be. I remember reading of a 
great day away back in the year 1775 when certain farmers took 
their guns in their hands and gathered in little groups along the 
road that led from Lexington in Massachusetts to the city of 
Boston and there quietly lay in order to intercept British troops 
who had come upon an illicit errand, an errand aimed at the 
liberties of the colonies. And I have often heard, since that day, 
men speak of the embattled farmers at Lexington. Well, there 
are going to be embattled fanners again in the history of this 
country, not with guns in their hands, but with ballots in their 
hands, who are going to come back and claim the sovereignty 
which they share with the rest of the people of the United States. 

There is one thing which I have never done and which I pray 
God I may never do. I have never appealed to one class of persons 
in this country against any other class of persons in this country. 
I am going to say some things that I hope will nearly concern the 
farmers today, but I don't want anything I say to be understood 
as embattling the fanners against any other great legitimate in- 
terest in this country. Because, ladies and gentlemen, our task at 
the present moment is not a task of antagonism, not a task of 
setting classes in contest with one another, but the task of under- 
standing one another so thoroughly that there will be only one 
cause, only one purpose, and men acting together can lift all the 
levels of our political life. 

Now, the fanners of this country are in a very interesting posi- 
tion. You know the political economists! I have been accused of 
being a political economist myself and it has been supposed that 
because I was a political economist there were no red corpuscles 
in my blood. I have known political economists with no red 
corpuscles in their blood. But I am not interested in political 

Williams Grove 55 

economy which doesn't pulse with the great beat that is in the 
heart of all human circumstances and of all human feeling. Now, 
the political economists have sometimes said that it was absurd to 
talk about the consumer in a country where everybody was a 
producer; and that we were all producers and you [couldn't find] 
the consumer. I admit that, if we are worth our salt, we are all 
producers of some sort, but we consume everything that we don't 
produce, and the interesting thing to my mind is that scattered all 
over this country, constituting in the last census more than thirty 
per cent of the whole population of the United States, are the 
farmers who from the economists' point of view are nothing but 
consumers. I say from the economists' point of view because this 
argument is an argument that has regard to protection. I know * 
how many Republicans there are probably within the sound of my 
voice at least those who have been Republicans but are on the 
anxious seat but I want to say that I entirely respect, though I 
do not at all understand, their reverence for the doctrine of pro- 
tection. I haven't any reverence for any economic doctrine what- 
ever except so far as it works. Now, the doctrine of protection is 
worth looking at, if it works. It has been said, and it has been said 
so often that you have believed it, that the doctrine of protection 
was maintained in our policy for the benefit of the farmers of the 
United States. I am perfectly willing to admit that there are low 
duties levied on the products of die farm coming from other 
countries. But who ever heard of the fanner of the United States 
needing to be protected against the farmer of Europe? As a matter 
of fact, nobody ever feared that foreign grains and foreign farm 
products of any kind would come into competition with the farm 
products of the United States for the very good reason that we 
have produced so much that we have fed the world, and the great 
surplus of the farms has gone out at our ports across the great 
waters which separate us from other continents, and men all over 
the world have thanked God for the fertility of the fields of 

The American farmer never has been protected for the very 
good reason that he never needed to be protected, and his grains 
have sold at prices established by the prices which his product 
commanded in foreign markets. That is an economic fact. Very 

* The text in the New York American, Aug. 30, has 1 do not know" instead of 

56 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

well then, your prices are not established by protection; they are 
established by your abundance which you ship to foreign coun- 
tries. In the meantime everything that you use on the farm, 
everything that you wear, a great deal of what you eat but do not 
yourselves produce, including meats, bears a heavy duty, which 
brings about the interesting result that you are paying for the 
wealth of the United States and getting nothing equivalent to it 
so far as the protective tariff is concerned. Now, that hasn't just 
begun to be true. It has always been true, but you have had such 
confidence in some of your leaders that you haven't allowed your- 
selves to think about it at all; because, if you had thought about 
it, you could have thought this thing out in five minutes. 

Mr. Roosevelt made a speech recently in which he used a very 
interesting word. He said that he was in favor of protection, and 
that he had no objection to the "prize money" those were his 
words which the beneficiaries of the tariff receive. I suppose you 
know what prize money is. Nobody ever earned prize money. 
Prize money comes from the sale of what you capture and by 
your capture it isn't yours. Your only title to it is the title of forcible 
taking possession and, when you sell it, then you get your prize 
money. Mr. Roosevelt says that his only objection to the prize 
money is that too much should go to the officers and too little to 
the crew. He says that his purpose will be to see that more of the 
prize money gets into the pay envelope.* Now, there is only one 
pay envelope, so far as the prize money is concerned, and that is 
the pay envelope of the employee of the freebooter who gets the 
prize. Observe I am not speaking of the beneficiaries of the tariff 
as freebooters. I am simply adapting my language to the figure of 
speech which Mr. Roosevelt used, because those who capture 
prizes and get prize money are usually freebooters. 

Now, I am not going to stop to argue that question because 
that is not a fanner's question, what becomes of the prize money, 
but it is a farmer's question whose goods are captured and who 
supplies the prize money and I have a violent suspicion that you, 

* Wilson was evidently referring to the following passage in Roosevelt's speech 
in Infantry Hall at Providence, R. I.: "We stand for a protective tariff, but we wish 
to see the benefits of the protective tariff get into the pay envelope of the wage 
worker. Instead of decreasing we wish to increase the amount of the prize money 
that is rightly due those who work hard in industry; but we stand for a more 
equitable division of the prize money. Moreover, our movement is not only for eco- 
nomic but for ethical betterment." Philadelphia Record, Aug. 17. 

Williams Grove 57 

yourselves, supply a great deal of it. Because, if you look into the 
statistics, you will find that the farmers of other countries buy the 
implements which are indispensable to their work cheaper than 
you do; and they buy those cheaper implements of American 
manufacturers who are able to undersell the foreign manufacturer 
in his own market after paying the freights across the Atlantic. 
You are, therefore, paying the levies, paying the prize money 
which enables these gentlemen to get a foothold in foreign mar- 
kets and there undersell the foreign manufacturer. I am perfectly 
willing to be a philanthropist so far as the foreign farmer is con- 
cerned. I have no grudge against them, but I merely want you to 
reflect upon who is supplying the money that makes this neces- 

Now, there are two theories of government, gentlemen, that 
have been contending with each other ever since government be- 
gan. One of them is the theory that was associated with the name 
of a very great [man], namely, Alexander Hamilton. Alexander 
Hamilton was a great man but in my judgment he was not a great 
American. He did not think in terms of American life. He believed 
that the only people who could understand government, and there- 
fore the only people who were qualified to conduct it were the 
men who had the biggest financial stake in the commercial and 
industrial enterprises of the country; and since the death of Lin- 
coln, since the men who once followed Lincoln have forgotten 
what Lincoln stood for, they have adopted the Hamiltonian idea, 
namely, that the people best qualified to counsel those who con- 
duct this government are the people who have the biggest indus- 
trial enterprises. They believe that the people of the United States 
should have government conducted for them but not by them. 
They believe that they should be the wards of those who benef- 
icently provide prosperity for them, but they would tremble to 
think of the people of the United States undertaking to conduct 
their own affairs. In other words, they believe in government by 
trustees; they believe in government by those men who stand at 
the center of industrial enterprise and supply the largest amount 
of campaign money. 

You may say, gentlemen, these things have been open and 
notorious for years. I never have believed, no thinking man has 

* The Swem Notes indicate that Wilson at this point said "American" when he 
meant to say "man." Cf . Wilson, New Freedom, p. 55. 

58 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

ever believed, that the people of the great state of Pennsylvania 
approved of the things that were notoriously done by the leaders, 
the political leaders, of the great state of Pennsylvania. The char- 
acter of the people of Pennslyvania and the character of their 
government have been utterly unlike one another, and yet is it 
not true that you are not surprised by recent revelations? Is it not 
true that again and again you hear what [Z] heard today a sort 
of cynical laugh when Mr. Palmer alluded to these things? * It 
was not the laugh of surprise. It was the laugh of familiarity. In 
other words, you have sat by while the trustees did what they 
pleased with the government of this celebrated, this rich, this 
powerful, this enlightened commonwealth. 

I know what the people of New Jersey are. They are only across 
the Delaware from you. I have occasion, and have had occasion 
ever since I was a young man, to sample Pennsylvania; and I know 
that Pennsylvania samples like any other honest part of the 
country, but Pennsylvania has not "humped" herself recently. 
And Pennsylvania has sat by inactive while that kind of govern- 
ment has been carried on with the apparent acquiescence of her 
own voters. What happened in the Congress which has just ad- 
journed? The House of Representatives, with the acquiescence of 
a Senate which is not Democratic, passed what was known as the 
farmers' free list bill. What did that do? It put agricultural imple- 
ments on the free list. It put lumber on the free list, and shingles 
on the free list, and meat on the free list, and salt on the free list, 
and bagging and ties for the southern farmer, who needs the bag- 
ging and the ties for his cotton. And what happened to it? It was 
vetoed by the President because let me say parenthetically that 
I have a great personal respect for Mr. Taft, but Mr. Taf t has not 
given himself those wide connections of sympathy which enable a 
man to understand the demands of the people of the United States 
and Mr. Taft vetoed that free list because, consciously or un- 
consciously, he represents not the people of the United States but 
those who have held their power in trust for their own purposes. 

You hear of corrupt influences, gentlemen. You hear of those 
corrupt influences being exerted here, there, everywhere that they 
can be exerted. I would be ashamed if I said things of one party 

* U. S. Representative A. Mitchell Palmer of Pennsylvania, later attorney general 
during Wilson's second administration, had introduced the Democratic nominee to 
the audience in the Williams Grove auditorium. 

Williams Grove 59 

that I was not willing to say of the other, if it was guilty. I am 
willing to admit that in certain instances, in certain places among 
other places in the state of New Jersey the leaders, a little, small 
handful, but nevertheless the leaders of the Democratic party, 
have had alliance with these corrupt influences; and the worst 
machine you can get up against is not a machine that is altogether 
Republican or altogether Democratic but a machine that is made 
up of both of them and that works together at every turn of public 
affairs. You have got them in Pennsylvania and we have got them 
in a great many parts of the United States, or we have had them; 
but <what> I want to call your attention to is that the men that 
conduct those machines are a small fraction of the party that they 
pretend to represent, and that the men who exercise corrupt 
influences upon them are a small fraction of the businessmen of 
the United States. What we are banding together to fight against 
is not a party, is not a great body of citizens, but a little coterie, a 
group of men here and there, a few men who subsist by deceiving 
us and cannot subsist a moment after they cease to deceive us. 

I had occasion to test the power of that little group in the state 
of New Jersey, and I had the satisfaction of discovering that I had 
been right in supposing that it didn't have any power at all. It 
looked as if it were entrenched in a fortress; it looked as if the 
portholes, as if the embrasures of that fortress, showed the muz- 
zles of guns; but [as] I told my good fellow citizens in the [city 
of Newark], all they had to do was to rest a little weight upon it 
and they would find that the whole thing was a fabric of card- 
board; that it was a piece of stage property. And just so soon as 
the audience got ready to look behind the scenes, they would see 
that the army that had been marching across consisted of a single 
company that had come in one wing and around and out in the 
other wing, and could have marched a procession which would 
have lasted twenty-four hours. You don't need much more than 
twenty-four men to do the trick. So it is with all these impostors, 
so it is with all these means by which they impose upon our cre- 
dulity. These crooked men are powerful only in proportion as we 
are susceptible of being made dupes of. Their capital is our igno- 
rance and our credulity. 

Now, I have seen something that I have waited all my life to 
see I have seen a rising of the country. I have seen men decline 
any longer to be imposed upon. I have seen people come to the 

60 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

point where they said: "It doesn't make a peppercorn's difference 
to me what party I have voted with. I am going to pick out the 
men I want and the policies I want, and let the label take care 
of itself. I don't find any great difference between my table of 
contents and the table of contents of those who have voted with 
the Republican party and are very much dissatisfied with the way 
in which the Republican party has rewarded their company. They 
want the same things that I want, and I don't know anything un- 
der God's heaven to prevent our getting together. We want the 
same things. We have the same faith in the old traditions of the 
American people, and we have made up our minds that we are 
going now to have the reality instead of the shadow." [Why] is 
it that the minority are on the inside and that we are on the out- 
side? Don't you think it is about time to move in? I don't want to 
crowd them out. I am willing to give them a roof over their 
heads, but they have more room now than they need; and there is 
plenty of room for all of us, not only standing room, but sitting 
room and sleeping room and living room. There is room in which 
to get together and sit down like a household and discuss our 
own affairs like honest and candid men and look one another in 
the eyes and say, "Men and brethren, what is it that we ought to 
do, and where can we find honest and fearless men who will lead 

The chairman of the meeting, Mr. Creasy,* kindly referred to 
me as the next President of the United States. Now, I don't know 
whether I am to be or not, but I do know this: that I am going to 
have just as much fun one way as the other. I would like to have 
the fighting advantage that that great office would give me, but 
having been born of a fighting breed, I don't have to have the 
office to do the fighting. I have enlisted for life, and I don't have 
to be an officer. I can shoot just as straight as a private. Moreover, 
I was born of a talkative race, and the only thing necessary in our 
day is to bring the facts out in the open and talk about them 
frankly. That is an easy way to win, provided you take pains to 
find out what the facts are. And there is no trouble about that 

I remember telling the people in New Jersey when I was solicit- 
ing their suffrages for the office of governor that I wouldn't know 
what I would be able to do when I got in there except in one 

William T. Creasy, master of the Pennsylvania State Grange. 

Williams Grove 61 

particular. I said, "Only let me inside and 111 tell you everything 
that is going on in there." And so when it is spoken of as if it re- 
quired courage I don't know where it requires any courage. 
Whom * are you afraid of? Courage! Do you suppose if a great 
body of men like this would say, "We will back you up wherever 
you go," it would take any courage to walk in front of them? The 
only courage it would take would be not to run if they said, "We 
will give you five minutes to get out of this." But when a great 
people is ready to mass behind the man and say, "Godspeed to 
you, we will stand behind you to the last ditch," then there aren't 
any ditches to stand behind. The country is all leveled before you 
if you will only all turn in one direction and, <with> a single 
impulse of heart and conscience, make up your minds that you 
are going to [live] t the ideals of America and translate them 
from myth to reality. 


Delivered outside the Williams Grove Auditorium, August 29 

ON LEAVING the Williams Grove Auditorium, Wilson found his path 
blocked by a crowd of several thousand persons waiting for his reap- 
pearance. To these he delivered a ten-minute impromptu talk that is 
interesting for its interpretation of the President's role as an "attorney" 
for the people and the amusing anecdote about Lincoln's visit to the 

Ladies and gentlemen: 

I just made a speech inside and I don't know how to repeat it 
without having a very bad taste in my own mouth. All I can say 
out here is that it gives me the deepest pleasure to see this great 
greeting to independence at Williams Grove. 

* The Swem Notes indicate that Wilson inadvertently said "who" at this point, 
f Mr. Swem settled the editor's doubts about the shorthand at this point by read- 
fag this as "live." The Trenton True American, Aug. 30, has "recover" in its text. 

62 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

I have always heard of these great gatherings at Williams 
Grove; I have always been a country lad myself, at least I was 
a lad once, and I have always felt that the impulses of the country 
were the impulses that steady the processes of our politics. For I 
have always felt that the men who live in the quiet of our rural 
districts were the men who had time to think, and that the rest 
of us sometimes didn't have time to think. If you were shaking 
hands with people all day long as I have been doing in recent 
weeks, you would forget how to think except to think of the very 
great cordiality, the very generous feeling, the very generous im- 
pulse, with which the people of the United States crowd about a 
man who is in his own humble way trying to put himself at their 
service for that is all that politics amounts to. You may discuss 
one policy or another policy, but the only question you are really 
discussing is what is for the interest of all of us, and how are we 
going to get together and insist upon it and agree upon it and 
find men who will carry it out. Because you have not been un- 
aware, my fellow citizens, that the government of the United 
States in recent years has <not > been administered by the com- 
mon counsel of the people of the United States. You know just 
as well as I do it is no indictment against anybody; it is a real 
statement of facts that the people of the United States have 
stood outside and looked on at their own government, and that all 
they have had to determine in past years has been which crowd 
they would look on at; whether they would look on at this little 
group or that little group which had managed to get control of 
affairs in its hands. 

Have you ever heard, for example, of any hearing of any great 
committee of the Congress of the United States in which the peo- 
ple of the United States as a whole were represented except, it 
may be, by the congressmen themselves? The men who appear at 
those meetings in order to argue for this schedule in the tariff or 
against that schedule in the tariff, for this measure or against that 
measure, are men who represent special interests. They may rep- 
resent them very honestly, they may intend no wrong to their 
fellow citizens, but they are speaking from the point of view 
always of a small portion of the population of the United States; 
and I have sometimes wondered why men, particularly men of 
means, men who didn't have to work for their living, shouldn't 
constitute themselves attorneys for the people, and every time a 
hearing was held before a committee of Congress should not then 

WitUams Grove 53 

go and ask: "Gentlemen, in considering all these things suppose 
you consider the whole country. Suppose you consider the citizens 
of the United States. That is what politics is for." 

Now, the only thing that gives the President of the United States 
his great power is not the powers conferred upon him by the 
Constitution, not the powers delegated to him by Congress in 
statute, but the fact that he is the only federal officer who is voted 
for by all the people of the United States. Every congressman, 
every senator, represents only a certain part, a certain geographi- 
cal division of the people of the United States, and, therefore, it 
is impossible, without political machinery of the wrong sort, to 
put a man into the White House unless the people believe, at any 
rate, [that he is the attorney] for them. 

Now, Mr. Palmer was kind enough to introduce me as the next 
President of the United States. I don't know whether I am going 
to be or not. That rests with you and men like <you> all over 
the United States. But I do know this that whether in high posi- 
tion or in low position or in no office at all, from this time on I 
am going to be one of the attorneys for the people. Whether by 
writing or by speaking or by disturbing the quiet of those who are 
against us in one way or another, I am going to keep on the job. 
Because the duty of every man who is opposed to these things is 
to make the men engaged in them just as uncomfortable as pos- 
sible, make it necessary that they should lie awake at night trying 
to see how they will fool the people the next day. I mean to take 
part in the handsome enterprise of depriving them of as much 
sleep as possible because you know I was a schoolmaster. Now, 
a schoolmaster is a man who is trained to use his brains to find out 
as much about things as he can and then tell everybody every- 
thing he knows. That is exactly the role which I accept in politics. 
I want to get inside so that I can find out more things than you 
can find outside. But whether I find them out outside or inside, 
I am going to tell everybody everything about it.* 

And so I conceive our task now to be merely a task of recover- 
ing what belongs to us the government of the United States. We 
ought to lay aside in this day of reassortment every prejudice and 
gather together according to our thinking and not according to 

* In the paragraphs omitted by the editor, Wilson inveighed against machine 
politics, particularly against the Republican machine in Pennsylvania, and recom- 
mended publicity as an antidote to political corruption. 

64 Part 2. Opening the Campaign 

our labels and former associates. Because we are being reasserted. 

I remember a very amusing story, one of the innumerable amus- 
ing stories told by our great President, Mr. Lincoln. He went on 
board that then new-fangled machine of war known as the 
Monitor, that war vessel that somebody described as a sink with 
a round box on it. And in order to get into this round box or to 
return, it was necessary to go down into the hold of the vessel 
and then up through a circular aperture in the flooring in the 
deck. Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward and Mr. David Davis of Illi- 
nois attempted to get into the turret. Mr. Lincoln got in all right 
because he was narrow the right way. Mr. Seward got in all right. 
But when Mr. Davis tried to get in, he took in his belt; and Mr. 
Lincoln looked down on him and said, "Davis, you are what we 
call merchantable out in Illinois." He said, "What do you mean?" 
"Why," he said, "out in Illinois we have a hole in the counter, a 
round hole; and if an egg will go through the hole, it isn't mer- 
chantable. But if it won't go through, it is merchantable." 

In other words, in those days they standardized their eggs, and 
they did not buy the little ones. Now, I say what we are moving 
ourselves over for politically is this we want to standardize 
things; we want to say: "Are you for running this government in 
the interest of everybody or only in the interest of somebody? If 
you are in the interest of somebody, stand on that side." (I delib- 
erately chose the left side where the goats go. ) "But if you are 
running it for the interests of everybody, stand over on this side. 
But let no man sneak away and not get counted and classified." 

Now choose one, for you know I am not saying I am not set- 
ting myself up as the only man who knows how to lead in this 
great fight that would be ridiculous but I am saying choose 
according to this standard: Does the man mean the right thing? 
Has he shown by his actions in the past that he knows how to do 
it and will he do it if < he > is given the chance? Make your selec- 
tions by that standard and forget all about former political asso- 

I must say that Pennsylvania has shown that she knows how to 
do that. There has been the most interesting miscellany and 
mix-up of politics in Pennsylvania that I know of anywhere and it 
is wholesome. It means that Pennsylvania had found herself in a 
crust, and now she is breaking the crust and is about to spread 
her wings in the free air of heaven and say, "Thank God I have 

Allentown, Pennsylvania 05 

found myself at last, and no man is going to impose on me any 
longer." Isn't it about time that a great, free, enlightened, rich 
commonwealth like the state of Pennsylvania should say: "Once 
and for all, we have rejected the things which have been [synony- 
mous] with our name in the politics of this country; we have 
asserted ourselves; we no longer follow any man whom any Penn- 
sylvanian need be ashamed to acknowledge as his leader at home 
or abroad." 


Delivered August 29 

JOURNEYING HOMEWARD towards Sea Girt, Wilson made brief rear- 
platform talks to crowds at Lebanon, Reading, Allentown. His re- 
marks at Allentown have particular significance for their emphasis on 
"social justice," about which he had said little in his previous cam- 
paign speeches. 

A government is intended to serve the people that live under 
it. Now, there are a great many ways in which to serve the people 
that live under it, and our government has neglected some of 
those ways. We are only just now beginning to learn how to take 
care of our people, to prevent accidents, where accidents are ob- 
viously apt to occur in a great many employments, to prevent un- 
reasonable hours of labor, to prevent women [from] being over- 
worked, to prevent young children from being worked at all. 
There are a score of things which nowadays we regard as the 
function of the government, but government has been neglectful 
of these things because it has been taking care of the particular 
groups of people and not thinking of the life of the people as a 
whole. And now the American people, high and wide, are looking 
directly at the government, are putting away all notions about it. 


Campaigning in New York 


Delivered in Brauns Park, Buffalo, New York, September 2 

Two DAYS of rest at Shadow Lawn and Wilson was off again, this 
time to Buffalo, New York, arriving there in a special car at 10:00 A.M. 
on Labor Day, September 2.* From that moment until his departure for 
Trenton at 11:10 that evening he was in a whirl of political activities: 
handshaking, receiving delegations, conferring with party leaders. He 
gave five short talks to small audiences, and two major addresses: the 
famous Labor Day speech, delivered during the early afternoon under 
the auspices of the United Trades and Labor Council to an audience 
mainly of workingmen and their families gathered in Braim's Park for 
a picnic, and the evening address at the Broadway Arsenal to a crowd 
of five thousand enthusiastic Democrats. 2 

The first event in this crowded schedule was a large reception in 
the Lafayette Hotel, from which he absented himself briefly to say a 
few words to a convention of the Catholic Young Men's National 
Union at the Broezel Hotel, returning in time to act as peacemaker be- 
tween two factions of local Democratic leaders who had for a long time 
been warring with each other. This done, he explained to a committee of 
Polish-Americans that a certain passage in his History of the American 
People dealing with immigration was not intended to reflect in a 
derogatory way upon people of Polish, Hungarian, or Italian origin. 8 

At one o'clock Wilson attended a luncheon given in his honor by 
Norman E. Mack, former Democratic National Chairman, who had 
taken care to give the affair a nonpartisan appearance by inviting 
both regular and Progressive Republicans, as well as Democrats. This 
of course meant another short, informal speech, which he delivered 
as the guests stood with coffee cups in their hands. 4 

Now it was time to motor, in company with other Democrats, to 
the Labor Day picnic at Braun's Park. He arrived there at 2:30 P.M. 
As his car rolled to a stop, a little girl stepped forward and presented 

* On August 30 Wilson had delivered a nonpolitical speech at the Momnouth 
County Fair, Red Bank, N.J. For text of this speech see ICF*s transcript of Swem 
Notes, BP, LC. 

70 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

him with a bouquet of roses. He responded by lifting her up and kiss- 
ing her. He took the roses to the speaker's stand. 5 

When Louis W. Fuhrmann, mayor of Buffalo, introduced the can- 
didate, there were only a few hundred listeners present, for the morn- 


A Favorable View of Wilson. From Pittsburgh Post 

ing had been rainy and cloudy. But the moment Wilson started to 
speak the sun came out, and so did the people. According to the Buf- 
falo Express (Republican), the audience numbered three thousand 
at the close of the speech; the New York Times (Independent Demo- 
cratic) said ten thousand. 

Labor Day Speech 71 

Dr. Wilson's Cure for Workingmen's 





An Unfavorable View of Wilson. From Kansas City Journal 

72 Part 3. Campaigning in New Yorfc 

This Labor Day speech, delivered extemporaneously but following 
the advance text in thought, marked a turning point in Wilson's cam- 
paign for the Presidency. Perhaps the new vigor of his speaking de- 
rived from the confidence that came to him in advocating a new and 
hopeful approach to the trust problem, the plan Brandeis had outlined 
to him a few days before at Sea Girt, calling for government regula- 
tion of competition. Though the Democratic nominee did not attempt 
to give the details of the plan, and in fact did not mention its source, 
he set forth its general principles in strong, eloquent language, argu- 
ing that the regulation of competition was the road to freedom, 
whereas Roosevelt's proposal to regulate monopoly would lead only to 
paternalism and strengthen the forces of special privilege. It was a 
vigorous, forthright, and, in many respects, a significant speech. 

Mr. Chairman and fellow citizens: 

I feel that it is an honor and a privilege to address an audience 
like this and yet I feel, more than the honor of the occasion, the 
responsibility of it. Because I have learned from occupying a 
responsible executive position that the thing that grips a man 
most is what he promised the people that he would attempt be- 
fore he was elected 

When I was engaged in the campaign before my election as 
governor of New Jersey, I made a good many promises. And I 
think that a great many people who heard me supposed that it 
was the usual thing that these promises were made in order to 
get votes, and that the man who made them did not feel the full 
responsibility of keeping them after he was elected. I don't know 
what the reason is, perhaps because I went into politics rather late 
in life, but I felt that every promise I made in that campaign I 
was bound to try to fulfill. No man can promise more than that he 
will do his best. I had not tried my hand at politics. I did not 
know, and I told my friends in New Jersey that I did not know, 
whether I could bring these things to pass or not, but I did tell 
them that there was one thing I did know: that I would make 
everybody very uncomfortable if these things were not done. And 
I did not except the members of my own party. I promised to 
make the men of the Democratic party, as well as the men of the 
Republican party, very uncomfortable if the promises of the cam- 
paign were not fulfilled; and it was more the dread of discomfort 
than anything else that brought about the passage of the bills 

Labor Day Speech 73 

which constituted one of the most extraordinary programs of re- 
form that modern times has seen in a single state. I don't claim 
any credit for that. I speak of it in order to point a moral which 
seems to me the most important moral in politics. 

The only strength I had was that I was known to be in the cir- 
cumstances the spokesman of the people of New Jersey. And the 
only reason I was dreaded was not that I had offices to give away 
for I would not condescend to give an office in order to accom- 
plish a political end but because it was known that all I had to 
do was to ask the people of New Jersey what they thought and 
they would say what they thought. 

I remember that I promised that if any one of the most impor- 
tant bills slumbered too long in committee, I would go down into 
the [county] from which the chairman of the committee came and 
suggest to the committee to send for the chairman and ask him 
at a public meeting why that bill wasn't reported out. And I 
offered, which I think was perfectly sportsmanlike, to be present 
and debate the matter with him if he desired. And the interesting 
thing was that I didn't have to carry out the suggestion. It was all 
like David Crockett's coon. You remember the famous coon who 
is said to have remarked when he saw that David * had a bead on 
him, "Don't shoot, Mr. Crockett, I'll come down." Well, I didn't 
have to shoot, not because I was a formidable shot, but because 
it was known that I was uttering the desires that had been enter- 
tained to no effect by the people of New Jersey for half a genera- 

Why is it that the people of this country are in danger of being 
discontented with the parties that have pretended to serve them? 
It [is] t because in too many instances their promises were not 
matched by their performances and men began to say to them- 
selves, "What is the use <of> going to the polls and voting? 
Nothing happens after the election." Is there any man within the 
hearing of my voice who can challenge the statement that any 
party that has forfeited the public confidence, has forfeited it by 
its own nonperformance. 

Very well then, when I speak to you today, I want you to regard 

* The Swem Notes indicate that Wilson said "David" but the text in the Buffalo 
Courier has "Davy." 

f The Swem Notes have "was" but the sentence demands the use of the present 

74 fart 3. Campaigning in New York 

me as a man who is talking business. I want in the first place to 
say that I shall be scrupulous to be fair to those with whom I am 
in opposition. Because there is a great deal to be said for the 
programs of hopeful men who intend to do things even if they 
haven't struck upon the right way to do them. And we ought not 
to divorce ourselves in sympathy with men who want the right 
thing because we do not think they have found the way to do 

I want to speak upon this occasion, of course, on the interests 
of the workingman, of the wage earner, not because I regard the 
wage earners of this country as a special class, for they are not 
After you have made a catalogue of the wage earners of this coun- 
try, how many of us are left? The wage earners of this country, 
in the broad sense, constitute the country. And the most fatal thing 
that we can do in politics is to imagine that we belong to a special 
class, and that we have an interest which isn't the interest of the 
whole community. Half of the difficulties, half of the injustices of 
our politics have been due to the fact that men regarded them- 
selves as having separate interests which they must serve even 
though other men were done a great disservice by their promoting 

We are not afraid of those who pursue legitimate pursuits pro- 
vided they link those pursuits in at every turn with the interest 
of the community as a whole; and no man can conduct a legiti- 
mate business, if he conducts it in the interest of a single class. I 
want, therefore, to look at the nation as a whole today. I would 
like always to look at it as a whole, not divide it up into sections 
and classes, but I want particularly to discuss with you today the 
things which interest the wage earner. That is merely looking 
at the country as a whole from one angle, from one point of view, 
to which for the time being we will confine ourselves. 

I want as a means of illustration, not as a means of contest, to 
use the platform of the third party as the means of expounding 
what I have to say today. I want you to read that platform very 
carefully, and I want to call your attention to the fact that it really 
consists of two parts. In one part of it, it declares the sympathy 
of the party with a certain great program of social reform, and 
promises that all the influence of that party, of the members of 
that party, will be used for the promotion of that program of social 
reform. In the other part, it itself lays down a method of proce- 

Labor Day Speech 75 

dure, and what I want you to soberly consider is whether the 
method of procedure is a suitable way of laying the foundations 
for the realization of that social program with regard to the 
social program, the betterment of the condition of men in this 
occupation and the other, the protection of women, the shielding 
of children, the bringing about of social justice here, there, and 
elsewhere. With that program who can differ in his heart, who 
can divorce himself in sympathy from the great project of ad- 
vancing the interests of human beings, wherever it is possible to 
advance them? * 

But there is a central method, a central purpose, in that plat- 
form from which I very seriously dissent. I am a Democrat as 
distinguished from a Republican because I believe (and I think 
that it is generally believed) that the leaders of the Republican 
party for I always distinguish them from the great body of the 
Republican voters who have been misled by them I say not the 
Republican party, but the leaders of the Republican party have 
allowed themselves to become so tied up in alliances with special 
interests that they are not free to serve us all. And that the im- 
mediate business, if you are to have any kind of reform at all, is 
to set your government free, is to break it away from the partner- 
ships and alliances and understandings and [purchases] f which 
have made it impossible for it to look at the country as a whole 
and made it necessary to serve special interests one at a time. 
Until that has been done, no program of social reform is possible 
because a program of social reform depends upon universal sym- 
pathy, universal justice, universal cooperation. It depends upon 
our understanding one another and serving one another. 

What is this program? What is the program of the third party 
with regard to the disentanglement of the government? Mr. 
Roosevelt has said, and up to a certain point I sympathize with 
him, that he does not object, for example, to the system of protec- 

* Speaking before the Missouri state convention of the Progressive Republican 
party, Roosevelt questioned the Democrats' sympathy for the social aims of the Bull 
Moose party by asking why there was nothing in the Democratic platform "at least 
remotely resembling" the Progressive program. As for the tariff question, the former 
President prophesied that adoption of "Mr. Wilson's free trade policy or tariff for 
revenue only policy" would bring "widespread disaster" to American life. See re- 
port of Roosevelt's speech in Philadelphia North American, Sept. 4. 

f Although the use of "purchases" in this context is not clear, it appears in texts 
in the Buffalo Express, Sept 3; Buffalo Courier, Sept. 3; and in the Swem Notes. 
Mrs. Fuller's transcript has "prejudices," the word Wilson may have intended to use. 

76 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

tion except in this circumstance -that it has <not> * inured to 
the benefit of the workingman of this country. It is very interest- 
ing to have him admit that because the leaders of the Republican 
party have been time out of mind putting this bluff up on you 
men that the protective policy was for your sake, and I would like 
to know what you ever got out of it that you didn't get out of the 
better effort of organized labor. I have yet to learn of any instance 
where you got anything without going and taking it. And the 
process of our society instead of being a process of peace has 
sometimes too much resembled a process of war because men felt 
obliged to go and insist in organized masses upon getting the jus- 
tice which they couldn't get any other way. 

It is interesting, therefore, to have Mr. Roosevelt admit that 
not enough of the "prize money," as he frankly calls it, has gone 
into the pay envelope. He admits that not enough of the money 
has gone into the envelope. I wish it were not prize money, be- 
cause dividing up prize money and dividing up earnings are two 
very different things. And it is very much simpler to divide up 
earnings than to divide up prize money, because the money is 
prize money for the [reason] that a limited number of men banded 
themselves together and got it from the Ways and Means Com- 
mittee of the House and the Finance Committee of the Senate, 
and we paid the bills. 

But Mr. Roosevelt says that his [object] will be to see that a 
larger proportion gets into the pay envelope. And how does he 
propose to do it? (For I am here not to make a speech; I am here 
to argue this thing with you gentlemen. ) How does he propose to 
do it? I don't find any suggestion anywhere in that platform of the 
way in which he is going to do it, except in one plank. One plank 
says that the party will favor a minimum wage for women; and 
then it goes on to say by a minimum wage it means a living wage, 
enough to live on. 

I am going to assume, for the sake of argument, that it proposed 
more than that, that it proposed to get a minimum wage for every- 
body, men as well as women; and I want to call your attention to 
the fact that just as soon as a minimum wage is established by 
law, the temptation of every employer in the United States will 
be to bring his wages down as close to that minimum as he dares, 
because you can't strike against the government of the United 

* The context demands "not." Cf. Ibid. 

Labor Day Speech 77 

States. You can't strike against what is in the law. You can strike 
against what is in your agreement with your employer, but if 
underneath that agreement there is the steel and the adamant of 
federal law, you can't tamper with that foundation. And who is 
going to pay these wages? You know that the great difficulty about 
wages, one of the great difficulties about wages now, is that the 
control of industry is getting into fewer and fewer hands. And 
that, therefore, a smaller and smaller number of men are able to 
determine what wages shall be. In other words, one of the en- 
tanglements of our government is that we are dealing not with a 
community in which men may take their own choice of what they 
shall do, but in a community whose industry is very largely gov- 
erned by great combinations of capital in the hands of a compara- 
tively small number of men; that, in other words, we are in the 
hands, in many industries, of monopoly itself. And the only way 
in which the workingman can gain more wages is by getting 
them from the monopoly. 

Very well then, what does this platform propose to do? Break 
up the monopolies? Not at all. It proposes to legalize them. It says 
in effect: You can't break them up, the only thing you can do is 
to put them in charge of the federal government. It proposes that 
they shall be adopted and regulated. And that looks to me like a 
consummation of the partnership between monopoly and govern- 
ment. Because, when once the government regulates monopoly, 
then monopoly will have to see to it that it regulates the govern- 
ment. This is a [beautiful] circle of change. 

We now complain that the men who control these monopolies 
control the government, and it is in turn proposed that the gov- 
ernment should control them. I am perfectly willing to be con- 
trolled if it is I, myself, who control me. If this partnership can be 
continued, then this control can be manipulated and adjusted to 
its own pleasure. Therefore, I want to call your attention to this 
fact that these great combined industries have been more inimical 
to organized labor than any other class of employers in the United 
States. Is not that so? 

These monopolies that the government, it is proposed, should 
adopt are the men who have made your independent action most 
difficult. They have made it most difficult that you should take 
care of yourselves; and let me tell you that the old adage that God 
takes care of those who take care of themselves is not gone out of 

78 Part 8. Campaigning in New Yorfc 

date. No federal legislation can change that thing. The minute 
you are taken care of by the government you are wards, not inde- 
pendent men. And the minute they are legalized by the govern- 
ment, they are protgs and not monopolies. They are the guard- 
ians and you are the wards. Do you want to be taken care of by 
a combination of the government and the monopolies? [A voice 
from the audience: "No"] * Because the workingmen of this 
country are perfectly aware that they sell their commodity, that is 
to say labor, in a perfectly open market. There is free trade in 
labor in the United States. The laboring men of all the world are 
free to come and offer their labor here and you are similarly free 
to go and offer your labor in most parts of the world. And the 
world demand is what establishes for the most part the rate of 
wages, at the same time that these gentlemen who are paying 
the wages in a free-trade market are protected by an unfree mar- 
ket against the competition that would make them [bid] higher 
because [bid] in competition and not [bid] t under protection. 
If I am obliged to refrain from going into a particular industry 
by reason of the combination that already exists in it, I can't be- 
come an employer of labor, and I can't compete with these gentle- 
men for the employment of labor. And the whole business of the 
level of wages is artificially and arbitrarily determined. 

Now, I say, gentlemen, that a party that proposes that program 
cannot, if it carries out that program, be forwarding these other 
industrial purposes of social regeneration, because they have crys- 
tallized, they have hardened, they have narrowed the government 
which is to be the source of this thing. After all this is done, who 
is to guarantee to us that the government is to be pitiful, that the 
government is to be righteous, that the government is to be just? 
Nothing will then control the power of the government except 
open revolt, and God forbid that we should bring about a state of 
politics in which open revolt should be substituted for the ballot 

I believe that the greatest force for peace, the greatest force 

* The interruption from the audience is indicated in the text in Buffalo Express, 
Sept. 3. 

f Mrs. Fuller's transcript has "pay" and "paid" instead of the bracketed words, 
but the shorthand outlines in the Swem Notes appear to be "bid," which also ap- 
pears in the texts in Buffalo Courier, Sept. 3, 1912; Buffalo Express, Sept. 3. 

Labor Day Speech 79 

for righteousness, the greatest force for the elevation of mankind, 
is organized opinion, is the thinking of men, is the great force 
which is in the soul of men, and I want men to breathe a free and 
pure air. And I know that these monopolies are so many cars of 
juggernaut which are in our very sight being driven over men in 
such ways as to crush their life out of them. And I don't look 
forward with pleasure to the time when the juggernauts are li- 
censed. I don't look forward with pleasure to the time when the 
juggernauts are driven by commissioners of the United States. I 
am willing to license automobiles, but not juggernauts, because if 
any man ever dares take a joy ride in one of diem, I would like to 
know what is to become of the rest of us; because the road isn't 
wide enough for us to get out of the way. We would have to take 
to the woods and then set the woods afire. I am speaking partly 
in pleasantry but underneath, gentlemen, there is a very solemn 
sense in my mind that we are standing at a critical turning point 
in our [choice]. 

Now you say on the other hand, what do the Democrats propose 
to do? I want to call your attention to the fact that those who 
wish to support these monopolies by adopting them under the 
regulation of the government of the United States are the very 
men who cry out that competition is destructive. They ought to 
know because it is competition as they conducted it that de- 
stroyed our economic freedom. They are certainly experts in 
destructive competition. And the purpose of the Democratic lead- 
ers is this: not to legislate competition into existence again 
because statutes can't make men do things but to regulate com- 

What has created these monopolies? Unregulated competition. 
It has permitted these men to do anything that they chose to do to 
squeeze their rivals out and to crush their rivals to the earth. We 
know the processes by which they have done these things. We 
can prevent those processes by remedial legislation, and that 
remedial legislation will so restrict the wrong use of competition 
that the right use of competition will destroy monopoly. In other 
words, ours is a program of liberty and theirs is a program of reg- 
ulation. Ours is a program by which we find we know the wrongs 
that have been committed and we can stop those wrongs. And 
we are not going to adopt into the governmental family the men 

80 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

who forward the wrongs and license them to do the whole busi- 
ness of the country.* 

I want you men to grasp the point because I want to say to you 
right now the program that I propose doesn't look quite as much 
like acting as a Providence for you as the other program looks. But 
I want to frankly say to you that I am not big enough to play 
Providence, and my objection to the other program is that I don't 
believe that there is any other man that is big enough to play 
Providence. I have never known any body of men, any small body 
of men, that understood the United States. And the only way the 
United States is ever going to be taken care of is by having the 
voice of all the men in it constantly clamorous for the recognition 
of what is justice as they see life. A little group of men sitting 
every day in Washington City is not going to have a vision of your 

* It is interesting to compare this part of Wilson's speech, which reflects the in- 
fluence on him of Brandeis, with the following extract from the advance text: "It is 
like coming out of a close and stifling air into the open, where we can breathe fully 
again and see the free spaces of the heavens above us, to turn away from such a 
program, the identical program suggested to committees of Congress by Mr. Gary 
and Mr. Perkins, to the proposals with which the great Democratic thinkers of the 
country offset and oppose such a platform. Democratic leaders turn away from any 
plan to legalize monopoly and give a Federal commission leave to say how much of 
it there should be, because they know exactly what that would mean. What they 
propose is the restoration of freedom. What we need is the regulation of competi- 
tion and the prosecution of what has created monopoly. When you have regulated 
it, you have in effect restored it. We are not opposed to regulation, we are not op- 
posed to commissions even, if they be necessary instruments of administrative regu- 
lation; but we know that unrestrained, unrestricted competition is the very thing 
that has created monopoly." Philadelphia Record, Sept. 3. This quotation appears, 
with only minor differences, in the pamphlet, Got?. Wilsons Labor Day Speech, and 
differs only slightly from the advance text (indicated as such) in the Swcm Notes, 
BP, LC. The quotation shows that Wilson had already accepted Brandeis' sugges- 
tion that competition might be regulated by an administrative commission. Arthur S. 
Link indicates that Wilson did not approve this part of the Brandeis plan until later 
in September. Link, Wilson, p. 509. It is true that Wilson did not advocate estab- 
lishment of a federal administrative commission in his extemporaneous Labor Day 
speech. Not until his speech at New Haven, on September 25, did he state clearly 
the difference between the administrative commission which he advocated and the 
federal commission proposed by Roosevelt to regulate monopoly. See below, pp. 
264-5. Roosevelt's comment on Wilson's advocacy at Buffalo of the regulation of 
competition was that it would "regulate competition by 'dissolving' trusts in the way 
the Standard Oil and Tobacco trusts were dissolved. You know the prayer in Wall 
Street now is: 'Give us another dissolution.'" And he went on to charge: "The 
enormous majority of Wall Street men guilty of the obnoxious practices in connec- 
tion with trusts has given up the hope of electing Mr. Taft, and [is] now supporting 
Mr. Wilson, for they dread us as their only real foes." See text of Roosevelt's speech 
in Helena, Montana, in New Yorfc American, Sept. 8. 

Labor Day Speech 81 

lives as a whole. You alone know what your lives are. I say, there- 
fore, take the shackles off of American industry, the shackles of 
monopoly, and see it grow into manhood, see it grow out of the 
enshackled childishness into robust manliness, men being able to 
take care of themselves, and reassert the great power of American 

These are the ancient principles of government the world over. 
For when in the history of labor, here in this country or in any 
other, did the government present its citizens with freedom and 
with justice? When has there been any fight for liberty that wasn't 
a fight against this very thing, the accumulation of regulative 
power in the hands of a few persons? I in my time have read a 
good deal of history and, if I were to sum up the whole history of 
liberty, I should say that it consisted at every turn in human life 
in resisting just such projects as are now proposed to us. If you 
don't believe it, try it. If you want a great struggle for liberty that 
will cost you blood, adopt this program, put yourselves at the dis- 
position of a Providence resident in Washington and then see what 
will come of it. 

Ah, gentlemen, we are debating very serious things. And we are 
debating this: Are we going to put ourselves in a position to enter 
upon a great program of understanding one another and helping 
one another? I can't understand you unless you talk to me. I can't 
understand you by looking at you. I can't understand you by read- 
ing books. With apologies to the gentlemen in front of me,* I 
couldn't even understand you by reading the newspapers. I can 
understand you only by what you know of your own lives and 
make evident in your own actions. I understand you only in pro- 
portion as you "hump" yourselves and take care of yourselves, and 
make your force evident in the course of politics. And, therefore, I 
believe in government as a great process of getting together, a 
great process of debate. 

There are gentlemen on this platform with me who have seen 
a great vision. They have seen this, for example: You know that 
there are a great many foreigners coming to America and qualify- 
ing as American citizens. And if you are widely acquainted among 
them you will know that this is true: that the grown-up people 
who come to America take a long time in feeling at home in Amer- 
ica. They don't speak the language and there is no place in which 

* Wilson was, of course, directing this remark at the newspaper correspondents. 

82 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

they can get together with the general body of American citizens 
and feel that they are part of diem. But their children feel wel- 
come. Where? In the schoolhouse. The schoolhouse is the great 
melting pot of democracy. And after the children of these men 
who have joined us in their desire for freedom have grown up and 
come through the processes of the schools, they have imbibed the 
full feeling of American life. 

Now, somebody has said somebody repeated to me the other 
day the saying of one of these immigrants that when he went to 
a meeting or to a series of meetings in the evening in a school- 
house where all the neighborhood joined to discuss the interests 
of the neighborhood, he for the first time saw America as he had 
expected to see it. This [was] America as he had imagined it, this 
frank coming together of all the people in the neighborhood, of 
all sorts and conditions, to discuss their common interests. And 
these gentlemen to whom I have referred have devoted their lives 
to this: to make the schoolhouses of this country the vital centers 
of opportunity, to open them out of school hours for everybody 
who desires to discuss anything and for making them, among other 
things, the clearinghouses where men who are out of jobs can find 
jobs and where jobs who are out of men can find men. Why 
shouldn't our whole life center in this place where we learn the 
fundamentals of our life? Why shouldn't the schoolhouses be the 
constant year-in-and-year-out places of assembly where things are 
said which nobody dares ignore? Because, if we haven't had our 
way in this country, it has been because we haven't been able to 
get at the ear of those who are conducting our government. And if 
there is any man in Buffalo, or anywhere else in the United States, 
who objects to your using the schoolhouses that way, you may be 
sure that there is something he doesn't want to have discussed. 

You know I have been considered as disqualified for politics be- 
cause I was a school teacher. But there is one thing a school 
teacher learns that he never forgets, namely, that it is his business 
to learn all he can and then to communicate it to others. Now, I 
consider this to be my function. I have tried to find out how to 
learn things and learn them fast. And I have made up my mind 
that for the rest of my life I am going to put all I know at the 
disposal of my fellow citizens. And I know a good many things 
that I haven't yet mentioned in public which I am ready to men- 
tion at the psychological moment. There is no use firing it off 

Labor Day Speech 83 

when there is nobody to shoot at, but when they are present, then 
it is sport to say it. And I have undertaken the duty of constituting 
myself one of the attorneys for the people in any court to which 
I can get entrance. I don't mean as a lawyer, for while I was a 
lawyer, I have repented. But I mean in the courts of public opin- 
ion wherever I am allowed, as I am indulgently allowed today, to 
stand on a platform and talk to attentive audiences for you are 
most graciously attentive I want to constitute myself the spokes- 
man so far as I have the proper table of contents for the people 
whom I wish to serve; for the whole strength of politics is not in 
the leader but in the followers. By leading I do not mean telling 
other people what they have got to do. I [mean] finding out what 
the interests of the community are agreed to be, and then trying 
my level best to find the methods of solution by common counsel. 
That is the only feasible program of social uplift that I can 
imagine, and, therefore, I am bound in conscience to fight every- 
thing that crystallizes things so at the center that you can't 
break in. 

It is amazing to me that public-spirited, devoted men in this 
country have not seen that the program of the third party pro- 
claims purposes and in the same breath provides an organization 
of government which makes the carrying out of those purposes 
impossible. I would rather postpone my sympathy for social re- 
form until I had got in a position to make things happen. And I 
am not in a position to make things happen until I am part of a 
free organization which can say to every interest in the United 
States: "You come into this conference room on an equality with 
every other interest in the United States, and you are going to 
speak here with open doors. There is to be no whispering behind 
the hand. There is to be no private communication. What you 
can't afford to let the country hear had better be left unsaid." 

What I fear, therefore, is a government of experts. God forbid 
that in a democratic country we should resign the task and give 
the government over to experts. What are we for if we are to be 
[scientifically] taken care of by a small number of gentlemen who 
are the only men who understand the job? Because if we don't 
understand the job, then we are not a free people. We ought to 
resign our free institutions and go to school to somebody and find 
out what it is we are about. I want to say I have never heard more 
penetrating debate of public questions than I have sometimes 

84 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

been privileged to hear in clubs of workingmen; because the man 
who is down against the daily problem of fife doesn't talk about it 
in rhetoric; he talks about it in facts. And the only thing I am 
interested in is facts. I don't know anything else that is as solid 
to stand on. 

I beg, therefore, that in the election that is approaching you will 
serve your own interests by discriminatingly serving the whole 
country and holding [it as your ultimate aim] to see to it that 
liberty, the initiative of the individual, the initiative of the group, 
the freedom of enterprise, the multiplicity of American under- 
takings, is the foundation of your judgment. Do not let America 
get tied up into little coteries; see to it that every door is open to 
the youngster as well as to the older man that has made his way. 
See to it that those who are swimming against the stream have 
some little glimpses of the [shore]. See to it that those who are 
sweating blood know that they must not sweat blood all their lives 
but that if they devote their energy they will devote it in hope and 
not in despair, as their own masters, and not as men's servants; 
as men who can look their fellows in the face and say: "We also 
are of the free breed of American citizens." For, gentlemen, we 
are at this juncture recovering the ideals of American politics, 
nothing else. By forgetfulness, by negligence, by criminal dis- 
crimination against one another, we have allowed our govern- 
ment to come to such a pass that it does not serve us all without 
discrimination; and we are about to recover it. 

I am not here to commend one party above another. I am here 
to commend one purpose rather than another, and to challenge 
every man to vote, not as he has been in the habit of voting, merely 
because that has been his habit, but as he deems the interests of 
the community to demand not only, ... as he believes will be 
most effective in the long run. In other words, choose measures, 
choose paths, choose men and, if you please, forget that there are 

I am a party man. I believe in party organization except where 
party organization goes to seed and becomes a machine. Then I 
think that part ought to be cut off. But I am for something that 
will dominate party organization. That is the reason I am inter- 
ested in this schoolhouse business. I am for the organization of 
public opinion which at every election will say: "You can't label 
us; you can't drive us into a pen; you can't tell us how we are 

Labor Day Speech 85 

going to vote by the caption at the top of the ticket. We are going 
to read the ticket; we are going to find out who are on it; we are 
going to find out who made the ticket; we are going to find out 
what the program is behind the ticket, and we are going to choose 
accordingly." For only in that way can America be governed as 
she ought to be governed. 

It is very embarrassing to me, I will tell you frankly, to appear 
as one who solicits your votes. I would a great deal rather get 
elected first and then come back to you and say, "Now, what are 
we going to do?" Because before election a man is in this un- 
pleasant position, he is as much as saying, "Elect me and you just 
see what I'll do." Now, no man is big enough to say that truth- 
fully. [He] can say it, but [he] oughtn't to say it. But after the 
election the point is not "What will he do?" but "What will you 
back him up in doing? What will we do?" 

And I had rather argue politics in the plural than in the singu- 
lar. It is a lonely business arguing it in the singular. All that you 
can promise in the singular is that there will be a good deal doing, 
that you won't allow yourself to be fooled even by your own 
party, and that the pledges you take upon yourself you take your- 
self individually and will do your best to carry out whether any- 
body else goes with you or not. But I am not af raid of that. If the 
American people elect a man President and say, "You go on and 
do those things," nobody is going to head him off because there 
is a forte behind him which nobody dares resist that great im- 
pulse of just opinion without which there is no pure government 
at all 

I do not know any other appeal, therefore, than this appeal to 
you as Americans, as men who constitute the bone and sinew of 
American citizenship and [who], when you address yourselves 
to the discussion of public affairs, know what the realities are and 
are not deceived by the appearances. Let us get together and 
[save] the government of the United States. 

86 Part 3. Campaigning in New Yorfc 

Delivered at Buffalo, New Yorfc, September 2 

THE LAST BURST of applause for the Labor Day speech had scarcely 
died away before Wilson was motoring to Kenmore, ten miles away, 
to make a short talk at an Old Home Week celebration. Then came 
two more short speeches in Buffalo: one to the Wilson and Marshall 
Club meeting in the Prudential Building and the other at a Democratic 
dinner in the Lafayette Hotel. 2 

But this party feast had to be cut short, for the guest of honor had 
to hurry away this time to face the Democratic mass meeting in the 
Broadway Arsenal. It was 8:55 P.M. when he began his final speech 
of the day. 8 He analyzed the three major political parties and con- 
cluded with a glowing tribute to Jefferson and the Democratic faith. 
Unfortunately the lateness of the hour and the fact that Wilson spoke 
extemporaneously kept reporters from getting the speech on the wires 
in time for the morning editions of their papers, and consequently the 
newspapers virtually ignored the Broadway Arsenal address. 4 Later 
Wilson must have realized that he had acquitted himself extremely 
well on this occasion, for a few days later he issued the text of the 
address, slightly edited, as the advance copy of his New York Press 
Club speech. 5 

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: 

I must say in the circumstances that I am very glad they put me 
off at Buffalo, for certainly your greeting makes my heart very 
warm indeed. I have come here tonight for the purpose of dis- 
cussing just as candidly as possible the political situation in which 
we find this country which we love. Because I am not one of those 
who believe that politics is a process of depreciating the men you 
are opposed to, or of belittling the forces with which you have to 
[contend], or as anything else than a frank determination of what 
it is we are to get together and do and how we are to do it. 
Because, while the very generous speaker who has just taken his 
seat has told you of some of the things accomplished in New Jer- 
sey, he has given [me personally undue] * credit for that achieve- 

* From the text in the Buffalo Evening Times. 

X * 


Facsimile of Wilson's longhand notes for his Broadway Arsenal speech at Buffalo. Reproduced 

88 fart 3. Campaigning in New York 

ment. . . . Because I want you to know that those things were 
done by the people of New Jersey, and that I was merely their 
spokesman. If I can't be your spokesman, I don't want you to vote 
for me. If you don't believe the things that I believe, I don't want 
you to vote for me; because the thing I do not wish to do is to 
speak in national affairs with only my own voice. I want to feel, 
if I am elected to the office of President, that I am speaking the 
purposes and impulses and judgments of the people of the United 
States. We must be very candid with one another, therefore. We 
must very [diligently] inquire whether we are of the same mind 
or not, and whether we do understand in the same terms the 
things which we are attempting to do. 

What is it that we wish to do now in the year 1912? I am not 
going to review the history of parties. I am not going to review 
conditions in a day that is gone because the exigency of our 
politics consists in this, ladies and gentlemen, that the year 1912 
does not present political problems in the same light in which 
they were ever presented before. We have got to look at them, 
therefore, in the new air which has been bred in a new day. And 
I want to say to you that, in my [judgment], the people of this 
country wish two things. If you wish them, then we are together. 
They wish two things. They wish, first, to clear their government 
for action by making it free; and then, when it is free, they wish 
to use it, not to serve any class or any party, but to serve civiliza- 
tion and the human race. We are men, we are not politicians. We 
do not live our lives at the polls. We live them in our homes, in 
the factories, in the mines, in the forests, in the rolling mills, in all 
the myriad workshops of a great nation; and the thing that we arc 
interested in is the character of our life and the conditions of our 
life in those places. We are interested in politics only as a means 
of getting the law to serve our life as it should serve it. 

Therefore, when you ask which party you are going to support, 
and which candidate you are going to support, you are not asking 
the paltry question, "Do you prefer the record of the Democratic 
party or the record of the Republican party?" You are asking this 
fundamental question, "By which means and by which choice can 
we best serve ourselves and those whom we love and who are 
dependent upon us?" That is what I understand politics to be. 

Politics differs from philanthropy only in this: that in philan- 
thropy we sometimes do things through pity merely, while in 

Broadway Arsenal Address 89 

politics we merely do it, if we are righteous men, on the grounds 
of justice. Sometimes in our pitiful sympathy with our fellow 
men we must do things that are more than just. We must forgive 
men. We must help men that have gone wrong. We must help men 
that have gone criminally wrong. But the law says we are merely 
going to equalize conditions, see that every man has a fair chance, 
see that injustice and wrong are not wrought in the name of 
government. And yet philanthropy and government are linked in 
this, that they are both meant for the service of humanity. Why, 
government was set up in America because men of all classes 
were not served anywhere else in the worldl Under every other 
government in the world, when American government was set up, 
the government served only some of the classes of the community, 
and we boasted, we hoped, we were confident that we had set 
up a government in this country which would serve every class 
without discrimination the most humble along with the most 
powerful. Only so long as we keep American government up to 
that ideal and standard will it be worthy of the name America. 

Therefore, the critical circumstance of the year 1912 is this, 
that we fear that we have found that our government is not 
serving all classes, that our government is serving only a [portion], 
and that the most powerful [portion] of the community, which 
could take care of itself. I am very much more interested in seeing 
government take care of the people who are not powerful than I 
am in seeing it take care of the people who are powerful. And 
when I see the powerful control the government, then I say, 
"This is not American government; this is not the government of 
the people." Our task this year is to place the government back 
into the hands of all classes of American citizens. That is what we 
mean by putting it in the hands of the people. 

But it is one thing to talk that way, and it is another thing to 
accomplish the object. How are you going to accomplish the 
object? I dare say that every orator in every campaign in the 
history of the United States (where there is more politics to the 
square mile than anywhere else in the world) has said that his 
object was to serve the people. So I am not telling you anything 
new. What you have to find <out > is whether in my case it is a 
bluff or not. And you can't find it out by looking at me. You have 
got to exercise your minds. You have got to discriminate. You 
have got to set {he chessboard fully up and see how the game is 

90 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

going to be played. And you have got only one of three choices to 
make. I am going to try to be very candid about all three of them. 

I want to set the stage for you. I want to discuss the three 
parties now seeking your support. I know there are more than 
three parties in the United States, and it is not out of any dis- 
respect to the parties that have commanded a smaller number of 
votes than these three in the past that I leave them out of the 
reckoning for the present. I have a great respect for the Socialist 
party, because I know how many honest and serious men are in it. 
I have a great respect for the Populist party, because I know that 
it is seeking to serve the people. I have a great respect for all the 
minor parties in proportion as they have this object in view. But 
it is not disrespectful to them to say that one of three parties is 
going to win this time, and therefore, I am going to confine my 
discussion to those three 

Let me go back to where I started. We want to disentangle our 
government, clear its decks, and set it free. To do what? To serve 
civilization and mankind. By that standard let us judge the parties 
which are candidates for our suffrages, [for] I would rather express 
it in terms of parties than in terms of individuals. There is one 
sense in which I am not interested in individuals. I am inter- 
ested in any one individual in politics only in proportion as I 
conceive him [to contain several million] other individuals, only 
in proportion as I consider him the representative, the great 
representative, of a great body of my fellow citizens who have a 
cause in their hearts. Therefore, we can turn away from the in- 
dividual and his personal qualifications and discuss the parties. 

Now, I am going to stand up here before you, as the first candi- 
date for your suffrages, the Republican party. I mean the old- 
line, stay-where-it-is Republican party. A great many of you, 
perhaps a great proportion of you, have been in the habit of 
voting for that party. I am perfectly ready to forgive you because 
I think I know I think I can imagine by putting myself in your 
place exactly why you did it. I never did it, but I can imagina- 
tively conceive myself doing it. I am like the man they found 
somewhere in the remote parts of the country who they said 
could tell the truth. He wasn't found telling it, but he could tell 
it when he heard it. Now, I have never been found voting the 
Republican ticket, but I understand how it is done. And I want to 
have you realize that there is a great deal of difference between 

Broadway Arsenal Address gi 

the Republican party and certain groups of gentlemen who have 
been in the habit of leading and directing the Republican party. 

When I speak of the Republican party that is a candidate for 
your suffrages tonight, therefore, I mean that party as represented 
by the men who are leading it. That is the only way I know how 
to test its political capacity. That party is the very party which 
has got us into the difficulties we are now trying to get out of. I 
don't have to prove that, because we have got into those diffi- 
culties in the last ten years, and during the last fifteen years that 
party has been in power. If it didn't get us into these difficulties, 
who did? It's had a free field. It's had possession of the govern- 
ment. It could at any time guide the legislation of the United 
States. If it has not been able to keep those things from happen- 
ing which have wrought a deep evil upon us, it has proved its 
impotence; whereas, if it deliberately did these things, it has 
proved its untrustworthiness. 

Mark you, I am not saying that the leaders of this party knew 
that they were doing us an evil, or that they intended to do us an 
evil. For my part, I am very much more afraid of the man who 
does a bad thing and doesn't know it is bad than of a man who 
does a bad thing and knows it is bad; simply because I think that 
in public affairs stupidity is more dangerous than knavery. If you 
don't know enough to know what the consequences are going to 
be to the country, then you can't govern the country in a way that 
is for its benefit. And, therefore, I am perfectly ready to admit 
that these gentlemen may have been guided by nothing but the 
most patriotic intentions for I am not indicting anybody I am 
simply trying to state the circumstances of our day. These gentle- 
men, whatever may have been their intentions, linked the govern- 
ment of the United States up with the men who control the big 
finances of the United States. They may have done it innocently, 
or they may have done it corruptly, without affecting my argu- 
ment at all. Provided you admit that they tied the government of 
the United States to the big financial interests of the United 
States, you have admitted my point. And they themselves cannot 
escape from that alliance. If you have once constructed your 
policy upon that basis, how are you going to face the men who 
have hitherto supported you if you desert them in the midst of 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the old question of campaign 

92 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

funds: If I take a hundred thousand dollars from a group of men 
representing a particular interest that has a big stake in a certain 
schedule of the tariff, I take it with the knowledge that those 
gentlemen are expecting me not to forget their interest in that 
schedule, and that they will take it as a point of implicit honor 
that I should see to it that they were not damaged by too great a 
change in that schedule. Therefore, if I take their money, I am 
bound to them by a sort of tacit pledge of honor; and, if I desert 
them, I change the whole character of the government. The regu- 
lar Republican leaders have got us into die very thing that we 
must get out of if we would set the government free. And they 
themselves cannot get out of it without reversing the whole 
character of their administration. 

I want to point out to you again that I am not indicting their 
character. They hold a theory of government which has been held 
for a great many thousand years. I don't know whether they have 
ever admitted it to themselves. The first man, the great man who 
avowed that theory in the United States was Alexander Hamilton. 
He said that he believed that only that government was stable 
that was based upon the support of the men who had the biggest 
material stake in it. Now, I can argue that way, if I choose, and 
any man can make a very plausible argument to show that the men 
with the biggest stake in the life of a country are the very men to 
look to to see that that country prospers, and that its government 
is stable. But the trouble is, and the trouble has been since the 
beginning of time, that these men do not understand the interests 
of common men, that these men do not understand the circum- 
stances which are making the men on the make sweat blood every 
day of their lives in their struggle to make a living. Government 
[is] a matter of insight and of sympathy. If you don't know what 
the great body of men are up against, how are you going to help 
them? And if you don't help them, if you don't consider govern- 
ment the business of helping them, how are you going to serve a 
great voiceless nation? 

I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, the men I am interested in are 
the men who never have their voices heard, who never get a line 
in the newspapers, who never get a moment on the platform, who 
never have access to the ears of governors or of anybody who is 
responsible for the conduct of government, but who go silently 
and patiently to their work every day, carrying the burden of the 

Broadway Arsenal Address 93 

world. How are they to be understood by the masters of finance, 
if only the masters of finance are consulted? The masters of fi- 
nance ought to be consulted because they are a part of the people 
of the United States, but they ought to be consulted only in pro- 
portion as they are part of the people of the United States. 

I have heard many orators who represent the point of view I am 
now criticizing speak of the people and of what should be done for 
the people, and it was always perfectly obvious that they did not 
include themselves. They spoke of the people as a great body of 
persons whom it was their business to take care of. Now, I am 
perfectly willing in speaking of the people to include them, but 
they are not willing to include the people. I am perfectly willing 
to include the great financial interests of this country provided 
they will include themselves when they speak of the people. 

Now, the confirmed point of view of certain Republican leaders 
whom I might name is that the business of the government is to 
take care of the people, that it ought to be conducted for the 
people but not by the people. Because a sort of shudder seems 
to run through them when you suggest that ordinary men ought to 
have a voice in the counsels of government. They say, "What do 
they know about it?" I always feel like saying: "What do you 
know about it? You know your interests, but who has told you 
their interests, and what do you know about them?" For the 
business of every leader of government is to hear what the nation 
is saying and to know what the nation is enduring. It is not his 
business to judge for the nation but to judge through the nation as 
its spokesman and voice. I do not believe, ladies and gentlemen, 
that this country can safely allow a continuation of the policy of 
men who have [viewed] affairs in that light. 

Now, if not the regular Republicans, whom are you going to 
trust? There is a large body of Republicans now in open rebellion. 
And what interests me about them and draws me to them is that 
they are in revolt because their consciences couldn't stand what 
was going on. I think I understand the moral point of view of the 
insurgent Republican, because I know what he is in revolt against; 
and he is dead right. And a great body of Republicans in revolt 
have now formed a third party, and that third party deserves your 
careful consideration when you are debating the question which 
party you are going to support. I would be ashamed of myself if 
I did not realize and admit that some of the sober forces of this 

94 Part 3. Campaigning in New Yorfc 

country are now devoted to the promotion of that new movement 
and party. But these insurgent Republicans who have formed the 
new party are not all of that new party. That party has two other 
elements in it that interest me even more than the insurgent Re- 
publicans, because I have known the insurgent Republicans a 
long time. They first began to crop up in that supposedly back- 
ward state of New Jersey a great many years ago. There we called 
them the "New Idea" Republicans, when the idea [that] what 
the Republicans were doing at Washington was wrong was a new 
idea a new idea among Republicans. It was a rather old idea 
among Democrats. And I have been closely associated, it has been 
my privilege to be closely associated, with some "New Idea" Re- 
publicans. And I think their new ideas were so remarkably like 
my old ideas that I was perfectly willing to admit their validity. 

But there are other elements in the new party which we ought 
very candidly to consider also. I have not heard of many Demo- 
crats who have joined that party. To tell you the truth, I haven't 
heard of any Democrats who joined it. I have heard reports that 
there were some, but I haven't found them; I haven't personally 
encountered them or heard their names. Therefore, in looking 
around for the other elements I find that they are two. All the 
other members of that party have joined it for their own special 
purposes. Wait a minute. Some of those purposes are very noble. 
Some of them are not. There is a noble group of men and women 
who have joined that party because the program, or rather the 
platform of that party, embodies most of the ideas and most of 
the purposes for which they have fought more or less hopelessly 
for a long generation. And they are ready to tie to a party which 
professes to believe in those things. Those purposes are elevated, 
disinterested, noble purposes and belong to part of the program 
that I have been talking of that if we can get a free government, 
we want it to serve civilization and humanity. I don't believe that 
through that party you can get a free government. But if they 
could get a free government through that party, then [much of 
the] program of that party is conceived in die service of civiliza- 
tion and humanity. 

Then there are other persons, who have their own aims to serve, 
who joined that party; and the less said about them the better. 
Because it would only be interesting to discuss them if I could 
mention their names, and I have forbidden myself that indul- 

Broadway Arsenal Address 95 

gence. I dare say that the leaders of that party are just as much 
embarrassed by their presence as we are critical of their presence 
in it. The difficulty with any party, ladies and gentlemen, is to 
invite people not to join, or is to suggest to people having joined 
they had better get out. You can't do it. That is against the 
etiquette of politics, because what [you are looking] for is votes. 
And, if you can, without smirching your own hand, get men to 
vote for you who don't really intend to let you have your way, 
you may nevertheless have your way after they have voted for 
you. I have known that to happen. Just between you and me, 
there were gentlemen in New Jersey who voted for me who had 
no intention of allowing me to have my way, and they thought 
that being an innocent, academic person, I wouldn't know how 
to get my way when I got in. Now, I do not hold myself respon- 
sible for [having fooled] * them; because I told them beforehand 
exactly what I was going to try to do, so that the game was 
perfectly even and on die level. But I would advise gentlemen 
who don't want me to do what I say I am going to do, if I am 
elected President, not to vote for me this time. Because now they 
know what is going to happen. 

But I say all these things merely because I want you to under- 
stand that my analysis of the new party is not a hostile analysis, is 
not an unreasonable criticism. I simply ask you this: If the new 
party is preferred on the fifth of November next, will it be in a 
position to clear the decks and carry out the policy which many 
noble gentlemen have conceived that it was sincerely bent upon? 
That is the only question. Because politics, particularly now, is 
intensely practical. We can't afford to vote on the fifth of Novem- 
ber and then wait another four years. The processes of reform in 
this country must take place within the next four years. If the 
leader of the third party is made President of the United States, 
what will be his situation? Does anybody within the sound of my 
voice suppose that he will have a third-party Congress behind 
him? Doesn't everybody know that there will be in Congress such 
a mixture of elements and groups and parties that it is almost a 

* The text in the Buffalo Evening Times shows that Wilson was interrupted 
many times by applause from the audience. This undoubtedly made it difficult 
for Swem to hear the speaker distinctly. At this point he seems to have misheard, 
for he wrote what appears to be the shorthand symbol for "told." The Buffalo 
Evening Times, Sept. 3, has "fooled" instead, which fits better into the context. 

96 fart 3. Campaigning in New Yorfc 

certain prediction that the next President in such circumstances 
can't get anything consistent done? We have had samples of it 
already. We have got a very queerly assorted Senate of the 
United States. There are some Democrats in it, some near- 
Democrats, some Republicans, and some ex-Republicans, and it 
has been a gambler's chance whether they will get together on 
anything or not. Nobody has ever known after a bill passed the 
House of Representatives exactly what was going to happen to 
it when it got into the Senate and the roll call in the votes has 
seldom shown the same list of names. 

Now, suppose you had a House of Representatives mixed like 
the present Senate! I think we could all go fishing for the next 
two years! And if at the same time you had a leader insistent upon 
certain policies, I think the air would be full of clamorous voices, 
but the statute book would be very empty of fulfilled promises 
not because, it may be, nobody was trying to fulfill the promises 
but because everybody was trying to fulfill a different promise. It 
seems to me that that way lies the way of confusion, that that 
way lies the way by which to establish an [interval] in our politics 
instead of the way along which we can press for the accomplish- 
ment of those things which the mind of the country has been 
made up with regard to. 

Well, there is one system upon which I must dwell for a mo- 
ment. The new party doesn't even propose to clear the decks 
because the central proposal in the whole program is to [legalize] 
monopoly. The central proposal is instead of defeating, instead 
of breaking up the evil things that have been done under the 
mistaken leadership of regular Republican leaders the results of 
their mistakes shall be [legalized] and made regular by being 
taken under the direct supervision of the government of the 
United States. And whatever may be the philanthropic purpose 
of that program, the inevitable result will be to confirm by law 
the partnership between great trusts and the government of the 
United States. I do not say that this is what the leaders of that 
party expect or propose, but there has been a history of the 
human race and a history of government, and the kind of thing 
they propose has always led to the result which I have predicted. 

You must see to it that your law prevents monopoly. You must 
see to it that the processes by which monopoly is established are 
made impossible under the statutes of the land. You must see to it 

Broadway Arsenal Address fff 

that the freedom of enterprise is restored, not the limitation of 
enterprise confirmed. You must see to it in order that our young- 
sters, as they come along, may at least find that it is possible to 
organize business independently for themselves; in order that 
they may not find that in order to do business they must come 
under the regulations and the categories and the determinations 
of a federal commission that federal commission already having 
regularized, already having legitimized, the very undertakings 
which in size and power are now limiting the field of enterprise 
throughout the United States. 

Therefore, it is impossible that a program of civilization and 
humanity should be carried out by a government that isn't free. 
Ah, what a prize the government at Washington would be to 
capture! It is prize enough now, but how overwhelming the 
temptation would be, then, to [say]: "This thing regulates us; 
therefore, let us get on the inside and regulate it." And remember 
they would not have to get on the inside; they are on the inside. 
They are tenants of the house at this moment and we are on the 
outside. Our project is to get into our own premises and administer 
our own affairs not to draw a [perpetual] lease by which under 
conditions imposed from the outside they [are] to enjoy life on 
the inside. Therefore, seeing no prospect in that direction of a 
free government, I see no prospect of a humane program. 

Then you <have> got only the Democratic party left, and 
you will ask me how I can set up a claim for the Democratic 
party. Well, it is rather a fine discipline, ladies and gentlemen, to 
have been on the outside for sixteen years. Put it at its worst, we 
haven't entered into any arrangements because we haven't had a 
chance. That is the worst. That is the minimum that you will have 
to admit for the Democratic party. We haven't formed any 
partnership because we didn't have any capital to offer. You can't 
form a partnership just on your looks. You have got to be able to 
do business. Well, we were not in a position to do business. There- 
fore, I am now stating it in the terms in which perhaps the most 
confirmed Republican present would state <ft>, and, therefore, 
we are [innocent].* 

A literal reading of the Swem Notes at this point is "we are in it/' but since 
this does not fit the context Swem may have failed to catch Wilson's words. The 
Buffalo Evening Times, Sept. 3, has "we are innocent" instead, which makes the 
sentence clearer. 

98 Part 3. Campaigning in New "fork 

But, gentlemen, if you will let me speak my own deep convic- 
tion, there is something a great deal better than that in it. You 
haven't entrusted the government of the United States to the 
Democratic party because the Democratic party has been opposed 
all these years to the things that the Republican leaders were 
doing. Isn't that a mere statement of fact? Haven't we been 
attacking [them] and opposing [them] and [proposing] programs 
that once looked radical and now look reasonable, for all these 

We haven't just begun being progressive. We have been pro- 
gressive for sixteen years and we saw the year 1912 half a genera- 
tion before it came. Are you going to give us no credit for vision? 
Don't you think it counts for something to stay out in the cold on a 
conviction for sixteen years? We could have made our bargains, 
we could have [traded], we could have compromised, we could 
have surrendered; but we did not because we stood upon an 
eternal conviction that that wasn't the way to serve the people of 
the United States. Through all these years, therefore, of [self- 
chosen exile] we have been purged and purified I won't say all 
of us, but most of us. The great rank and file of the Democratic 
party never [expected] an office, never wanted an office, voted 
persistently in the minority, knowing that they were going to be 
in the minority, taunted in some regions because they didn't have 
sense enough to come over to the majority; made fun of as if they 
were following an idiosyncrasy, as if they were queer, because it 
was rooted and grounded in them that, whether they could prove 
it or not, Thomas Jefferson had been right. Most of them didn't 
know what Thomas Jefferson had said, but they knew that he had 
said something that would knock those fellows out if the people 
of the United States only believed it. Therefore, they swore by 
the name and conjured with the name, Thomas Jefferson. I tell 
you, you talk about literary fellows, but [if] by the grace of God, 
you can say something that will inspire your fellow men for 
several generations, it is worth while having been a "literarv 
fellow." y 

Now, the Democratic party is perhaps for the first time in a 
generation united, solid, and enthusiastic. Why, I don't know how 
many old Democrats I have met coming out of the woods! They 
say: "Is it possible that in the providence of God we have lived to 
see the day when the people of the United States are about to 

Broadway Arsenal Address 99 

admit that we were right, after all?" They are going to come out 
and vote. They are going to come out and vote in triumphant 
numbers, because the spirit of triumph, of triumphant principle, 
has [risen] up in their hearts. And I feel that the only justification 
for any degree of pride that I may have is that at this particular 
time I am accorded the privilege of speaking for them, speaking 
convictions that were bred in me, that I learned in the school of 
experience, that I have learned from books and from men, the 
things that lie at the heart of the whole history of living since 
government was organized among men. 

I tell you, it is no small privilege to be allowed to stand up 
before great bodies of my fellow citizens and express my deep 
conviction that these things are true and that these things will 
make us free. But, ladies and gentlemen, the Democratic party is 
the only organized force by which you can set your government 
free. I was bred in a football college and I know that what wins 
is teamwork; and I want to tell you that we have now got a 
Democratic team schooled in years of adversity that can hold to- 
gether against any team that can be put in the field, and as 
compared with which some teams recently organized are only 
scrub teams. 

What I have tried to show to you is that you have a Democratic 
object, namely, to set your government free, to enter upon a 
program of service, and that you are working for a team that can 
do it. And I say without fear of contradiction that there is only 
one team ready. I am not predicting when any other team will get 
ready. I am saying that in the year 1912 there is only one team 
that is ready for the job, and that that team is better organized, 
more wholesomely constituted, more enthusiastically united than 
it has been in my recollection. 

What, therefore, is the dictate of common sense? There is a very 
interesting passage in a very great English writer on politics, a 
writer in whose heart beat the pulse of sympathy for the rights of 
men as strongly as it ever beat in any breast, who said: What are 
you to say of a man with the best intentions in the world, with 
the most patriotic purposes, who nevertheless acts in a way that 
will make his convictions ineffectual?* What are you to say of 

* Wilson was probably paraphrasing Edmund Burke's statement: "For my part, 
I find it impossible to conceive, that any one believes in his own politics, or thinks 
them to be of any weight, who refuses to adopt the means of having them reduced 

100 fart S. Campaigning in New York 

men in this year making this party choice who deliberately choose 
the instrumentality which will not now work to accomplish their 
purpose? One instrumentality which I discussed is not ready 
because it doesn't know how; the other instrumentality has not 
yet been made ready for anything in particular. And there is an 
old indomitable organization that can't be frightened or dis- 
couraged that now offers itself for the service of the nation. 

I believe that I can predict the choice that my fellow country- 
men will make, because America is practical and hardheaded, and 
votes are not meant to be sentimentally used. You don't vote for 
the satisfaction of voting I take it for granted for it is not, so 
far as my experience would show, a pleasurable sensation. You 
vote because you believe that vote to be the contribution to a 
particular vital force working through the minds and hearts of the 
people of the United States. 

Therefore, I am very much more interested in this part of the 
campaign than I am even in the eventual act on the fifth of 
November. It is a great deal more interesting, and a great deal 
more vital, to stand face to face and frankly discuss the public 
interests than it is for each of us to go in a particular booth and 
where nobody looks on cast his secret ballot. The real business of 
politics is transacted in rooms like this. It ought to be transacted 
in a great many more rooms. Big, numerously attended meetings 
are very fine for the sharing of great impulses and common sym- 
pathies, but the real business of politics is in little groups of 
people that come together and match their minds in little groups, 
collecting at night in the schoolhouses, little neighborhood con- 
ferences, in which men really lay their minds bare to one another. 

If you would look <at > what makes the great river as it nears 
the sea, you must travel up the stream. You must go up into the 
hills and back into the forests and see the little rivulets, the 
[little] streams, all gathering in hidden places to swell the great 
body of water in the channel. And so with the making of public 
opinion back in the country, on the farms, in the shops, in the 
hamlets, in the homes of citizens, where men get together and 
are frank and true with one another, there come trickling down 
the streams which are to make the mighty force of the river. The 

into practice." Edmund Burke, Thoughts on the Causes of the Present Discon- 
tents . . . (New York, E. P. Button, 1913), p. 98. 

Immigration 101 

river is going to drive all the [wholesome] enterprises * of human 
life, and subsequently it is going to emerge into the great common 
sea of humanity. 

And so I am more interested in exploring the streams than I am 
in traversing the ocean. I want to see where all the force comes 
from, and I shall consider it my privilege to challenge my fellow 
citizens to get together and think these things out. If they will 
think them out, I pledge myself to accept with satisfaction the 
result which they register on the fifth day of November. 


Next day the Buffalo Evening Times published a long editorial hail- 
ing Wilson as "one of the most effective campaigners ever known in 
American politics." "The masterly evening address at the Broadway 
Arsenal," it went on to say, "bristled with telling points, and that every 
point struck home was shown by the outbursts of applause which 
proved that the speaker had stirred the conscience and the reason of 
the great audience." * 

Wilson was especially pleased with his reception in Buffalo. The 
next day he stated that he regarded his Broadway Arsenal speech as 
his "first political address," designed to set the stage for the campaign. 2 


Address Delivered at the National Arts Club, New York City, 
September 4 

WILSON BEGAN his canvass of New York City in a very unpreten- 
tious manner. He arrived in the metropolis at 4:00 P.M., after a trip 
through New Jersey in a day coach and a ride across the North River 
by ferry. Going immediately to the Knickerbocker Apartments on 
Fifth Avenue, he conferred with William G. McAdoo and other mem- 
bers of the Democratic campaign committee about his forthcoming 
tour of the Middle West. 2 

* Mrs. Fuller's transcript has "industrial enterprises" and the text in the Buffalo 
Evening Times, Sept. 3, has "handsome enterprises." The adjective preceding "en- 
terprises" was omitted when this paragraph was included in Wilson, New Freedom, 
pp. 103-4. 

102 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

At about 5:00 P.M. the Democratic nominee appeared at the National 
Arts Club in Gramercy Park, where a small audience of editors of 
foreign-language newspapers had gathered to hear him. His topic was 
the highly controversial question of immigration, and the plan he 
proposed, namely, to admit all voluntary immigrants of good charac- 
ter who might come "of their own motion," would have ruled out the 
suggested adoption of a "literacy test" that might discriminate against 
immigrants from Poland, Italy, and Hungary. On the other hand it 
would operate against exploitative subsidization of immigrants by 
steamship companies and industrial concerns. The purpose of the 
speech apparently was to counteract the charge that Wilson had a 
low opinion of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. 

Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentlemen: 

Your very cordial and gracious greeting confirms the impression 
with which I came to this place. It confirms the impression that 
we are not separated in ideas or in opinions, that I am not the 
American and you the foreigner. That is exactly the impression 
which has never been in my mind, and your greeting of me shows 
me it is not in yours. Because there is a certain sense in which we 
do America an injustice by classifying ourselves as native-born 
and foreign-born. And I have always pleased myself with the idea 
that America in some degree exists in spirit all over the world and 
that there are men coming to these shores men who have dis- 
played their force in our affairs, who bring to America a more 
vivid conception of what it means than those of us who were 
born and bred here ourselves entertain. 

I remember being told this story which cut very close to the 
heart of the subject I am talking about. You know there has 
sprung up in various parts of this country, notably in the northern 
part of this state, a movement called the Social Center movement, 
centering in the schoolhouses. I suppose that every one of you has 
realized that where the immigrant gets his real introduction to 
the life of this country is through his children who go to the 
public schools, and that the children feel that they are introduced 
into American life sooner than their parents do. And when you 
imagine a movement which makes the schoolhouse the center of 
the community life of a neighborhood, when you imagine the 
neighbors gathering there in the evening and going to school 
to one another in the discussion of public affairs and of those 

Immigration 103 

matters which concern all equally, you are imagining the thing 
which is likely to be more potent than any other to restore the 
original character of America. Because I have always held, with 
Jefferson, that the breeding ground of America used to lie in the 
town meeting of which everybody was a member, and where all 
public officers, local officers, without distinction, had to come and 
render account of themselves. It is a great deal easier to render an 
account of yourself through writing than to appear before a body 
of your fellow citizens and answer questions in person, and be- 
fore the town meetings the town officers used to be obliged to 
appear in person and render an account of themselves and their 
stewardship. And they were rendered acutely aware of the fact 
that it was a stewardship, because they had to render this account 
to the men whom they were serving. You get a sort of a vague 
idea that you are serving the people of a state, for example, if you 
sit in a governor's office, but I dare say that if the people of the 
state could conveniently assemble in any one place and speak their 
mind to the governor, he would have a very much more vivid 
conception of it than his imagination conveys to him. 

And I see in this turning back to the original practice of Ameri- 
can life, by meetings for the discussion of every legitimate public 
interest in the schoolhouse, something like a return to our original 

Now, I have gone a long way around to set the stage for my 
story. My story is simply this: I was told that an immigrant who 
had been in this country several years was drawn into one of these 
schoolhouse meetings, and after it was over he said, "At last I 
have seen the America of which I dreamed, the America where 
everybody, where men of all conditions, meet together and dis- 
cuss the same things as neighbors, and where that discussion 
renders the public officer heedful of public opinion/' Very well, 
then the thought that is in my mind is this: That man brought to 
America a more vivid conception of America than some of our 
school officials have had who have refused to allow the school- 
houses to be used for such purposes. If I go to a country reputed 
to be a country of equality and liberty, I must expect to find 
constant visible and open signs of liberty and equality; and there- 
fore I carry to that country a demand which that country must 
satisfy. But I carry it only on one condition, namely, that I have 
gone to that country with that idea. I carry it only as I have gone 

104 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

to America because I was really, without knowing it, born an 
American. I wanted that thing that I thought I could get in 
America, and therefore I broke the tender connections of old 
associations, the intimate connections of a birthplace, and went 
to a far country looking for an ideal. And that is the distinction 
between voluntary immigration and assisted immigration, is it 
not? And that, it seems to me, furnishes one of the clues to the 
only basis that we can have when we discuss the limitations that 
must be put upon immigration. 

If we can hit upon a standard which admits every voluntary 
immigrant, and excludes those who have not come of their own 
motion, with their own purpose of making a home and a career 
for themselves, but have been induced by steamship companies or 
others to come in order to pay the passage money, then we will 
have what we will all agree upon as Americans. For I am not 
speaking to you in a foreign country. I am speaking to you as 
also Americans with myself and just as much Americans as my- 
self, and if we all take the American point of view, namely, that 
we want American life kept to its standards, and that only the 
standards of American life shall be the standards of restriction, 
then we are all upon a common ground, not of those who criticize 
immigration, but of those who declare themselves Americans. 

I am not saying that I am wise enough out of hand to frame the 
legislation that will meet this ideal. I am only saying that that is 
the ideal and that is what we ought to hold ourselves to. 

Now, strange as it may seem to some gentlemen who have 
criticized me, the only blunder I have made, the only practical 
blunder I have made in my interest in a liberal policy with regard 
to immigration, is that I got into the wrong society to encourage 
it. So that it was an indiscretion of judgment and not an indis- 
cretion of purpose, for my interest in immigration is to see that 
the immigrant is properly informed, is properly safeguarded 
against imposition of every kind, whether by the government or 
anybody else, and is directed to the place where he can attain the 
objects he has come for with the greatest advantage to himself. 
That to my mind is the solution of the immigration question. 

Of course, if the immigrants are to be allowed to come in un- 
instructed hosts and to stop at the ports where they enter and 
there compete in an oversupplied labor market, there is going to 
be unhappiness, there is going to be deterioration, there is going 

Immigration 105 

to be everything that will be detrimental to the community as well 
as detrimental to the immigrant. And therefore it is to the interest 
of the government that the government itself should supply, or at 
any rate encourage, the instrumentalities which will suppress 
that very thing, will multiply the ports of entry for that purpose, 
for example; will ease and facilitate and guide the process of 
distribution, and will above all things else supply the sympathetic 
information which is the only welcome that is acceptable to those 
who come. 

And therefore I close as I began, by a very respectful protest 
against calling yourselves "foreign editors" or anything with the 
word "foreign" in it. Your newspapers and magazines are published 
in languages which are not the general language of America, 
which is modified English, but at this stage of the melting-pot 
process every language in which you print a paper is largely used 
in the United States, and is used for the conveyance of American 
ideas. Now, I would just as lief Americanize a language as 
Americanize an individual, and I welcome the process by which 
you are Americanizing other foreign languages as the rest of us 
have Americanized English, speaking as someone wittily said, 
the "English slanguage." All my interest is that you shouldn't 
regard the language in which you print your periodicals as a 
foreign language when printed in America for the conveyance of 
1 American thinking. Then we will have . . . taken another step 
towards that combination of elements which is in the long run 
going to make America more various, I dare say, in its natural 
gifts, more variegated in its genius than any other country in the 

You know a quaint old writer of New England in the time of the 
early settlement of the country said, speaking complacently of 
himself and those who had come over with him, that God had 
winnowed a whole nation to select this seed which had been 
brought over and planted in America, having no doubt the same 
gratification in saying it that I once enjoyed when I addressed a 
Scotch-Irish Society, that being the peculiar mixture which 
renders me disagreeable or agreeable as the case may be. I had 
the great satisfaction in eulogizing Scotch Americans, of feeling 
that I was really eulogizing myself. So this gentleman had felt 
God had winnowed a whole nation to pick out him in particular 
and others in general. And when, putting pleasantry aside, there 

106 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

is a sense in which volunteer immigration is the winnowing of a 
race, of the bringing over the men of initiative, the men who have 
chosen their own career and chosen it with difficulty and chosen 
to begin it at a great distance in making up a new home for 
themselves and adding to the richness and variety of America. I 
didn't know, gentlemen, when I came here that I was going to 
make you a speech else I would have had a speech as happily 
phrased, I hope, as Mr. Bernstein's,* but I did hope that that 
would happen which I now hope will happen, that I might meet 
you individually. 


Delivered at a Dinner in the Yorkville Casino, New York City 
September 4 

GOVERNOR WILSON was driven from the National Arts Club to the 
Yorkville Casino, where a gathering of worltingmen and their wives 
awaited his arrival at a "dollar dinner." It was not entirely a working- 
men's audience, for one table was occupied by Mrs. J. Borden Ham- 
man and several other members of the Woman's National Wilson and 
Marshall Organization in stylish dinner gowns, causing Wilson to 
note the presence of "others . . . not technically classified as work- 
ingmen and workingwomen." 2 1 

Most of Wilson's address, although he did not mention the Bull 
Moose leader by name, was devoted to an attack on Roosevelt's con- 
cept of industrial freedom. And to answer the charge that he was a 
free trader he declared himself for relative freedom in trade since free 
trade was no longer possible under existing conditions. 

* Herman Bernstein, novelist and translator of several works of Russian litera- 
ture, had introduced Wilson to the group of editors of foreign language newspapers. 

{Because of Wilson, Mrs. Harriman became a Democrat in 1912, actively 
supporting him throughout the campaign. She became an important figure in the 
Democratic party, serving for more than thirty years as Democratic national com- 
mltteewoman from the District of Columbia. See feature article by Selwa Roosevelt, 
Washington Star, Nov. 27, 1955. 

Woodrow Wilson Working Men's League 107 

Mr. Announcer, ladies and gentlemen: 

I wanted to get the explosive part of my speech over first. It is a 
real privilege to me to stand in the presence of an audience like 
this, not only because there are a great many workingmen present 
and I always esteem it a privilege to address them but also 
because there are others present not technically classified as 
workingmen and workingwomen. I always like to feel that the 
company in which I am speaking represents no class and no class 
feeling but represents the united interests of a people which can 
be divided, if divided at all, only artificially. Because it seems to 
me that in this campaign we are discussing not so much the merits 
of parties as what we ought always to discuss when we are talking 
politics, if we be men of reason and men of patriotism: we are 
discussing the interest of the country. We ought not to determine 
the issues of this campaign upon any other basis whatever. The 
interest of this country is founded, in the last analysis, upon its 
material prosperity and its social justice. 

I put material prosperity first because, after all, you can't at- 
tend to your spiritual interests unless you are at least physically 
sustained. After a man's appetite for the means of sustaining him- 
self passes a certain point, it becomes abnormal and perhaps 
misleads him into many mistaken causes. But undoubtedly our 
first instinct is to live and is to live in such fashion that our minds 
and our spirits may act normally. Therefore, the material pros- 
perity of the nation, in other words its wealth, is of the first 
consequence. And the makers of wealth in this country are, of 
course, chiefly the men who do the daily work, chiefly but not 

Manifestly, none of us would work to advantage unless we were 
captained and directed. Men waste their energies if they do not 
cooperate in the proper way, and, therefore, the way in which 
large bodies of laboring men are guided and directed and united 
is of capital consequence in the creation of wealth. If every man 
acted on his own initiative and absolutely for himself, we should 
not be half so well off as we are under a system of careful relation- 
ships to each other and of coordination. And therefore, captains 
of industry and those who actually perform the industry [of the 
day with their] hands are united in a single body. And just so soon 
as they regard themselves as separated and antagonistic, one or 

106 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

the other of them is mistaken. Sometimes it is one and sometimes it 
is the other. I won't say with whom the mistake most often lies. 

Prosperity, therefore, is necessarily the first theme of a political 
campaign. We want the country to prosper economically. It is, 
therefore, of the first consequence that we should understand 
what prosperity consists in. I am not going to moralize about it. 
I am not going to remind you that we can't have genuine pros- 
perity unless the wealth that we get leads to a very widely 
diffused happiness. All that I want to illustrate now is the material 
side of it. You can't have prosperity unless you have freedom of 
achievement. I am not devoted to the idea of freedom merely as a 
political idea. I am devoted to the idea of freedom as an economic 
idea because it is demonstrable by the most superficial study of 
history that only those nations have been rich as nations in which 
there was absolute industrial freedom. Therefore, it seems to me 
that we should look at the interests of all classes from the point of 
view of freedom. 

When we find the control of industry, or even of important 
branches of industry, concentrated in too small a number of hands, 
we know that a condition exists which is just as inimical to the 
true interest of the men in whose hands it is concentrated as it is 
to the interests of the general body of citizenship of the country. 
Men who wish to concentrate the control of industry are wishing 
themselves harm, for the very reason that the whole vigor of the 
race, the whole vigor of civilization, consists at any rate, origi- 
nates in the consciousness on the part of every man that he is not 
shut out from independent action and from achieving the highest 
possible power himself by independent initiative on his own part. 
I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every 
human being. If I were not free, I would feel suppressed. If I did 
not feel that there was a field in which I could let my energies 
have their way, they would be stunted because restrained, they 
would lack enrichment because there was no kindly earth into 
which they could strike their roots. And, therefore, individual 
freedom is for every society the force of life, of every kind of life. 

You know that literature has always languished in countries 
where it was known that some authority, whether it was the 
authority of the church or the authority of the state, forbade men 
to say what they really thought. You can't have a great literature 
if men are to speak like parrots and say what they are told to say. 

Woodrow Wilson Working Men's League 109 

You can't have great opinions if men dare not express their opin- 
ions. You can't have free men if you go upon the assumption that 
God is afraid to hear the truth. You must go on the theory that 
the Maker of truth is willing to hear it, or else you will have a 
puny race, a restrained energy, a contemptible polity. When we 
resist, therefore, when I as a Democrat resist the concentration 
of power, I am resisting the processes of death, because the con- 
centration of power is what always precedes the destruction of 
human initiative and, therefore, of human energy. 

Now, in the second place, prosperity almost by inevitable con- 
sequence from what I have said consists in the growth of enter- 
prise and the growth of commerce. One of the reasons why I am 
opposed to an exaggerated protective policy is that it is a choosing 
beforehand to be provincial and to have as little to do with the 
rest of the world as possible. I hear a great deal said nowadays 
about the danger of free trade. There are circumstances in this 
country which render it absolutely impossible in our time, I dare 
say, that we should have free trade. We have so divided the 
[sphere of] taxation, both by principle and by practice, between 
the federal and the state governments that direct taxation is al- 
most exclusively reserved for the state governments and indirect 
taxation is the chief resource of the federal government. And the 
indirect taxes which we would not pay, if we knew we were pay- 
ing them, are chiefly paid at the customhouses. 

If you want to be certain that we would not pay them if we 
knew we were paying them, watch the people who come back 
from Europe and go to the customhouse. They are the most 
indignant, and from the point of view of some of my [com- 
patriots], the most unpatriotic Americans imaginable because 
they kick like steers against the [payment] of the duties because 
they are then and there consciously and visibly paying them out 
of their own pockets. And there would be a very different custom- 
house policy on the part of this country if everybody consciously 
and visibly paid the customhouse duties out of his own pocket 
directly into the hands of an officer of the government. 

We ought periodically, all of us, to go outside and then come 
in again to realize what is happening. So that when people talk 
to you about the danger of free trade and the folly of die free 
trader, don't be afraid that you will meet a free trader in the dark 
anywhere, because there isn't any free trader who can get abroad 

110 Tart 3. Campaigning in New York 

in America at present. All that we are considering, therefore, in 
considering the policy of protection is [relative] freedom in trade; 
and what I want to point out to the workingmen here tonight, 
and along with workingmen everybody else, is that America has 
got to such a pass that her provincialism is now in danger of 
working her a cruel and permanent injustice. Because America 
is, as a matter of fact, producing a great deal more than there is a 
domestic market for. And as I have several times said before, if 
she doesn't get bigger foreign markets, she will burst her jacket. 
There will be a congestion in this country which will be more 
fatal economically than any wider opening of the ports could be. 

The workingmen of this country allowed themselves to be de- 
ceived for a long time by being told that the protective policy was 
for their sakes. I notice that it is admitted now that they did not 
get their share. And they never did get their share except by 
united effort that went and got it. And, therefore, the working- 
man is now waking up to the fact that the bigger the market for 
American goods, the more work there'll be; and the bigger the 
market for American goods, the greater the triumph of American 
industry will be; and that American workingmen, if they get their 
due share of the earnings of production, will begin to put the 
money of the world in their pockets as well as the money of 
America. When we are fighting for a more extended and a freer 
commerce, we are fighting to increase the production of American 
goods, to increase the sale of American goods, to increase the 
variety of the prosperity of the American people; and it is now too 
late to consider any other policy because our domestic market is 
too small. If you want to see more and more men thrown out of 
employment, therefore, if you want to narrow the market for 
labor, keep the doors tight shut and you will see this whole 
process working in upon us in such fashion that presently things 
will be altered too rapidly to be suitable to the political and 
economic stability of the United States. 

We have reached, in short, a critical point in the process of our 
prosperity. It has now become a question with us whether it shall 
continue or shall not continue, and that question should be 
settled largely by the settlement of the tariff question. Therefore, 
the prosperity of the nation and the prosperity of the working- 
man are one and the same thing. And the interests of the work- 

Woodrow Wilson Working Men's League 111 

ingman and the interests of the nation are one and the same thing, 
partly for a very interesting reason, partly because the men who 
work constitute the greater part of the nation. And I dare say that 
the prosperity of a nation consists of the prosperity of most of the 
people that live in it. We have been too apt in recent years to 
suppose that it consisted of the inordinate prosperity of a very 
small portion of the people who lived in it. I don't envy them. I 
mean I don't grudge them any of their prosperity provided they 
earned it through the means of the general prosperity. But I 
grudge them every dollar they earn which isn't earned by way of 
contributing to the general welfare. I always think of business as 
a social service rendered for private profit and the profit is legiti- 
mate only in proportion as it is a service rendered. 

Very well then, how are we going to benefit the nation and, by 
benefiting the nation, benefit ourselves? In the first place, we are 
going to remove I say this with perfect confidence, whether one 
set of men does it or another is beside the mark, for it is going to 
be done we are going to remove the artificial advantages which 
some men have enjoyed and substitute for them general advan- 
tages. It is amazing to me, nothing less than amazing, that any 
political party should propose to fix the present condition of 
things upon the people of the United States. And to propose to 
let things stand where they are, and merely have the government 
be a commission taking charge of them, is to remedy nothing; is 
to create no freedom; is to perpetuate and license the concentra- 
tion of control. I shall make war upon that to the utmost of my 
power. To remedy a thing by making it permanent is something 
that I cannot understand. To remedy a thing by connecting it 
with the very processes of government, to say that the govern- 
ment will merely do this, to say to the people: "We can't change 
what has taken place, but we can V it off for you, we can mollify 
it, we can remove frictions, we can stand in your stead and man- 
age it," is merely to proclaim a helplessness which goes to the 
length of despairing of individual initiative and freedom. It is the 
very opposite of the whole process of civilization which has pro- 
duced political and economic liberty. For whether these gentle- 
men know it or not, these same things have been tried before in 
other forms and have uniformly led to unsatisfactory and, at 
length, to disastrous results. They sound new simply because the 

112 Part 8. Campaigning in New York 

form is new. They remind me of a friend of mine who thought he 
had discovered a way to express in a single set of terms all the 
development of art, all the way from music to architecture, and 
showed his scheme to a friend of his and asked him what he 
thought of it. 

"Well," he said, "my dear fellow, that is all right except that 
that same notion has been exploded ever since the time of Aris- 
totle. You can try it over again if you wish. You can dress it up in 
new clothing and make a new verbiage for it, but I can guarantee 
beforehand," he said, "that it won't work/' And so we can guaran- 
tee with regard to the beneficiaries of government that it won't 
be beneficent. 

No government ever has been beneficent when the attitude of 
government was that it was taking care of the people. Let me tell 
you that the only freedom consists in the people taking care of 
the government. We are grown up and twenty-one and we don't 
have to have anybody tell us what is good for us. We live our 
own lives, we know our own lives, it is our own lives that concern 
us and we will tell the government what we intend. Moreover, 
there is nothing occult, nothing hidden, about the methods in 
which monopoly has been set up. We know the exact processes. 
Gentlemen have told us who did it. They have told us under 
oath before courts and congressional committees. And do you 
mean to say that we can't stop a thing when we know what it is? 
Do you mean to say that when we know what our criminal and 
civil law ought to be we can't make it that and then administer it? 

This is not an age of unrestricted competition and it [can't] be, 
because there was an age of unrestricted competition and certain 
gentlemen got together and hogged competition; they killed the 
competition of those who were less strong than themselves, and 
competition ate itself up. That is what happened. Now we must 
care for the digestion of competition and not allow it to eat itself 
up. We know the kind of competition which has produced monop- 
oly and we must stop that kind of competition. 

We mustn't license monopoly, but we must regulate competi- 
tion, a very much more feasible thing to do, and a thing in the 
doing of which it will be very much more possible to get sug- 
gestions from the country instead of knowing the whole job our- 
selves and doing it in a little esoteric circle. For monopoly is the 
control of industry. The control of industry is the control of labor 

Woodrow Wilson Working Men's League 113 

and the government that controls controlled industry controls 
labor. And when government controls industry and labor, then 
what are to be your processes of independence? 

What are to be your processes of resistance except processes by 
which you resist the government? Resist the government in 
America? Resist the creator of our own independence? Resist the 
thing that we made and can unmake? I tell you there are some 
sentences which we wrote and understood when we wrote them 
and have forgotten the meaning of and continue to repeat with- 
out understanding. We once wrote in all our declarations of right 
that the people had the right to create a government and, when 
it no longer served our purposes, the right to alter it to the utter- 
most and to abolish it. And we say it every Fourth of July and 
forget it in between times. This government that we made, shall 
we not own it? Shall we be its wards? Shall we be told by it what 
the processes of our industry shall be? There isn't any body of men 
who know enough to do it. 

I have heard men speak of experts on the tariff. Well, I have 
lived among so-called economic experts all my life, and I know 
that anybody who pretends to be an expert on the tariff is a fake, 
because to claim to be an expert on the tariff is to claim to have 
digested in your own comprehension the whole business of the 
United States. And I know that nobody knows enough to know 
that. I have met men who thought they knew it, but then I have 
met men who thought they knew a great many things that weren't 
so. That is the malady that most of us grow into sooner or later. 
The trouble, by the way, with some parts of our community, the 
standpat part, is that they still think that they know things that 
were once so [but which] * are no longer so. They are living 
under the hallucination that the conditions of the year 1912 are 
just about the conditions of the year 1860. They won't all admit 
that they go back that far; but they are really still thinking the 
facts that their fathers supplied them with because most of us 
live on borrowed information, and much of our information has 
been borrowed from the last generation. The business of politics 
right now is to bring things up to the year 1912, to require that 
every alleged fact shall have the 1912 stamp on it, and to see that 
nobody faked and put the stamp on it last year. 

* In place of "what" in the Swem Notes, the editor, on advice from Mr. Swem, 
has substituted "but which." 

114 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

Now, there are other positive ways of securing freedom of 
achievement and, through freedom of achievement, the growth 
of enterprise and of prosperity. There is not only the negative 
way of seeing that nobody has a chance to monopolize it, that the 
land of competition that kills is absolutely prevented. And then 
there is the positive way. The positive way will make a very 
different country of the United States. We have been thinking in 
the terms of our own enterprise and of our own life so long that 
it is costing some gentlemen, apparently, a physical effort to 
think about the rest of the world. In order to make America 
prosperous, she must supply the world with the example, the 
substance of American enterprise and American ingenuity and 

I do not like to say it but, upon my word, I have been impressed 
sometimes with a very marked difference between American 
businessmen whom I have talked with and foreign businessmen. 
I am not speaking merely of the rank and file of businessmen here. 
I am speaking of some of the businessmen who stand highest in 
the management of American business. As compared with many 
a foreign businessman, they seem to be veritable provincials, 
ignorant of the markets of the world, ignorant of the courses and 
routes of commerce, ignorant of the banking processes even by 
which goods are exported. Why, do you know I haven't looked 
this up recently, but when I last looked it up, practically the 
whole business of buying foreign bills of exchange was in the 
hands of Canadian bankers who had had to come down to New 
York and San Francisco and our other great ports in order to do 
that part of banking which is absolutely indispensable to the 
international exchanges of the world; because the Canadian banks 
were equipped for commerce with the world and the American 
banks were not; and it was doubtful, I was told, whether the 
Federal Banking Act made it possible for national banks to en- 
gage in that. I don't know whether that is any longer true or not. 
But the idea of a great commercial nation turning all its processes 
in on itself and not taking advantage of the enormous energy 
which it has not yet released! 

I was saying today to a body of foreign-born fellow citizens of 
ours that what interested me about immigration when it was not 
assisted by the steamship companies was that the man who started 
from some distant country to come to America started with a 
vision of America in his mind. You know I was reminded today 

Woodrow Wilson Working Men's League 115 

by one of these very gentlemen whom I was addressing that 
Mr. Israel [Zangwill] * conceived this very [beautiful] idea. He 
said that Judea was not now a place, but a spiritual conception, 
and that every Jew everywhere who had the true Jewish spirit in 
him was a spiritual part of Judea. And it seems to me that men 
who long for the kind of liberty which they believe they can get 
in America, and come to America to get, bring spiritual America 
along with them. And then when they get here, they find that 
the reverse is more true that America has not itself a touch with 
the great outlying world; that she has confined her own industries 
to her own borders. 

That was no doubt inevitable. We had a pretty big continent 
to get possession of, develop; and we had a lot of things to do 
before we had a lot more goods than we could consume; but we 
have passed that now, and it is absolutely indispensable that we 
should, among other things, develop a merchant marine. When it 
is again my privilege, and I hope I shall live to see the day, to see 
the Stars and Stripes upon many and many a ship, upon every sea, 
however distant, I shall know that the pulse of America, ladies and 
gentlemen, beats in every quarter of the globe; that you have 
only to go on deck in order to see presently sweep above the 
horizon that emblem of our liberty which means that America is 
abroad. How we have confined herl How we have cheated our- 
selves by not letting our valor in industry and our valor in thought 
and our valor in enterprise of every sort exhibit itself before the 
whole face of the world! 

Liberty is its own reward. I had a thousand times rather be free 
than be taken care of. Don't you remember how long it seemed to 
take to get to be twenty-one so you could strike out for yourselves? 
Now, how long is it going to take the United States to be twenty- 
one? How long is it going to take it to reach its majority? How 
long is it going to take businessmen in America to find out that 
they have got brains enough not to depend upon the Ways and 
Means Committee of the House and the Finance Committee of the 
Senate; not to go to their dear grandmother down in Washington 
to ask her not to let anybody hurt them, not to let anybody use 
brains against them that would beat their brains? Think of the 
admission that is in that! If I want my brains protected, you may 
make sure that I suspect I haven't got many. And if I want my 

* Israel Zangwill was the author of many books about the life of immigrants in 
the United States. His best known work was probably The Melting Pot (1008). 

116 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

skill kept out of competition with others, you may be sure that you 
know I haven't developed my skill. And when we boast and boast, 
with truth, that we have the most skillful workmen in the world 
afraid of our own prowess, afraid to venture out, afraid to go be- 
yond the road it seems to me, therefore, that we are preaching a 
very unspiriting thing in this campaign. For, if you will let me, I 
will bring the campaign into the [room] for a minute. We are 
preaching nothing less than the original evangel of labor and 

And I, for my part, would not think myself fit to live under that 
flag if I did not believe in those things. That flag was flung to 
the breeze originally to proclaim that this little nation with only 
three million people in it was ready to show the rest of the round 
globe how to be free. And now with between ninety million and a 
hundred millions in it, we have even suppressed the flag so far as 
displaying it in foreign waters is concerned, except occasionally 
upon a yacht. We send certain well-dressed and extremely well- 
mannered gentlemen around the world to take care of the flag and 
to display it at their mastheads. And I am very well satisfied to be 
represented by their manners and their courtesy and all that be 
longs to them, but I don't like to feel that we can't trust our flag 
also to the men who are doing the work in the very act of carrying 
the flag. Freedom is, in the modern world, at any rate, an Amer- 
ican enterprise, and, as an American, I would be ashamed to stand 
for anything but freedom; and, as an American, I should be par- 
ticularly ashamed to invite my fellow countrymen to let me take 
care of them. 


Address Delivered at the Tariff Exhibit of the Democratic 
National Committee^ New York City, September 9 

GOVERNOR WILSON'S second day of canvassing in New York City 
was strenuous. It was filled with fifteen hours of hard work for the 
Democratic cause four speeches and several conferences with party 

Tariff Kindergarten 117 

leaders. In the early forenoon he made a short talk to a meeting of 
the Pure Food Conference at the Colony Club. To this organization, 
sponsored by a group of New York society women, he promised that 
regulation of public health and pure food would be "one of the princi- 
pal features of the campaign." 2 

From the Colony Club the candidate rode to Democratic National 
Headquarters, where he spent two hours conferring with Acting Chair- 
man McAdoo and other Democratic officials about his speaking dates 
in the Middle West; then, shortly past noon, he made his appearance 
at the "Tariff Chamber of Horrors," located in a store building at 
29 Union Square. This exhibit, sponsored by the Democratic National 
Committee, was intended to show how the protective tariff had oper- 
ated to the advantage of the manufacturer and at the expense of the 
consumer. It displayed articles of common use to which had been at- 
tached labels showing the price each item sold for in the United States 
and the purchasing price of the same article with no duty added. 3 

Despite the room temperature of more than one hundred degrees, 
Wilson managed to look cool in his black cutaway coat. He spoke in a 
conversational tone and with deft satire ridiculed the protective tariff, 
pausing now and then to call attention to specific articles on display. 4 

Ladies and gentlemen: 

The first thing that I want to say is that this exhibit was not 
intended for the exhibition of the candidate for the Presidency. 
I am not one of the exhibits. It was intended for very serious pur- 
poses. Mr. Elkus * quoted what I said the other day, and what I 
dare say every man realizes to be true, that if every time we 
bought an article at the price at which it would be sold without 
the tariff, and then had to go down to the customhouse and pay 
the rest, we would see to it that there was some way devised 
[so] t that we would not have to pay the rest, because we would 
realize that we were taxing ourselves and adding artificially to the 
cost of things which are necessary to our lives. 

But what interests me and what I want to point out to you today 
is this: not that we are being imposed upon, because there is a 
sense in which we would be willing to pay large bills in order that 
the United States might be prosperous, but that we are preventing 

* Abram I. Elkus, New York attorney and chairman of the Democratic com- 
mittee in charge of the exhibition at the Tariff Chamber of Horrors, 
t Supplied from text in New "fork Evening Post, Sept. 9. 

118 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

the prosperity of the United States. I think a few moments' reflec- 
tion will show you that is an absolutely true statement, for you will 
observe that there are exhibited in this room articles which are 
sold very much cheaper in other countries articles of American 
manufacture than they are sold in this country; which shows 
that the American is already able to compete in foreign markets, 
that America has already adjusted her methods of manufacture, 
her skill, her resources, her brains, to the markets of the world, 
and that at the same time this very American industry is taxing 
itself upon practically everything that it uses so heavily as to be 
at an unnatural disadvantage in die markets of the world. 

You see what I mean. Any one of us, if a manufacturer, produces 
only one thing or one series of related things I mean every one 
of us except the Standard Oil Company; that seems to make pretty 
nearly everything. I was informed that some of these red cherries 
that are put on various things that we ought not to eat or drink 
were made of paraffin and manufactured by the Standard Oil 
Company. I dare say that that is simply a joke, but it is based upon 
the fact that there is such an extraordinary number of things that 
that company does make out of the oil that comes with such gush- 
ing force out of the bosom of America. 

And to return to my illustration: Every manufacturer makes a 
certain line of goods. All that he uses in making those goods is 
taxed for the benefit of somebody else who is making them. For 
example, the shipbuilder has to pay the taxes on all the materials 
which he uses to put into his ships. Therefore, if he can sell a ship 
abroad, he is selling it at a disadvantage in competition with 
the foreign producer that is marked by the difference between the 
prices that he pays for his raw materials and the prices that the 
foreign producer pays for his raw materials. And if, in spite of the 
fact that every American manufacturer has his industry heavily 
taxed by the tariff levied on the things that he uses, he can, never- 
theless, sell the produce cheaper abroad than he can sell it here, 
what does it mean? It means that, in spite of the tariff, he is doing 
what without the tariff he could do at a greater advantage still; 
and, if he could undersell the foreign man now by ten per cent, 
he might conceivably undersell him by twenty-five or thirty or 
forty per cent; and we are depriving ourselves of the markets of 
the world by laying a burden on American industry. 

That is what I want you to understand. Because we knew that 

Tariff Kindergarten 119 

we were going to pay a little more for things by establishing the 
protective tariff, and we were willing to do so in order that Amer- 
ica might prosper. Now we are making American manufacturers 
themselves pay so much that America can't prosper as she might 
prosper if we took some of these burdens off. I don't have to prove 
this, for here are the proofs surrounding me. They do with their 
present advantages undersell in foreign markets. 

Ah, if the workingmen of this country could only know how 
they have been fooled about the protective tariff working for their 
benefit! Why, if the protective tariff were relieved at a great many 
points, this is what would happen: that American industry would 
take on a new size and speed. There would be a bigger market for 
American labor than there is now. There would be a greater 
variety of enterprise than there is now, and the skill of American 
workmen would dominate the markets of all the globe. 

That is what it would mean. And the American workingman is 
narrowing his own opportunities by standing for the thing which 
is said to get him [higher] wages, when the only thing that ever 
got his wages raised was his own organized endeavor. Because it is 
perfectly [possible] * to prove by authoritative statistics that in 
a great many unprotected industries the laboring men are get- 
ting bigger wages than they are getting in some of the protected 
industries, which in itself is proof enough that protection doesn't 
create the wage scale. It is the circumstances of the trade and the 
endeavors of the workingman that make the scale of wages. 

I would, therefore, hesitate to advocate radical reductions in 
our tariff schedules if I thought those radical reductions were 
going to interfere with the prosperity of the average man in 
America. But I don't. I believe they are going to double and treble 
his prosperity. We are hampering our industry at the very time 
that it is panting to be let free. If in these embarrassing circum- 
stances we can occupy the position that we do now occupy by 
reason of our skill and enterprise in the markets of the world, how 
vastly improved would our position be if we were delivered from 
these trammels! American industry is now in a straitjacket, and 
some force is going to break that restraint. Because, when you 
realize that the American workman really in most instances does 
not get any higher wage in proportion to the purchasing power 

Both "higher" and "possible" were taken from the text in the New York 
Evening Post, Sept 9. 

120 Part 3. Campaigning in New Yorfc 

of money in this country, and in other countries, than the men are 
getting who compete with him in foreign countries in skilled en- 
terprise, you will realize that he himself is carrying a burden. 
What we are now struggling to do is to lift our wages to the prices 
of things. That is all. 

We are told, for example, that meat is high in this country be- 
cause of the limitation of supply. I am informed that there is a 
larger per capita supply of cattle in this country now than there 
was a few years ago, and while prices of meats in this country 
have risen from thirty to forty per cent, they have absolutely stood 
still in England, which doesn't produce enough cattle for her 
people to eat. 

Practically all the cattle that supply England with meat have to 
be brought from the United States or the Argentine Republic, or 
from some other very distant part of the world, and after they 
have paid the ocean freights, you can buy meat in London thirty 
to forty per cent cheaper than you can buy it in New York; and 
the price of meat has not risen a quarter of a cent in London in 
ten years, and it has risen here between thirty and forty per cent 
in ten years. 

Are we going to keep on fooling ourselves forever? Don't you 
know that there is a market on these things? These men don't 
have to adjust the prices of the United States to the prices of the 
world. What I am fighting for, therefore, in this, as in everything 
else, is liberty. I want these men to take their grip off of American 

I want to have it set free. I want to have it set free to master 
the markets of the world, as it will. When you go home after 
looking at these exhibits, therefore, don't go and simply deplore 
the fact that somebody has sold you a sewing machine for thirty 
dollars which you can buy for eighteen dollars in Mexico. Go 
home and reflect upon what that means. That means that America 
would sell a great many more sewing machines if she sold them to 
her own people at eighteen dollars apiece. And she could afford 
to sell them to her own people at eighteen dollars apiece, and by 
doing so it would quicken the very industry which a great many 
superficial reasoners tell you you are damaging by removing the 

It is amazing to me that the vast intelligent population of this 
country has been so long duped and deceived. I suppose it is be- 

Tariff Kindergarten 121 

cause statistics are such dry reading. All you have got to do is to 
turn to any authoritative report and see that you have got such a 
grip by the tariff law on American industry that you are not allow- 
ing yourselves to prosper. And yet it is done in the name of pros- 

Let's all subscribe to a declaration of independence, of intellect- 
ual independence, that we won't allow anybody to impose on 
our understandings any longer. There is one thing that is a little 
mortifying about an exhibit like this, that people have to be 
brought to a kindergarten to understand, that if you told them 
merely in figures for how much less they could buy these same 
things abroad than they could buy them here, it wouldn't make 
any impression upon them. And now you have got to bring the 
object, and say: "Now, my dear boy, this thing which you observe 
is a sewing machine, and is made in America, mind you, and can 
be bought for a great deal less outside of the United States than 
inside of the United States. Now, go home and talk it over with 
your parents, and see what it means." 

That is kindergarten, and most of the people here that I notice, 
unless there are some children hid in the crowd, have passed the 
kindergarten age. Haven't we about passed the kindergarten stage 
in politics? Oughtn't we to be able to see without touching? 
Oughtn't we to be able to conceive the interests of the nation 
without having the items pointed out to us one by one in such 
form that we can touch them with our fingers? 

When once America has got out of her swaddling clothes, when 
once America has gone to school to her own natural intelligence, 
then we shall have another period of absolute independence, not 
only, but of unexampled prosperity. And Americans will some day 
turn back and thank God that they had leaders at one time who 
showed them that they had been imposed upon, and pointed out 
to them the way by which they could not merely relieve their 
pockets, but save themselves. 

Part 3. Campaigning in New Yorfc 

Delivered in New Yorfc City, September 9 

As HE LEFT the tariff exhibit, Wilson was forced to rely on several 
policemen to plow a way through the crowd of admirers in the street 
outside. Their insistent demands compelled him to speak briefly, again 
on the tariff, to a crowd of three thousand persons in Union Square. 2 
Following more conferences with party leaders, Wilson made his 
appearance that evening as guest of honor at the New York Press Club. 
Here he found himself the subject of much raillery, both before and 
after his speech. Like a good sport, he joined in the fun and laughed 
heartily upon hearing Press Club members sing several parodies at his 
expense. One of these, on "Tommy Atkins," particularly caught his 
fancy. 8 

Charles R. Macauley, president of the Press Club and cartoonist for 
the New Yorfc World, afforded additional amusement by calling on 
Joseph R. Wilson, city editor of the Nashville Banner, to introduce his 
distinguished brother, Governor Wilson. Surprised and somewhat 
flustered at first, the Democratic nominee's "kid" brother, after saying 
that "family modesty" forbade him talking much about his older 
brother, presented him as "the next President of the United States." * 

Whimsically thanking his younger brother for not revealing any 
family secrets, the Democratic candidate launched into a spirited 
political speech that had some of the club members yelling and stand- 
ing on their chairs before it was over. 6 It was another extemporaneous 
speech, although it followed in a general way the arguments set forth 
in the advance text. 

As an address it is uneven in quality, but it illustrates in a striking 
way both the advantages and the dangers of Wilson's extemporaneous 
campaigning, containing as it does passages of superb eloquence which 
sometimes almost reach the realm of poetry, and on the other hand 
a free use of the vernacular, not to mention some instances of awkward 
phrasing. Moreover, Wilson fell into the pitfall which presidential 
candidates in more recent times have tried to avoid by a strict ad- 
herence to prepared texts of making a statement that could be lifted 
easily out of context and used as a weapon by his opponents. Perhaps 
being carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment, he declared: 
"The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental 

New York Press Club 


power, not the increase of it." 6 This remark, taken out of context, 
could be cited as evidence of Wilson's not being a true believer in the 
progressive doctrine that governmental intervention for the general 
welfare was justifiable. At the first opportunity Roosevelt gleefully 
pounced upon this part of the New York Press Club speech and at San 
Francisco called Wilson's statement "laissez-faire doctrine of the Eng- 
lish political economists of three-quarters a century ago." 7 Time and 
again during the remainder of the campaign the Bull Moose candidate 
repeated this charge. 


m , . . , f OYermnental power and you wi 

trial life of this country into a cKaotic scramble of selfish interest., each bent on plundering the 
others, and all bent on oppressing the wage-worker." ROOSEVELT at San Francisco. 

A cartoonist of a Progressive Republican newspaper ridiculed Wilson's "history of 
liberty" statement at the New York Press Club. From Boston Journal 

124 Part 3. Campaigning in New Yorfc 

Mr. Toastmaster: 

I count it very handsome of a kid brother not to have given me 
away. When he got to his feet, I trembled in the anticipation of 
what might be revealed. But the Wilsons are discreet. 

It is customary to say, particularly on interesting occasions like 
this, that it is very gratifying to be present; but I can say it with 
more than the customary zest because, without thinking too highly 
of newspapermen, I do realize that they are men who when you 
get close to them can understand more things in five minutes than 
most other men can understand in half an hour. I am not promis- 
ing that I'll be through in five minutes. And to speak seriously, 
whether the very gracious predictions as to what I am to be that 
have been made this evening are verified or not, I shall at least 
for a few weeks enjoy a very much coveted privilege; for I have 
long coveted the privilege of discussing with my fellow citizens 
the affairs of the country as if I were not a candidate but a citizen 
of the country. 

It seems to me that it is high time that even those who ha^ e 
parties themselves to commend to the approval of the country 
should speak of our public affairs with absolute candor and with- 
out attempting to overstate even the claims of the parties which 
they themselves try to represent. Because my dream of politics 
all my life has been that it is the common business, that it is some- 
thing we owe it to each other to understand, and owe it to each 
other to discuss with absolute frankness; for when we discuss the 
questions pending in a political campaign, we are not only deter- 
mining in whose hands the government shall be placed but for 
what purposes the government is to be used when placed in those 
hands. And it makes a great deal of difference whether we have 
a candid understanding beforehand with one another or not. I 
should be ashamed of myself if I tried to obscure or misstate the 
pending problems, and I promised myself as I came here tonight 
the privilege, if I might, of setting the scene of the present con- 
test and trying to point out as clearly as I could what seemed to 
me to be involved. 

Whatever we may say about the particular character in detail of 
the problems that we are now facing, the fundamental problem 
of all is to set our government free to deal with them. Because, if 
there be any tithe of truth in the things which we have said are 

New "fork Press Club 125 

now entangling our politics and making just action impossible, it 
is true that in past decades the government of the United States 
has not been free to act in the interest of all of us. It has had spe- 
cial rather than general connections. And it is the problem of the 
present campaign to set it free for action. When it is set free, what 
is it to do? Why, it seems to me that it is to do a very great thing. 
It is to save civilization and humanity. 

When we set up this government, we deliberately set ourselves 
at the front of the enterprises of civilization and of humanity. We 
said: "Governments hitherto have not been suited to the general 
interest. We are going to set up a government that is. Govern- 
ments hitherto have not been interested in the general advance- 
ment of the welfare of men of all classes and conditions. This 
government shall be." We are not at liberty as Americans, if we 
maintain the standards which we professed at the outset, to treat 
our government as if it were merely the instrument for party con- 
trol, and as if parties were merely the instruments for putting 
first the interests of this class and then the interests of the other 
at the front. 

Now, if we are to free our government to serve civilization and 
humanity, what are we going to do in the present campaign? I am 
not going to pretend that we shall find a perfect means of doing 
either of these things. I simply want to put before us a compara- 
tive study of the means that are at our disposal to accomplish this 
thing. I am going to discuss the claims of three parties as the con- 
dition to undertake this task. I am leaving out the other parties, of 
which there are a number, not out of any disrespect to them, for 
some of them profess very noble purposes, but merely because of 
the more than likelihood, the certainty, that they will not be able 
to get control of the government of the country. Let's confine our- 
selves then to three parties. 

If you want to set the government free, can you employ the 
party that entangled it? Can you employ the regular Republican 
party? My implication in asking that question is not that any set 
of our public men deliberately made partnerships which rendered 
it impossible for them to serve the people. Moreover, I want in 
every such discussion to discriminate between that great part of 
my fellow citizens who have usually voted the Republican ticket 
and that small body of my fellow citizens who have usually mis- 
led them into voting it. For the leaders of the Republican party 

126 Part 3. Campaigning in New Yorfc 

are one thing; and the Republican party's rank and file is a very 
different thing, constituting some half of the American nation. 
And I am quite ready to admit that the leaders who have led these 
voters to do things which would not inure to the interests of the 
country would not intend to pursue any impolitic or deleterious 
course. I am not uttering an indictment. I am simply pointing out 
what I believe most of you will admit to be the facts. 

The Republican party by reason of the tariff policy in particular 
has tied the administration of this government up to certain great 
interests, chiefly by the means of campaign contributions, so thor- 
oughly and in such a complicated fashion that it is unreasonable to 
suppose that the very next administration should seek to do what 
this administration has not even attempted to do. If there were 
symptoms that the present administration had attempted to do 
this, if there were symptoms that the present administration had 
pursued any consistent course whatever by which we would be 
able to calculate the orbit of another administration of the same 
sort, then perhaps the case would need argument. But it does not 
seem to me to need argument. It speaks for itself. 

I am not going to detain you to analyze further the answer to 
the question, "Can we set the government free and save civiliza- 
tion and humanity through the Republican party?" 

I am . . .* one of those who entertain a very great respect for 
the history of the Republican party. I do not see how any man, 
though like myself bred a Democrat from the beginning, can fail 
to realize with how great a purpose it came into existence and 
how high a destiny for the time it pursued. The entanglements 
of modern economic development set a very different scene for 
the Republican party from that which was set forth when it came 
upon the field of action. I am discussing only the year 1912 and 
trying to forecast the years which will follow the year 1912. 

Well, if not the regular Republican party, to whom shall we 
turn? There is a new party which it is difficult to characterize be- 
cause it is made up of several elements. As I see it, it is made up 
of three elements in particular. The first consists of those Repub- 
licans whose consciences and whose stomachs couldn't stand what 
the regular Republicans were doing. They were called at first in 
New Jersey "New Idea" Republicans, when it was a new idea that 
a Republican could do wrong. Later in other states they came to 

* Because of the context, the editor has omitted a "not" in the Swem Notes. 

New York Press Club 127 

be called "insurgent Republicans'* Republicans, that is to say, 
[who] were setting up an insurrection against the control of their 
own party. And now the insurrectos are outside and have set up 
for themselves and constitute a very important element, perhaps 
the largest element in the new party. 

But added to this element is one that interests me very deeply. 
A great many men and women of noble character, of the most 
elevated purpose, have joined themselves to that party because 
in the platform adopted by that party most of the reforms (which 
ought a long time ago to have been undertaken but most of which 
have been absolutely ignored by political parties) have been 
embodied. Irrespective of the present, I venture to conjecture, 
these high-spirited men and women believe that this combination 
of forces may in the future bring them out upon a plane [where] 
they can accomplish these things which their hearts have so long 
desired. I take off my hat to those people. I sympathize with their 
impulses. I have not a word of criticism of them for allying them- 
selves with any force, any honorable force, which they think can 
accomplish these things. 

Then there is a third element in the new party of which the less 
said the better. To discuss it would be interesting only if I could 
mention names and I have forbidden myself that indulgence. 

It is not a homogeneous party, therefore. You see it is made 
up of elements old and new, made up of some elements that are 
only absolutely new in politics, because they have never before 
distinctly aligned themselves with a political party. 

And the question that arises when we ask ourselves, "Shall we 
put the government in the hands of that party?" is this: Can it 
carry out this program of social betterment and reform? I don't 
know how to test that matter out, to answer that question, except 
by examining the portion of the program which seems to be dis- 
tinctly political rather than social. Because let me remind you that 
the problem we start out with is: We want a free political in- 
strument by which to do these things. If we can't get it, that can't 
be the party instrument. 

You have in this new party two things: a political party and 
a body of social reformers. Will the political party contained in it 
be serviceable to the social reformers? I do not think that I am 
mistaken in picking out as the political part of that platform the 
part which determines how the government is going to stand 

128 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

related to the central problems upon which its freedom depends. 
The freedom of the government of the United States depends 
upon getting separated from, disentangled from, those interests 
which have enjoyed, chiefly enjoyed, the patronage of that gov- 
ernment. Because the trouble with the tariff is not that it has 
been protective, for in recent years it has been much more than 
protective. It has been one of the most colossal systems of delib- 
erate patronage that has ever been conceived. And the main 
trouble with it is that the protection stops where the patronage 
begins; and that if you could lop off the patronage, you would 
have taken away most of the objectionable features of the so- 
called protection. 

This patronage, this special privilege, these favors doled out to 
some persons and not to all, have been the basis of the control 
which has been set up over the industries and enterprises of this 
country by great combinations; because we forgot, in permitting 
a regime of free competition to last so long, that the competitors 
had ceased to be individuals or small groups of individuals, and 
it had come to be a competition between individuals or small 
groups on the one hand and enormous aggregations of individuals 
and capital on the other; and that, after that contrast in strength 
had been created in fact, competition, free competition, was out 
of the question that it was then possible for the powerful to 
crush the weak. 

That isn't competition; that is warfare. And because we did not 
check the free competition soon enough, because we did not check 
it at the point where pigmies entered the field against giants, we 
have created a condition of affairs in which the control of industry, 
and to a large extent the control of credit in this country upon 
which industry feeds and in which all new enterprises must be 
rooted, is in the hands of a comparatively small and very compact 
body of men. These are the gentlemen who have in some in- 
stances, perhaps in more than has been exhibited by legal proof, 
engaged in what we are now expected to call "unreasonable com- 
binations in restraint of trade." They have indulged themselves 
beyond reason in the exercise of that power which makes com- 
petition practically impossible. 

Very well then, the test of our freedom for the next generation 
lies here. Are we going to take that power away from them or are 

New Yorfc Press Club 129 

we going to leave it with them? You can take it away from them 
if you regulate competition and make it impossible for them to 
do some of the things which they have been doing. You leave it 
with them if you legitimatize and regulate monopoly. And what 
the platform of the new party proposes to do is exactly that. 

It proposes to start where we are, and without altering the 
established conditions of competition which are conditions which 
affect it. We shall say what these giants shall do and to what the 
pigmies shall submit. We shall do that not by law, for if you will 
read the plank in its candid statement (for it is perfectly candid) 
you will find that it rejects regulation by law and proposes a com- 
mission which shall have the discretion itself to undertake what 
the plank calls "constructive regulation." It shall make its rules 
as it goes along. As it handles these giants so shall it shape its 
course. That, gentlemen, is nothing more than a legitimated con- 
tinuation of the present order of things, with the alliance between 
the great interests and the government open instead of covered. 

There will then be nothing wrong in the alliance. The alliance 
will be accepted into the policy of the nation, and we shall simply 
say to one another, "Big as these men are, the federal government 
is bigger than they are; and we will depend upon the federal 
government to take care of them." But, gentlemen, that depends 
upon who takes care of the federal government. If you make it 
necessary, in order that they may have a comparatively free hand 
in the conduct of their colossal business, that they control the 
government, what is to prevent their controlling a government 
which for a generation they have already controlled? In other 
words, instead of setting your government free you have consented 
to a continuation and perpetuation of the existing alliance be- 
tween the government and big business. 

This alliance may be perfectly unimpeachable on the ground of 
honesty, and I am not intimating that there will be colossal cor- 
ruption. I am merely pointing out that there will be a union of 
power between them, an inevitable union of power. And I say to 
these noble men and women who have allied themselves with 
that party because of the social program: Who will guarantee to 
us that this machine will be just and pitiful? Do we conceive 
social betterment to lie in the pitiful use of irresistible power? Or 
do we conceive it to arise out of the irresistible might of a body 

130 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

of free men? Has justice ever grown in the soil of absolute power? 
Has not justice always come from the press of the heart and spirit 
of men who resist power? * 

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has al- 
ways come from the subjects of the government. The history of 
liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history 
of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.f 
Do these gentlemen dream that in the year 1912 we have dis- 
covered a unique exception to the movement of human history? 
Do they dream that the whole character of those who exercise 
power has changed, that it is no longer a temptation? Above all 
things else, do they dream that men are bred great enough now 
to be a Providence to the people over whom they preside? 

Great kings have been born into the world, gentlemen, men 
with big enough hearts to include their kingdoms, men with big 
enough brains to comprehend anything that can come within the 
scope of their understanding. But there are only twenty-four hours 
in the day of a king, as there are only twenty-four hours in the 
day of the humblest workman. And no brain in its twenty-four- 
hour day can comprehend the complex business of a nation. 

Representative government, representative assemblies are nec- 
essary; not because their individual units are wise, but because 
their individual units are various; because, picked out of every 
class and condition, they speak what no ordinary man can speak 
the voice of all classes and conditions. 

* When Roosevelt made his San Francisco speech attacking Wilson's "history 
of liberty" statement, he had not read this paragraph which emphasizes the latter's 
belief that justice comes from the people themselves. Roosevelt himself stated that 
he was basing his criticisms of Wilson's New York Press Club speech on the 
text that appeared in the "Tribune," meaning the New York Tribune, which 
omitted this paragraph. See above, p. 8. Roosevelt was not well supplied with 
copies of Wilson's speeches at this particular time. See Oscar King Davis, Released 
for Publication: Some Inside Political History of Theodore Roosevelt and His 
Times, 1898-1918 (Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin, 1925), pp. 353-4. 

t Roosevelt called this statement "the key to Mr. Wilson's position," and de- 
nounced it as "a mere bit of professorial rhetoric, which has not one particle of 
foundation in the facts of the present day." Then he went on to say that the 
Progressive Republicans proposed "to increase the power of the people them- 
selves, and make the people in reality the governing class. Therefore Mr. Wilson's 
proposal is really to limit the power of the people and thereby to leave unchecked 
the colossal, embodied privileges of the present day." See San Francisco Examiner, 
Sept 15. This was by no means an accurate analysis, for Wilson was opposing a 
government that favored a special group (i.e. big business) and was advocating 
control of the government by the people. 

New fork Press Club 131 

The voice of a nation never came from any single lips except 
occasionally in a lyric or in some burst of inspiration on the part of 
a truly great poet from whose imperishable words there seemed to 
come a song that did embody the impulse of a great people. But 
you can't translate poetry into polity. You can't translate even the 
song of a people into the measures which will safeguard its life, 
and no poet had ever vision enough to conceive a body of meas- 
ures which would suffice for that purpose. 

A very interesting thing happened I don't know whether it 
was an editorial accident or not. Mr. Roosevelt spoke, as you re- 
member, before the constitutional convention in Ohio last spring. 
I happened to be on a railway journey when he delivered the 
speech, and the paper I picked out the morning after he had de- 
livered it was the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.* On the front page in 
large headlines were words that indicated that Mr. Roosevelt had 
adopted the whole program of radicalism. The story ran with the 
quotation of the speech for two or three columns I have for- 
gotten how much and then said "continued on page four." ( Let's 
see, I have forgotten what page it was. ) And on the top of page 
four, when I turned to it, were these words, "Mr. Roosevelt Out- 
lines Conservative Program." Walter Measday f here was with me; 
he can corroborate this circumstance. And the point of the story is 
this: that that was the correct caption on the fourth page; that the 
sentiment of the speech, the sympathy of the speech in the first 
part was with the radical ideas; and the program of the speech was 
conceived for the purpose of showing how big business and the 
government could live on amicable terms with one another. It was 
in substance then a very interesting article which Mr. Roosevelt 
previous to that time had written for and published in the Out- 
look, a very interesting article indeed which is the progenitor of 
the corresponding planks in the present platform. 

Now, I say that that way lies no thoroughfare for social reform, 
and that those who are hopeful of social reform through the in- 
strumentality of that party ought to realize that in the very plat- 
form itself is supplied demonstration that it is not a serviceable 
instrument. They do propose to serve civilization and humanity, 

* Wilson was referring to the speech at Columbus, Ohio, in which Roosevelt 
advocated giving the people the right to recall judicial decisions on constitutional 
questions they considered wrong, 

f Measday was Wilson's political secretary during the campaign of 1912. 

132 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

but they can't serve civilization and humanity with that kind of 

If I am right about that, you know what you have got to do 
you have got to choose the Democratic party. There are several 
things that I want to take leave to say about the Democratic party. 
The Democratic party has no entangling alliances, and the most 
grudging Republican will admit that, even though he adds that 
that is for the very good reason that they haven't had a chance to 
form them; that not having any political assets to offer in the 
partnership, they have not found acceptable partners; having 
nothing to trade with, there was no trade. The most grudging of 
you will have to admit that, whether from virtue or necessity, the 
Democratic party has no entangling alliances. 

But I, as a Democrat, will add that it is very strange to me if a 
party was inclined to trade that it refrained from trading for six- 
teen years. A voluntary exile of sixteen years is very unusual. And 
when you remember that all those sixteen years this party has had 
the same provisions and the same program that it has in the year 
1912, what does it mean? Doesn't it mean that the Democratic 
party foresaw the year 1912 before any other party did and had 
prepared its mind and its heart for the present year a half a genera- 
tion ago? 

Now, a very large proportion of the people of the United States 
... all those years have persistently belonged to the minority 
though most of them (for example, in such states as Vermont) 
knew that it was always going to be a minority; though some of 
them were laughed at, were scoffed at; though some of them to 
my certain knowledge were called fools for their pains because 
they wouldn't get on to the winning side and get the profits and 
preferences that might come from being on the winning side. Not- 
withstanding contempt and temptation, these people have voted 
in a minority for half a generation because they believed that 
Thomas Jefferson was right. They didn't know what Thomas Jef- 
ferson had said, but they knew that he had said something which 
if the people of the United States would only believe in ... in 
sufficient numbers, they would set their government free. They 
couldn't have expounded to you any doctrine of Thomas Jefferson, 
but they knew there was some virtue in the conception and imag- 
ination of that great man which had shone and illuminated the 
path of liberty. And so they called themselves "Jdfersonian Demo- 

New York Press Club 133 

crats." They set their theme and called themselves "Jeffersonian 
Democrats" and said they would see other people in wanner re- 
gions before they gave him up. So that they have gone through a 
long series of years of purification, because you don't stay in a 
minority sixteen years without growing thoughtful. 

You can be in a majority without knowing why just by the 
common instinct of the crowd. You can be in a majority just by 
the instinct that has been in you, ever since a boy, to climb on the 
band wagon. And you can be in the majority. The majority can 
go out and whoop without thinking anything about it, but the 
minority stands on the side lines and sees the game played and 
thinks how it might be better played if there were better umpires 
and better rules to the games and better all sorts of things. So 
that not because if I may be permitted to say so not because 
they didn't have anything to sefi but because they had what they 
wouldn't sell, Democrats have been in a minority. Now, when 
the year has come in which the whole country turns to them and 
says, "Why, after all it may be that you were right," they stand 
up and say: "Yes, we were right. Now will you set your govern- 
ment free, or won't you? Will you trust it? Will you trust it to men 
who are willing to stay out in the cold rather than get warm on 
terms that they won't pay for? Here is a free party which can set 
up a free government." 

I can say without even a touch of personal reference, almost, 
that the Democratic party at least has a candidate [who] by cir- 
cumstance, or whatever way you may explain it, is not attached 
to any interest whatever. The alchemy that accomplished that was 
practiced at Baltimore, not merely practiced at my birth, because 
I was born a very pugnacious person. 

Now in these circumstances, gentlemen (for I have tried to be, 
so far as my lights served me, absolutely frank about this analy- 
sis), in the face of all of these circumstances, isn't it rational in 
this situation that the voters of this country should try the Demo- 
cratic party again? And isn't the Democratic party in a better 
position than it was ever in before? Isn't the Democratic party 
the very party which is old-fashioned enough to believe that the 
processes of liberty have not been reversed; that liberty is not to 
be got from the government but that liberty is to be got from 
the self-assertion of the people? 

The fortunate circumstance of our time is that the people of 

134 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

this country are wide-awake and know what they are looking at. 
... I believe almost for the first time in our lifetime except 
those of us who look back to a period which I don't remember 
almost for the first time in our lifetime the people of this country 
are looking to see things as they are, and are going to choose upon 
the basis of reality and not upon the basis of fancied party loyalty 
or of any imaginative thing whatever. Therefore, if we are not 
frank, we must make a virtue of necessity and submit to defeat. 
Because the people are not going to trust those who do not trust 
them, are not going to trust those who do not believe that they, 
the people, are trustworthy. 

Nothing has disturbed me more in recent months than the 
evident circumstance that some distinguished regular Republican 
orators when they spoke of the people evidently didn't include 
themselves. I don't think I can have been deceived about that. 
They are constantly speaking of what should be done for the 
people. Now who am I to do something for the people unless I 
conceive myself to be one of the people? I'm generous enough to 
include them when I speak of the people. I want them to be in- 
telligent enough to include me, and until we can include one an- 
other, there is no basis for conference whatever. We can't get 
together on the theory that some of us have to take care of the 
rest of us. 

We are not going to vote sentimentally. We have made a mess 
of voting sentimentally. We have made a mess of being disinclined 
to vote tickets which our fathers wouldn't vote. The number of 
men who are tied to the tradition of their fathers when their 
fathers lived in an absolutely different age, in circumstances which 
have now absolutely disappeared, who are yet voting precisely as 
their fathers voted, shows how long we remain children and how 
long it takes us to grow up and reach years of discretion and 
majority. There are men who have told me within a day that they 
were for the first time in their lives going to vote the Democratic 
ticket, with an evident expression on their faces which meant this: 
"It seems incredible. It is a violation of the whole moral creed of 
my family. I am not sure that I can die comfortably and encounter 
the old man again, but some extravagant impulse of insurrection 
has got the better of me and I am actually going to vote the 
Democratic ticket." One would think that it was a violation of the 
law of nature, that they were expecting to do something unnatural. 

Atlantic City 135 

And so I say that they are still tied up to sentiment and that no 
vote should be cast upon sentiment, except upon rare occasions, 
upon the sentiment of patriotic devotion. 

There are some things occasionally, I dare say but I can't think 
of another just on the spur of the moment but I dare say there 
are moments when we must sink our own opinion because there 
is some danger threatening the country and we must all act from 
some unified patriotism. I suppose if a war were threatening us 
which endangered the independence of the nation we wouldn't 
stop to remember whether we voted Republican or Democratic. 
We would vote to sustain the government. But those are very rare 
occasions. A vote for business, a vote for an intellectual judgment, 
a vote for the conclusion of a man who loves those who are de- 
pendent upon him, loves his city, loves his state, has some reasoned 
conviction with regard to what is best for them and what is bad 
for them. And [whoever] deposits his vote [has] a choice. If it 
isn't a choice, it doesn't mean anything at all. Therefore, we must 
be absolutely candid with ourselves. Accept my conclusions or 
reject them, but make this comparison of the three parties for 
yourselves and make a choice on this basis: Shall we can we set 
our government free? Can we get a government that will serve 
civilization and humanity? 

September 10 

NEXT MORNING Wilson went by train to Atlantic City, where the 
Spanish-American War veterans were in convention. He arrived in 
time to have lunch at the Hotel Chalfonte and subsequently review a 
parade of the veterans. 1 In the evening he addressed an estimated five 
thousand of them, plus their wives, children, and friends, in the large 
hall on the Steel Pier. His speech was nonpolitical, being concerned 
principally with the large issues of peace and war, but is of interest as 
a preview of the rational idealism which was to distinguish his think- 
ing as a war president and as the champion of the League of Nations. 
He distinguished, also, between wars for righteous causes and those 
fought for selfish purposes and "ugly ambitions." 2 

136 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

"I am an advocate of peace," he declared, "and yet I must say that 
there are some splendid things that come to a nation by the discipline 
of war." He meant, he said, the banding together during wartime of 
men from different sections and walks of life to serve a common and 
essentially unselfish cause. And peace, he said, referring to an article by 
Samuel McCord Crothers, 8 would supplant war as a unifying force 
only when it was made as "handsome" as war, only when peacetime 
services to one's country were accorded the same honors as those 
rendered in wartime. "If a man offers his life for a thing that does not 
bring him profit, shall we not say that he is distinguished among his 
fellows? Now, when men spend their lives in peace not merely for their 
own private profit, but as the conscious servants of a great nation, there 
will be no more war, and peace will be as distinguished as war. Then 
we will hang up the symbols of peace in our households and say 'Our 
son served humanity/ " 

September 11 

THE FOLLOWING day Wilson journeyed to Jersey City. He arrived 
there shortly before noon and reviewed a parade of the Hudson County 
Democrats. 1 Afterwards he spoke briefly in front of the city hall, pre- 
dicting that the Democrats would win by a large majority in Hudson 
County. "There is so much enthusiasm," he said, "that it is very easy 
to make a speech. There was a time, I dare say, when we had to pump 
pretty hard to get enthusiasm in expectation of victory, but now we 
don't have to pump at all, because we are on the right side." 2 

After this talk he went by automobile to New York, where he relaxed 
at the hotel apartment of his brother, Joseph R. Wilson. In the evening 
he and his brother attended a performance of "The Mind-the-Paint Girl" 
starring Billie Burke. At 11:00 P.M. he boarded his private railway car 
at Grand Central Station. An hour and a half later he was on his way 
to Syracuse, New York. 8 

New YorJfc State Fair 137 


Delivered at the State Fair Grounds, near Syracuse, 
New York, September 12 

WILSON had arranged with State Fair officials to deliver a nonpolitical 
speech at the Fair Grounds, near Syracuse. During his visit there he 
had hoped to steer clear of the factional strife that was rending the 
New York Democratic party. Above all else, he had wanted to avoid 
doing anything that would associate him with Tammany, for his sym- 
pathies lay with the group of progressive Democrats, fighting against 
the renomination of Governor John A. Dix, who was being backed by 
Charles F. Murphy, Tammany boss. 2 

In Syracuse, on the morning of September 12, the Democratic nomi- 
nee found that he had been tricked; the State Fair officials had ar- 
ranged to parade him before the public in the company of Dix and 
Murphy. Caught off guard, he could not avoid a meeting with Dix and 
a perfunctory introduction to Murphy, but before the day was over 
he had caused the Tammany men many headaches. 8 

Wilson's address at the State Fair Grounds, late in the morning, had 
an angry undertone. At the outset he attempted to deal only with "im- 
plicit politics" while he discussed the tariff, but in spite of himself he 
was soon talking "explicit politics" in no uncertain terms. 

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen: 

There are all sorts of occasions upon which I am told that it is 
not proper to talk politics. But there are two kinds of politics 
explicit and implicit. Today I am going to talk implicit politics. If 
I occasionally err to the habit of the moment and talk explicit 
politics, it will only be between the lines. 

I am very much embarrassed nowadays at being introduced in 
terms which describe and always exaggerate my intellectual gifts, 
because I find that my intellectual gifts are very offensive to my 
opponents; and I would not do them an intentional discourtesy. 
Because, whenever argument touches the raw and goes to the 
quick, whenever you show that you know what the facts are and 

138 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

what they mean, then it is hurled back at you that you are "aca- 
demic/' * 

The only way not to be academic apparently is not to know 
what you are talking about and not to understand the significance 
of the facts you are discussing. Argument is academic; assertion is 
manhood. Therefore, I will indulge in as little argument as pos- 
sible, [or] rather, I will conceal the arguments that I use as care- 
fully as possible. I will use them in the guise of assertions rather 
than in the guise of close reasoning. After all, it doesn't require 
very much close reasoning to see what is going on in our day. 
After all it is open to anybody who has eyes to see what the situa- 
tion of the country is and what it is necessary to do. It requires 
only a very little amateur analysis to see how much of it is likely 
to be done under some of the proposals that are submitted to you. 
Because we have grown up; we are no longer children; we can't 
be imposed upon. 

When I look abroad upon a company like this, I always make 
up my mind that I am not going to talk about a special topic. There 
are various reasons why I should not discuss agriculture. The best 
reason is that I don't know anything about it, and one of my in- 
tellectual gifts is to keep off of subjects that I don't understand. I 
suppose that discretion is an intellectual gift. At any rate it is an 
intellectual gift to know when and that you don't know anything, 
and after all it is a great deal more profitable on some occasions to 
discuss those things which concern all of us alike. 

Now, the people gathered here are not interested in politics as a 
means of preferring one party to another party. They are interested 
in politics as part of their lives, and they know that politics touches 
their lives. They know that there are some things that the govern- 
ment might do that would make living easier, and that there are 
things that government does not do that make living very hard to 
bear indeed. 

You may say what you will about the analysis of public ques- 
tions, but whether it is possible for us to live or not is the funda- 
mental question. Whether we go to our work in the morning full 
of hope and elasticity or not, whether we go home at night over- 
done and discouraged or not, whether we feel that if we but ex- 
pend our energy we shall have our reward, or that no matter how 

* In a speech at Spokane, Washington, Roosevelt had labeled Wilson as too 
"academic." See extract of Roosevelt's speech in Chicago Daily Tribune, Sept 10. 

New York State Fair 139 

much we expend our energy we will get not enough reward to 
make it possible to pay the bills, that, after all, is what concerns us. 
And we have a right to look to the government not to support us 
but to remove the obstacles to our individual self-support. 

When the question of high prices is pressed home upon the men 
in this, that, and the other manufacturing industries, they reply, 
"Prices have risen all over the world." Yes, they have. But nowhere 
have they risen so fast or so high as in the United States. That is 
the answer to that. They say they have risen all over the world. 
Yes, they have, and they have risen faster and higher in high-tariff 
countries than in low-tariff countries. There again intellectual gifts 
stand in the way of the assertion; because you don't have to have 
very much brains to read statistics, and statistics are open to every 
man which show that the United States is burdened with the cost 
of living as no other country in the world is. There must be some- 
thing special in the United States which makes that true. 

In order to get at what is the special thing, let us take a par- 
ticular example. Take the price of meat, and the price of meat is 
at the heart of the business because it is meat that makes the 
blood red. It's meat that builds the muscle; it's meat that makes 
the work easier. And if a man can't afford to buy meat, he can't 
afford to exert his energy as he might afford to exert it if he could 
eat meat. Very well then, the price of meat has gone up in the 
United States thirty and forty per cent within ten years, and the 
price of American meat has not gone up ... a fraction of a cent 
per pound in the London markets. American meat is selling 
cheaper in England by thirty or forty per cent than it is selling in 
the United States. And when gentlemen who are engaged in this 
monopoly tell me that it is because of the circumstances of local 
supply and demand, I ask them how it is that local supply and 
demand, how it is that economic laws change when you put the 
product on salt water and send it across. What is the effect of salt 
water on economic processes? There are a great many chemists 
here. I would like them to take that question up. 

Why, if meat can't be sold cheaper in this country, can the same 
meat be sold cheaper three thousand miles away from this coun- 
try after paying the ocean freights and after paying all the other 
expenses that are incidental to the killing and preparation of meat 
that is sold in our own markets? Why, you know the reason per- 
fectly well, gentlemen. The reason is this: Gentlemen who are 

140 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

afraid of intellectual processes tell you that high prices aren't due 
to the tariff. It is true that the tariff did not at one time make prices 
very much higher in the United States, and 111 tell you why. Be- 
cause the United States is an immense area within which there 
are no tariff duties as between one part and another. While there 
was active, energetic, domestic competition, prices were kept 
down; and the argument for protection when there is domestic 
competition is a very different argument from the argument for 
protection when there is not domestic competition. 

This wall of the tariff enabled certain gentlemen to get behind 
it and to say: "Now we are all of us together, secure against for- 
eign competition. Why cut one another's throats? Why not get 
together?" And alas, they did get together, and they determined 
the price of meat even without running the danger of coming into 
collision with some of the provisions of the law. For I can say to 
you: "Now we are in the same business, it would be a little danger- 
ous if we made a ... combination of our two businesses . . . ; 
it wouldn't be legal.* Therefore, we won't combine, but we will 
appoint a third person who will write us a polite note about every 
two weeks suggesting that the price of our product should be thus 
and so; and we will agree as gentlemen to go without any writing 
in the matter. Then we will take the suggestions." That is what 
the meat men did. I am not imagining this. It came out in the 
trial of the meat packers, t There was a circular letter which in the 
politest terms suggested the appropriate prices for the various 
kinds of meat, and with a gentility quite unsurpassed in the his- 
tory of business etiquette the suggestion was always accepted. 
What law can prevent your accepting a suggestion? 

But suppose that, if you do accept the suggestion, you find meat 
from the Argentine, meat from South America (the same meat 
with which you are competing in the London markets and in the 
other English markets) will come in and undersell you. Then you 
will see, after all, it would be a little awkward to accept that sug- 
gestion. Tell me that high prices are not due to the tariff! The 
tariff gave these men the chance to do the thing which has pro- 
duced the high prices. 

* Wilson seems to have faltered somewhat in this sentence. 

t Wilson was probably referring lo the antitrust case against the "Beef Trust," 
Swift and Co. t>. United States ( 1905). See Eliot Jones, The Trust Problem in the 
United States (New York, Macmillan, 1028), pp. 403-5. 

New York State Fair 141 

But I beg your pardon, I am indulging in an intellectual process. 
(By the way, just between you and me I repeat a high compli- 
ment. The other day I was told that I looked like the American 
eagle, a family that any man might be pleased to belong to.) 

Now the case of meat is not a case by itself. It is just a sample 
taken out of a list so long that it includes practically all the neces- 
saries of life, particularly something that it is very common to 
allude to, I mean that famous Schedule K which includes the 
woolen tariff. I met a man the other day who took my breath 
away. He said: "Governor, you are dead right and I am going to 
support you. I have got something to tell you. I am a woolen 
manufacturer and I am interested in Schedule K." "Well," I said, 
"I have found a man then." I said, "You know that it is wrong, 
don't you?" He said, "I do know that it is wrong and it should 
be changed." And one of the bright signs of our times, gentle- 
men, is the number of men of high integrity and intelligence who 
are beginning to see that they themselves have been profiting by 
things that were wrong, and who no longer desire to profit by 

This is not a nation of dishonest businessmen. This is a nation 
of honest people; and the businessmen of this country have, half 
of them, been doing things that they did not realize the effects of. 
And after they realize them, they are just as ready to correct them 
as you and I are. Otherwise I should feel that there was no bright 
prospect of reform ahead of us. 

Very well then, why have these high duties been maintained 
and these opportunities for high prices created? For that is the 
fair way to state it. They have been maintained because out of 
the "prize money," as Mr. Roosevelt has called it, the government, 
or rather the gentlemen who were running the government, got 
a very considerable slice by way of campaign contributions. Why 
should you kill the goose that lays the golden egg, particularly 
when she is a very ancient and a wise goose who knows her own 
interests and her own business? These gentlemen felt that if they 
did kill the goose they would kill a system which had sustained 
a party in power for over a generation, or rather had sustained 
the leaders of that party in power. For I never want to allude to 
the Republican party without separating the men who have voted 
the Republican ticket from the men who have induced them to 
vote the Republican ticket. The men who have induced them to 

142 Part 3. Campaigning in New Yorfc 

vote the Republican ticket have been very astute persons. They 
have known their own business but I forgot, I was to indulge 
only in implicit politics! We will eliminate that passage and go on 
from where we started. What I want to point out to you is that a 
government which depends upon the patronage of men who 
profit by a system which results in high prices isn't the kind of 
government that can give you low prices. 

If you are interested therefore in the conditions of your lives, 
you are above all things interested in the kind of government 
which can deal impartially and justly and efficiently with those 
conditions. What are the ways in which the government can deal 
with your lives? There isn't merely this question of high prices. 
There is also the question of what the government can do to 
equalize conditions in every other matter. There is also the ques- 
tion of what the government can do to safeguard health, to put 
men in a position to get their full store and use their full hope 
in their daily work. There is an immense program of social and 
economic reform which ought to be undertaken right away. And 
what I want to point out to you is that the men who propose to 
leave the tariff and the trusts standing are the men who cannot 
carry out that program. 

I find myself the object of largess and generosity on the part 
of some of the gentlemen whom I am opposing. They have given 
over to me the issue of the tariff and the issue of the trusts. They 
have all of them said, "We believe in the tariff." And they have 
said: "We are not going to disturb the trusts. We are simply going 
to help them administer themselves through government agency." 
I am very much obliged to them for having handed over to me 
these central things to me this. If you will give me the citadel, 
you can have the country that lies round about because my com- 
mands will command it. 

Any man who says that his only objection to the tariff is that 
the spoils are not properly divided, and any man who says that 
he intends to let the trusts stay as they are but act under the 
control of the government, is a man who has declined to attack 
the very center of our political and economic difficulties; and he 
is utterly unable afterwards to solve any of the questions of our 
life. If he hasn't nerve enough to cut to the center, he cannot 
save the life. 

My figure suggests a surgical operation. Very well, let's take 

New York State Fair 143 

the surgical operation as an instance. Suppose that there is some 
foreign growth, some virulent thing in your system, what am I 
going to do if I am a competent surgeon? Am I simply going to 
put you in the government hospital and make you comfortable? 
Am I simply going to see that you get the right things to eat 
and the kindest nurses I can find for you, as they will try to get 
for the trusts? Am I merely going to say, "I will see that your 
declining years are happy?" No, 111 say: "My dear friend, I am 
going to perform an operation, but I am not going to touch a 
single living tissue that is wholesome and is connected with the 
sustaining of your life. I am going to employ the most dexterous 
methods that are known to science, but I am going to cut the 
deadly thing out and save your life/' 

The man who does not propose to cut the deadly thing out is 
a quack and not a surgeon. Don't let the quacking of the quacks 
deceive you. We have got to go to the heart of this business justly, 
like men who know and not like rash men; but we have got to 
go to the heart of it. And we have got to go fearing no man, fear- 
ing only God and justice and righteousness. And so I can't refrain 
from politics when I see a body of people like this who have got 
to live, and who can't live happily except under a free and just 
government. Therefore the only thing I can think of to talk to 
you about is a free and just government. 

I'll tell you this: I am sorry for the man who will have the re- 
sponsibility. A man would be a rash fool to covet it for his own 
aggrandizement. It will be the most solemn responsibility that 
any man has undertaken in our generation. Nothing but the 
counsel of wise men throughout the country and the grace of 
God will suffice to sustain the function. 

Let us think of our lives therefore not as partisans, my fellow 
citizens, but as men bound together in a common interest. Let 
us think of politics as we would think of a deep fundamental busi- 
ness of life. Let us see to it that America has the kind of govern- 
ment that matches her ancient ideals, and that every time we 
look at the flag that symbolizes our unity and our nationality we 
shall have a fresh thrill with the thought that we have not de- 
ceived mankind; that we have set up liberty and justice; that we 
have shown the way to the emancipation of mankind from that 
which is evil and wrong and of bad repute. 

144 Part 5. Campaigning in New York 


Address Delivered before the Democratic State Committee 
and the Democratic County Chairmen of New York, at Syra- 
cuse, New Yorfc, September 12 

WILSON'S JOURNEY back into Syracuse after his speech at the Fair 
Grounds was not pleasant for him. He had to sit by Dix in one auto- 
mobile, from which waved the New York governor's official flag, while 
another car filled with military aides followed behind. Then came a 
luncheon, served on the porch of the Democratic clubhouse, at which 
Tammany made another bald-faced attempt to associate the Demo- 
cratic nominee with Murphy. Before the luncheon Murphy coyly hid 
behind an evergreen tree. 2 The New York Times gave the following 
vivid description of what occurred. 

It was when the call came that luncheon was ready that the na- 
ture of the programme arranged for Gov. Wilson began to make 
itself evident. Some 200 politicians sat down at the tables on the 
porch of the clubhouse. State Fair Commissioner Driscoll had the 
arrangements in charge for the table at which he seated Gov. Wil- 
son. As the Governor took his place Mr. Driscoll went outside to 
the evergreen tree on the lawn and brought in Mr. Murphy. Nor- 
man E. Mack had a seat next to Gov. Wilson, and he had a place 
saved next to him for Mr. Murphy. To those familiar with Gov. 
Wilson it is easy to tell when he is not pleased. His face indicated 
that very clearly when Mr. Murphy sat down at the table. 

There were deviled crabs and cold mutton in plenty at the 
luncheon but Gov. Wilson satisfied his hunger with a very little 
dry bread, and left the table [when] the others had hardly started 
to eat. Before he left the 200 politicians heard the strains of "O 
Promise Me," and all looked up. They saw a fiddler standing just 
behind the chair of Mr. Murphy. It was only one chair away from 
that of Gov. Wilson, who, with his back turned to Murphy, was 
conversing with Lieut. Gov. Conway, who is a candidate for the 
nomination as Governor against Gov. Dix. "O Promise Me," re- 
peated the fiddler, and then somebody put him out. 8 

Towards the middle of the afternoon, just before the speech to the 
state committeemen and county chairmen, Dix got Wilson alone for a 

Strength of a Party 145 

few minutes, apparently to ask support for his renomination. But the 
look of disappointment on the New York governor's face and the 
Democratic nominee's grimness at the end of the interview bore testi- 
mony to Dix's lack of success. 4 

The hide-and-go-seek game with the Tammany leaders had put 
Governor Wilson in a fighting mood by the time he faced the Demo- 
cratic committeemen and county chairmen in the Hiawatha room of 
the Onondaga Hotel. His speech was both candid and eloquent. 
Though he did not mention any of the Tammany leaders by name, he 
left no doubt as to his meaning when he urged his listeners to 
strengthen their party by freeing it of its reactionary elements. 

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen: 

You are certainly most gracious in your reception of me, and I 
take it as an indication that you have the same sort of feeling 
that I have in this meeting. We are certainly face to face with a 
great (perhaps I might say an unprecedented) opportunity for 
the Democratic party. 

You are the workers and the captains in this great Empire State. 
You are, if you choose to be, in touch with the people through- 
out the length and breadth of it. And while the great state of 
New York, because of her strength and her population, and all 
that makes her great, occupies a very conspicuous [position] in 
the nation, the people of New York are not different from the 
people of the rest of the country. The people of New York feel the 
thrill of that new day is the thrill of a new conception and a new 

We are aware that we have been running after shadows in some 
things, that we haven't touched realities often enough, and that 
the fundamental reality is the life of the people, and that they will 
have absolutely nothing to do \vith us and should have nothing 
to do with us if we don't serve that life with absolute singleness 
of purpose. 

That is the message from the American people to political lead- 
ers throughout the length and breadth of [the United States] in 
the year 1912. That is the lesson to which I am seeking to listen 
as a man would who goes to school to his neighbors, to the men 
of his state, to the men of his nation. I feel that I am of conse- 

146 Part 3. Campaigning in New York 

quence only in proportion as I am the spokesman and voice for 
these impulses which are deeply serious impulses. 

Ill tell you franldy, the people of the United States are tired 
of politics. They are sick of politics. They long, down in the bot- 
tom of their natures, for a release from everything except that 
which makes the public service look like public duty and legisla- 
tion look like the translation of the public need into the public 

I feel that I am facing a body of men who have an extraor- 
dinary opportunity, an extraordinary duty, for the example of 
New York State is marked as perhaps the example of no other 
state, and the people are waiting to see I mean the people of 
the nation are waiting to see if we all have our eyes open and 
all see the lesson and the duty, or, as I should prefer to say, the 
privilege, of the time. 

I am not saying this because I doubt that you see it. I believe 
that you do see it. I rejoice to believe that you see it. And I am 
confident that the Democracy of New York will show the nation 
that they know what the nation is waiting for. For it is waiting. 

The only chance for a new party is that both the old parties 
should be discredited. One of the old parties is discredited. Ours 
shall not be.* The only hope of those who would administer the 
government in a way that we do not believe in is that we should 
verify their predictions, verify their hopes, for their predictions 
are born of their hopes. I say these words to you by way of cheer, 
because I believe that the action of Democracy throughout this 
country will prevent that catastrophe. And I believe that nothing 
would be more inspiring nothing will be more inspiring than 
to see the Democracy of New York lead the way. 

For as I think of my own position, I realize that there is no 
virtue in me as an individual to do the things which the nation ex- 
pects, that the only strength I can have will be the transmutation 
through me of the strength of the Democracy of the country; that 
the greatness of a leader, of a political leader, consists in the trust 
and in the agreement of those who are associated with him and 
who follow him that is buoyed up and carried by common senti- 
ment. And that common sentiment is the only thing that consti- 

* Wilson gave great emphasis to "shall" and brought his two hands together as 
he uttered it. New fork Times, Sept. 13. 

Strength of a Party 147 

tutes fidelity, reality, and permanency in politics, for we build not 
for a day. 

I would a great deal rather lose in a cause that I know some 
day will triumph than triumph in a cause that I know some day 
will lose. 

Liberty is not mocked. Liberty knows her children, and she 
can wait for them to recognize their kinship. Old Dr. Oliver Wen- 
dell Holmes one time said: "You needn't be afraid of truth. The 
truth is no invalid. You can treat her roughly and she will survive 
it." You needn't be afraid of liberty. You may retard [her] we 
may retard her by our blunders and mistakes and blindnesses 
but we can't defeat her, because she lives and breathes in the 
human spirit, and you can't crush the human spirit. 

And, therefore, I would rather tie my wagon to a star, knowing 
its orbit, than trust to any forces that I myself had created. The 
strength of a party, the fighting strength of a party, lies in its 
organization, but the strength of the organization lies in the pur- 
poses which it has in view. Without a right purpose, organization 
can't succeed. In the long run, with the best of purposes, you 
can't succeed without an organization. And that is the whole 
quandary of politics. That is the whole thing that we are con- 
stantly fighting with to keep down, to ride down, to suppress 
our own ambitions and our own selfishness. In order to do what? 
In order to ride higher. In order to see more of the Empyrean. In 
order to make a longer flight. Because the man who sinks his own 
personal judgments and ambitions in the common good will in 
the long run ride the farthest and ride the highest. If he doesn't 
ride into office, he will at any rate be borne up by the love of his 
fellow citizens, and his single example will sometimes beat a 

You know, we are an interesting people, we human folks. We 
are afraid of men who have power and use it wickedly, but we 
are never proud of them, and the only people we rear statues to 
are the men who forgot themselves and served others, and that 
statue will stand there as an example as long as the bronze will 
last, to fire young hearts forever, while the grave of the other man 
is trodden under foot and forgotten, is some day a plowed field 
again. . . . 

And so it is a day, it is a year, it is an age of inspiration. The 

148 Part 3. Campaigning in New fork 

party that absorbs the most of the inspiration is the permanent 
party, and the triumphant. And there is plenty of inspiration 
abroad to intoxicate the best of us. I am afraid it has gone to 
the heads of some people already. 

I [didn't] * know I was going to make a speech to you gentle- 
men. I don't know that I have made a speech. I only know that 
I consider it a great privilege to stand up among a lot of men 
who are bearing the heat and burden of the hard work, of the 
detailed work of politics, and just lay my mind bare to them for 
the moment. Because there is no use being the representative of 
the party for the time being unless you understand [it], unless 
you know the man you are dealing with. I must in candor, I must 
in faithfulness to you, try to show you the inside of my mind, and 
if I have found the words to do so, I am very happy. 


The political atmosphere was tense when Wilson left Syracuse. Dur- 
ing his ride on the train to New York, he had the following conversa- 
tion with a group of news correspondents: 

"Governor, when you were invited to attend the State Fair to- 
day, did you know that the State Committee and the Association 
of County Chairmen were going to meet here also today?" 

"No, I had no intimation of it whatever." 

"Governor Dix sought a private interview with you, did he not?" 

"Yes, he drew me aside just before the meeting of the county 
chairmen this afternoon and stated to me his feeling about the po- 
litical situation in the State. I, of course, expressed no opinion of 
any land about it." 

"You boys evidently want to ask me if I allowed myself to be 
made use of in any way. I will answer your question without your 
asking it. Nobody can make use of me by merely meeting me. 

"I merely met the New York leaders, met them in public, and 
came away as absolutely free as when I went. My speech to the 
committeemen will enable anybody who can read to understand 
what I stand for and what I shall always stand for." x 

The Swem Notes do not have "didn't" but the context demands it. Also it 
appears in the text in the New York Evening Post, Sept. 13. 

Strength of a Party 149 

The next day Charles F. Murphy, the Tammany chieftain, was non- 
committal when questioned about Wilson's attitude towards him. And 
when asked about the report that Governor Dix would not be re- 
nominated, he only replied, "It looks cloudy but I hope it doesn't 
rain." 2 


First Western Tour 

September 15 

TAMMANY'S INSISTENCE on the renomination of Governor Dix was 
unwelcome news for it might split the Democratic party in New 
York, thereby endangering Wilson's chances of winning that state in 
November. But the Democratic nominee had little time to brood over 
this problem. He had only three days to put his affairs in order be- 
fore setting out on his speaking tour of the upper Middle West, a 
region where Roosevelt was strong much stronger than in the East. 
At first glance, the speaking schedule arranged by the Democratic 
Campaign Committee seemed light. It called for the delivery of only 
six major addresses: in Sioux City, Iowa; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; 
Minneapolis, St. Paul, Detroit, and Columbus, Ohio. 

On this western tour the Democratic National Committee had in- 
sisted that Governor Wilson enjoy the advantages of traveling by 
private car, but unfortunately the railroad provided an old-fashioned 
wooden one, named Magnet, dusty and uncomfortable. 1 The candi- 
date was accompanied by nine newspaper correspondents: Ralph 
Smith, Washington correspondent of the Atlanta Journal and press 
representative for the Democratic National Committee; Louis Seibold, 
New York World; George Van Slyke, New York Herald; J. D. Whitney, 
New York Post; Ike Russell, New York Times; Oliver Newman, New 
York Sun and United Press; David Lawrence, Associated Press; Wesley 
Hamer, New York American; and Arthur Sinnott, Newark News. Also 
in the party were Walter Measday, Wilson's political secretary, and 
Charles L. Swem, who was to take down almost every word Wilson 
spoke publicly during the rest of the campaign. 2 

On the afternoon of September 15 Wilson said goodbye to his wife 
and three daughters standing on the veranda of "the Little White 
House," donned a linen duster, and climbed into the waiting auto- 
mobile for the drive to Trenton. There he boarded the Magnet, which 
was attached to a passenger train bound for Chicago. Much to his 
chagrin, he soon discovered that his train was a slow one with sched- 
uled stops at many stations en route. 8 


154 Part 4. First Western Tour 


September 16 

WHEN WILSON awoke the next morning, he found himself in Colum- 
bus, Ohio, with a crowd of enthusiastic admirers milling around the 
Magnet and calling for a speech. Much as he despised rear-platform 
oratory, he yielded to their entreaties and made a brief informal talk. 
It was the first of many such impromptu appearances. Before he had 
even reached Chicago, he had reluctantly delivered eleven of these 
"matinee" speeches, as Louis Seibold of die New York World called 
them. 2 The second was at Bradford, Ohio, where as usual Swem stood 
by his side, taking it down in his notebook. (See frontispiece.) Next 
came Union City, Indiana, where Wilson obliged an unusually large 
gathering of partisans with the following whimsical bit of humor: 

My friends: 

I am very much obliged to you for this greeting which I did 
not expect. I have a rather strong objection to talking from the 
back platform of a train. I believe that the back platform just 
now belongs to the Republicans and not to the Democrats. We 
belong on the front platform. Not only that, but this is the kind 
of platform that I don't like to stand on. It changes too often. It 
moves around and shifts its ground too often. I like a platform 
that stays put. I would rather, therefore, stand on the platform 
that has been framed at Baltimore than the platform that is car- 
ried around the country. And yet to speak seriously, gentlemen, 
it is a great pleasure for me to be able to greet little groups of 
my fellow countrymen in this way. I know they want to see what 
I look like, at least, not for the sake of my beauty, but for the 
sake of forming their own opinion as to what sort of chap I seem 
to be. But I would a great deal rather they would see the inside 
of my head than the outside of it. 

Reply to Former Senator Beveridge 155 

Speech Delivered at Logansport, Indiana, September 16 

WHILE THE train was crossing Indiana, the Democratic nominee 
learned (from State Senator Fred Kistner and Mayor Fickle of Lo- 
gansport, who had boarded the Magnet) that former Senator Albert 
J. Beveridge of Indiana had publicly predicted that Wilson, if elected, 
would be controlled by the bosses. 2 When the train stopped at Logans- 
port, Wilson seized the opportunity to strike back vigorously at 
Beveridge's charge, in the following words: 

Mr. Mayor and fellow citizens: 

I am sincerely glad to have this opportunity to greet you and 
am very much obliged to you for your cordiality in coming out 
to see me. I understand that in a speech made last Saturday night 
a very much esteemed friend of mine, namely Senator Beveridge, 
said that he entertained a very serious fear about me, . . . that 
if I were elected President I would be controlled by the bosses. I 
never suspected before that Senator Beveridge was a humorist 
because if he didn't know that was a joke he should have known 
that it was a joke. When did he ever hear that I had changed all 
my political habits? The way you can tell whether a man is go- 
ing to be controlled by the bosses or not is to judge whether he 
is in reach of the bosses or not 

Now, 111 give a way of finding out whether a man is in reach 
of a boss or not. You know what a boss is. A boss is a political 
agent of certain special interests who see to it through him that 
people they can control are put into office, and that laws they 
don't want are kept off the statute books. The men who do that 
are the men who are interested in the great monopolies of this 

I am sorry to observe that, whereas the Republican party has 
practically fostered the trusts and the Democratic party proposes 
to prevent monopoly in this country, the third party, represented 

156 Part 4. First Western Tour 

by Senator Beveridge, proposes to take the monopoly into part- 
nership with the government by accepting it as an inevitable ne- 
cessity and bringing it under the regulation of law; that is to say, 
making it a legalized institution of the country. When the men 
who have created monopoly are accepted partners of the govern- 
ment, do you suppose they are going to dispense with the men 
who are their necessary agents, namely, the bosses who deter- 
mine who are to occupy office and what the legislation is to be? 
[Voice from audience: "Who created monopoly?'] * 
The men who created the monopoly, my friend, to answer your 
question, are the men who have taken advantage of the protec- 
tive tariff to get together to make great combinations of industry 
to shut out competition and to make sure that the prices are in 
their own control. And every Republican leader in our generation 
has been in league with those men. [Voice from audience: Who 
are they?"] t They are the men who have set up the great trusts. 
Everybody knows the list of them. These men are the heads of 
the Steel Trust, of the Tobacco Trust, of the Standard Oil Trust, 
and of all the other trusts that everybody knows. I am surprised 
that you didn't know the names of them before. These men have 
supported those who have controlled our government in the last 
fifteen years, and they are supporting them still. And I, for my 
part, do not entertain any hope of the government of the United 
States being freed from the control of trusts and the control of 
bosses, who are the agents of trusts, through the instrumentality 
of the adoption of the trusts into the care of the government 

There are perfectly legitimate and perfectly possible ways of 
setting this government free. It can be set free only by abolish- 
ing every means that has been used to establish monopoly. Be- 
cause I want the working men in this crowd to remember that the 
men who control prices do so by limiting in some cases the supply; 
that if you can limit the supply, you can control the industries 
of the country and you can also control the market for labor. 
These men who constitute the leading instruments of the trusts 
are the very men who have fought, and the only men who have 
successfully fought, organized labor in the United States. They 
have absolutely refused to recognize the right of labor to organ- 

* Cincinnati Enquirer, Sept. 17. 

Sioux City, Iowa 157 

ize, and they have tried by patronizing the laborer to subject him 
to their own will and purpose. 

I am not here to attack die reputation or the integrity of person 
of any man, but the only way you can tell whether a man can 
assist you in politics or not is by finding out whether he is fol- 
lowing the direction in which freedom is to be discovered. These 
gentlemen have not found the direction, for they do not even 
propose the abolition of monopoly. Until monopoly is abolished, 
until it is destroyed, government is not free. And until the gov- 
ernment is free it cannot serve you or any man. 

Now, you can't tell by looking at me whether I am the man to 
do this job or not. You can't tell the contents of my character by 
looking at my face. But I want you to study the programs that 
lie back of the various candidates. We are all of us interested in 
those measures which will benefit the great majority of our fellow 


Delivered at the Interstate Fair, September 17 

WILSON REACHED Sioux City, by way of Chicago, on the morning 
of September 17. He had hardly stepped off the Magnet before the 
reception committee hustled him off to address the students of Morn- 
ingside College. Then came his initiation at the city auditorium into 
the "Tribe of the Sioux," a municipal organization, which entailed his 
taking a pledge "to be a 'good Indian' whether successful or unsuc- 
cessful in the quest of the moose or other game." On being presented 
with a diamond pin emblematic of the tribe, Governor Wilson re- 
marked that he was somewhat embarrassed for he had always under- 
stood "that the only good Indians were dead ones." After this cere- 
mony there were conferences with prominent Iowa Democrats, who 
with glowing enthusiasm predicted that their state organization, united 
as never before, would deliver to Wilson a handsome plurality in 
November. 2 
Early in the afternoon he delivered the first major speech of his 

* The abrupt ending of the speech suggests that the train pulled away before 
Wilson had finished. 

158 Part 4. First Western Tour 

western tour. At the Interstate Fair, on the outskirts of the city, he 
spoke from the judge's stand of the race track, his audience filling both 
the grandstand and the paddock in front of him. He was in rare fet- 
tle, and his opening sentences instantly captured his listeners, who 
repeatedly interrupted with applause and shouts of encouragement. 8 

A considerable portion of the address was a forceful plea for stricter 
enforcement of the federal pure food laws, bespeaking Wilson's inter- 
est in social reform. He severely criticized Roosevelt's approach to 
the pure food problem during his Presidency, especially his heavy 
reliance upon a board of chemists. 

This speech also contains Wilson's first attack on Roosevelt's propo- 
sal for a tariff board. "Experts" in this field, the Democratic nominee 
contended, would adopt the same sort of narrow approach as the 
"experts" in chemistry had towards the pure food question. 

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen: 

I feel as if the areas of this racetrack were singularly reversed 
today. I am one of the entries and this is the judges' stand. I will 
not ask what odds are offered. This is one of those races where it 
is impossible in the preliminary canter really to show one's paces. 
You won't know what kind of President I am going to be until I 
become President. All I can do today is to show you some part of 
my table of contents. For the feeling that comes over me most 
strongly whenever I face a body of my fellow citizens is the feel- 
ing of responsibility with regard to comprehending what it is 
that this campaign is about. 

Some people have commended me for not entering into person- 
alities. I have not done so, not because of any virtue, but because 
persons seem so insignificant as compared with the interests of 
this great country. We are discussing great questions of the 
deepest moment, and it would be almost impertinent to bring in 
questions of individual idiosyncrasy and peculiarity. [Voice from 
the audience: "The other fellow's doing it."] The other fellows 
are welcome, because when they are not inventing they are show- 
ing themselves capital humorists; because I think that humor gen- 
erally consists in the things that are obviously not true, and they 
don't need to have any note appended to explain that they are 
not true.* 

* In the passage omitted below Wilson gave his definition of political "boss" and 
told of the ill effects on New Jersey of a "bipartisan" machine. 

Sioux City, Iowa 159 

Very well then, there is something to do before we subscribe 
to great public programs of social betterment. I want to say 
here, as I have said elsewhere, that when it comes to a great part 
of the program of the third party, for example, represented by 
Mr. Roosevelt, I subscribe as all public-spirited men subscribe to 
the greater part of that program; and some very noble and public- 
spirited people all over the United States have been drawn to that 
banner because those enterprises of public justice were inscribed 
on that banner. But I am bound in judging of that party to ask 
whether the rest of the program of that party permits it to carry 
out that program. 

Now, the illustration I want to draw with you gentlemen and 
ladies today is this. I am profoundly interested in die question of 
pure food. You know that a great deal of the food that these teem- 
ing and abundant acres in this wonderful state of Iowa produce 
does not come to [us] straight from you. It goes through a lot 
of intermediate processes. There, for example, are all the break- 
fast foods. Some man said during the coal famine a year or two 
ago that if the coal gave out there was at least the breakfast 
foods. There are so many of them and they would make very con- 
venient fuel, some of them, because they contain a great deal be- 
sides food, they say. 

The government of the United States has undertaken in recent 
years with the support of every man in the United States who 
wished the protection of the lives and energies of the people to 
see to it that the people of this country get what they suppose 
they are getting when they buy these foods; that what these 
foods consist of shall be on the label; that the meats which are 
killed in great stockyards like this or at any rate sold in great 
stockyards like this shall after they have been shipped great 
distances be subject to the kind of inspection which will make it 
certain that they are still pure, still in such condition as to furnish 
us with wholesome and nutritious food. But everybody now sus- 
pects, and the suspicion is based upon a great many facts that 
can be established by proof, that these pure food laws are not 
lived up to; that the inspection is not always what it should be; 
and that a great many things are permitted to be done which 
nullify the pure food laws. 

Let me tell you an illustration. I am not a chemist but I have 
lived very close to chemists a good deal of my life quite close 
enough to perceive some of the odors from their laboratories 

160 Part 4. First Western Tour 

and the question of benzoate of soda has interested me very 
much. I suppose that most of you know that a great controversy 
arose because Dr. Wiley, who was in charge of the Pure Food 
Administration, objected to the use of benzoate of soda in cer- 
tain things that were sold to you, particularly in cans for food.* 
Now, a very nice thing occurred. The gentlemen who wanted to 
use benzoate of soda persuaded the President, Mr. Roosevelt, 
that this was a scientific question, and therefore he should have 
a board of chemists to determine [tt]. And Mr. Roosevelt picked 
out some of the most eminent and honest chemists in this coun- 
try, headed by a personal friend of mine, the president of Johns 
Hopkins University. And he submitted to them this question: "Is 
benzoate of soda hurtful to the human stomach or to the human 
digestion when taken internally?" Observe that that was the only 
question submitted to them. And that was exactly what the peo- 
ple who wanted to use benzoate of soda for wrong purposes 
wanted to limit the inquiry to, because these gentlemen had to 
say that benzoate of soda in itself was not harmful to the human 
system, as I believe it is not. But they were not asked this ques- 
tion: "Can benzoate of soda be used to conceal putrefaction? Can 
it be used in things that have gone bad to conceal the fact that 
they have gone bad and to induce people to put them in their 
stomachs after they have gone bad?" They weren't asked that 
question, because if they had been they would have said, "Yes, it 
can be used in that way." And Dr. Wiley knew that it was used 
in that way.f 

I want to warn the people of this country to beware of com- 
missions of experts. I have lived with experts all my life, and I 
know that experts don't see anything except what is under their 
microscope under their eye. They don't even perceive what is 

* Dr. Harvey W. Wiley with his "poison squad" of twelve assistants in the De- 
partment of Agriculture had conducted experiments regarding the effects of 
adulterated foods and drugs which helped to bring about passage of the Pure Food 
and Drug Act of 1906. He campaigned actively for Wilson in 1912. See Wiley's first 
speech for Wilson, delivered at Terre Haute, Indiana, in Philadelphia Record, Oct. 
3. In using the phrase "in cans for food" Wilson evoked a protest from the National 
Canners' Association, to which he apologized, saying his reference to the canning 
industry was "a slip of the tongue." He stated that he had meant "to speak of the 
processes of preserving by chemical preservatives." See Wilson's telegram to 
F. E. [GJorrell, Oct. 6, 1912, printed in New York Times, Oct. 8. 

f Wilson was referring to the board of expert chemists, known as the "Remsen 
Board," set up by President Theodore Roosevelt. See Harvey's version of this in- 
cident in Harvey W. Wiley, The History of a Crime against the Food Law (Wash- 
ington, D.C., Harvey W. Wiley, M.D., publisher, 1929), pp. 160-201. 

Sioux City, Iowa 161 

under their nose. An expert feels in honor bound to confine him- 
self to the particular question which you have asked him. I was 
approached once by a very public-spirited person who asked me 
if I didn't think that alcohol was poison. I said: "I don't think 
anything about it; I have no right to judge. I have understood 
that in some circumstances it is and in some circumstances it 
isn't. And I generally am on the safe side and don't risk it." But 
suppose you wanted to settle the liquor question by asking a 
body of experts whether alcohol was poison or not. I believe they 
would have to tell you that it isn't poison. But does that settle 
the liquor question? There are a great many things that you can 
take into your stomach that are not poison that will make you 
crazy. There are a great many things that you can take into your 
system which will make you very disagreeable to your families, 
and yet your expert would have to give them a clean bill. 

The expert tariff board is very much of that character. It knows 
what it knows, but it doesn't know what we want to know. It 
knows what it inquires into but it does not answer this question: 
"Are the present tariff duties in the United States suitable to the 
present business conditions in the United States?" And when the 
third party proposes a permanent body of experts, it proposes a 
permanent postponement of tariff legislation. 

Now, who wanted this expert board of chemists? The men who 
wanted to sell us things that weren't fit to eat. And who were 
they? They were representatives of some of these very special 
interests with which the government has been allied. And there 
is nobody more conversant with the conditions of his business 
than these very men; and there is nobody, as I know by experi- 
ence, more likely to fool you with regard to the things that it will 
be fair to do in order to protect them from legislation which they 
do not desire. If you want pure food laws, therefore, make sure 
that you have first got an independent and courageous govern- 

A trust is an arrangement to get rid of competition and a big 
business is a business that has survived competition by conquer- 
ing in the field of intelligence and economy. I am for big busi- 

* In the passage omitted below Wilson mentioned Andrew Carnegie as the type 
of businessman who had built up his business through efficiency rather than by 
monopolistic practices. For similar passage see Wilson's speech at Sioux Falls, S.D. 
below p. 169. 

162 Part 4. First Western Tour 

ness and I am against the trusts. Any man that can survive by 
his brains, any man that can put the others out of business by 
making the thing cheaper to the consumer at the same time that 
he is increasing its intrinsic value and quality, I take off my hat to 
and I say, "You are the man who can build up the United States 
and I wish there were more of you." 

But the third party says that trusts have come and they are 
inevitable; that is the only way of efficiency. I would say paren- 
thetically that they don't know what they are talking about be- 
cause the trusts are not efficient. If I had time for another speech 
I could prove that to you. They have passed the point of effi- 
ciency. Their object is not efficiency, though when they sell you 
their stock they say it is. Their object is monopoly, is the control 
of the market, is the shutting out by means fair or foul of competi- 
tion in order that they may control the product. 

Now, the third party says these things have come to stay. 
Mind you, these are artificially built-up things, these things that 
can't maintain themselves in die market without monopoly, have 
come to stay, and the only thing that the government can do, the 
only thing that the third party proposes should be done, is to set 
up a commission which is to regulate them. It accepts them. It 
says: "We will not undertake it, it were futile to undertake, to 
prevent monopoly in this country, but we will go into an arrange- 
ment by which we will make these monopolies kind to you. We 
will guarantee that they shall be pitiful. We guarantee that they 
shall pay the right wages. We guarantee that they shall do every- 
thing kind and public-spirited, which they have never heretofore 
shown the least inclination to do; and everything that we do for 
pure food, everything that we do for the rectification of things 
that have been done wrong, hereafter, shall be done through the 
trusts which we ourselves regulate." 

Don't you realize that is a blind alley? You can't find your way 
to liberty that way. You can't find your way to pure food or any- 
thing else. I am merely using pure food as an illustration. You 
can't find your way to social reform through the forces which 
have made social reform necessary. Let them first set the govern- 
ment free and then we will follow them or any other honest men 
in setting up a schedule of social reform. 

Now, there are things that have to be regulated, but they are 
not to be regulated through the trusts. They are to be regulated 

Sioux City, Iowa 163 

by those processes, now perfectly discoverable, by which mo- 
nopoly can be prevented and broken up; because these monop- 
olies that are to be made permanent if this program goes through, 
these monopolies are the very things that are limiting the field of 
enterprise, limiting the market for labor, determining the wages 
of labor, determining the distribution of products throughout the 
country. Take one instance the twenty-four gentlemen who con- 
stitute the directors of the United States Steel Corporation act 
either as presidents or vice-presidents or members of the boards 
of directors of more than half the railways of the United States. 
Now, if you want to sell steel and ship steel and are in the board 
of directors of a railway that is carrying steel, what do you think 
is going to happen? Are you going to play into your own hand 
or aren't you? And since you are on the inside, do you think you 
are going to find out how to play into your own hand or are you 
not? I tell you, the tentacles of these things spread in every direc- 
tion, and until we have broken their inside control, the govern- 
ment is helpless to assist the people to righteous processes of judg- 
ment and of law. 

There are two instruments that the people use in government, 
two voices, for after all it is what is known, what is spoken, what 
is believed that moves great bodies of opinion in a free country 
like ours. What heartens me in recent years is to see how our 
political audiences have grown more and more serious; how they 
really want to hear something said; how they really want to get 
some argument that they can get their teeth in and not hear 
buncombe, not hear rhetoric. I dare say I could build up struc- 
tures of rhetoric myself, but they are too thin. I don't want to 
climb on them, they are too insubstantial, and the American peo- 
ple isn't going to be fed any longer with words.* 

Now, I don't want a smug lot of experts to sit down behind 
closed doors in Washington and play Providence to me. I want to 
have a voice in this mundane Providence that counsels my own 
affairs. There is a Providence to which I am perfectly willing to 
submit because He settles questions that I don't understand. But 

* In the passage omitted Wilson again told about David Crockett's famous coon, 
using the story to illustrate how the threat of public discussion broke down the 
opposition of those New Jersey legislators against a progressive program. For a 
similar passage see above, p. 73. 

164 Part 4. First Western Tour 

as for setting one man up as Providence over myself, I seriously 
object. I have never met a political savior in the flesh. I never ex- 
pect to meet one. I am reminded of Gelett Burgess' verses: 

I never saw a purple cow, 
I never hope to see one. 
But this 111 tell you anyhow, 
I'd rather see than be one. 

That is the way I feel about this saving of my fellow country- 
men. I would rather see a savior of the United States than set up 
to be one; because I have found out, I have actually found out, 
that the men I consult with know more than I do, particularly if 
I consult with enough of them. I never came out of a committee 
meeting or a conference without seeing more of the question that 
was under discussion than I saw when I went in. And that, to 
my mind, is the image of government. I am not willing to be un- 
der the patronage of the trusts, no matter how providential a gov- 
ernment presides over the process of their control of my life. 

I am not questioning the motives of these gentlemen. They 
may think that it will work, but unless they are going to make an 
exception to all the history of mankind, I can tell them con- 
fidentially it won't. They may not have read history. I haven't 
read as much of it as I would like to have read. But it is written 
so plain upon the pages of all human experience that I almost feel 
like apologizing to them for questioning the ABC'S of government. 

Now these are the questions, and this is a cross section of the 
question of the day. What are we going to do with our govern- 
ment? First of all, determine what our government is. What are 
you going to do with a particular instrument? What is that in- 
strument suited to do? You [have] first got to make sure of your 
instrument; then you can do what you wish to do with it. 

For my part, I believe that we are upon the eve of recovering 
some of the most important prerogatives of the American people. 
You know that only a few years ago, for example, we were not 
interested in questions of the initiative and the referendum. I 
met a man the other day who thought the referendum was some 
kind of an animal because it had a Latin name, and there are 
people in this country, I think, who have never [had] it explained 
to them what the initiative and the referendum are. But we are 
interested in them now. Why? Because we have felt that in those 

Sioux City, Iowa 165 

many instances our governments didn't represent us, and we said: 
"We have got to have a key to the door of our own house. The 
initiative and the referendum are keys to our own premises. That 
is what they are. Now, if the people inside will run the business 
as we want it run, we will keep those latchkeys in our pockets. 
But if they don't, we will get them out and re-enter upon posses- 
sion, and the government trying to act through the trusts will 
need to have the latchkey used on it very often." So that the 
whole impulse of American life is now an impulse of seeing 
things as they are. That is the reason that party lines are break- 
ing some party lines. 

I don't notice any serious breaks in the Democratic line, but 
parties are getting a good deal mixed, not because we are getting 
mixed in our minds but because we are getting independent in 
our action; not because we are losing any reverence whatever for 
the great history of parties which have saved the nation in mo- 
ments of emergencies and of crisis but because we have come 
upon a new kind of emergency and a new sort of crisis and are 
determined that we are going to have an instrument suitable to 
serve us now in the year 1912. 

The preliminary contest is over. There remains now nothing 
but that the judges should confer and on the fifth of November 
come to a conclusion. I want, if you will permit me, to be very 
candid with you. I want to say that my interest in this contest 
is not a personal interest. I do not know of any responsibility 
that will compare with the responsibility to be borne by the next 
President of the United States. I would be ashamed of myself if 
I bragged that I was confident that I was fit for the emergency. 
I only know this: A man can't know his abilities but he can know 
his heart. And I tell you that the only thing I know about myself 
is that I have had this vision of a people acting in common for 
themselves along the old lines of American independence, and 
that image will always be found at the center of my heart. 

166 Part 4. First Western Tour 

Delivered September 17 

AT 4:00 P.M. Wilson boarded the Magnet again, which this time was 
attached to a special train arranged for by the enthusiastic Democrats 
of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on the assurance that he would speak in 
their city. The train reached Sioux Falls at 8:45 P.M., almost two hours 
late. Afternoon rains had cut down the number of visitors from the sur- 
rounding rural areas, but the Sioux Falls auditorium was packed to 
capacity with three thousand persons. Edward Johnson, Democratic 
nominee for governor of South Dakota, introduced the candidate, who 
received a very enthusiastic ovation during which the audience waved 
hundreds of small American flags. 2 

It had been a long, tiring day, yet Wilson seemed to thrive on it. 
He spoke on the familiar trust problem, once more advocating the 
regulation of competition and criminal prosecution of individuals 
found guilty of monopolistic practices. It was a fighting speech, par- 
ticularly when he charged that Roosevelt had really got his plan to 
regulate monopoly from George W. Perkins and Elbert H. Gary, who 
had originally devised it for die United States Steel Corporation as a 
means of eliminating competition and controlling the labor market. 
Roosevelt could hardly afford to ignore this bold attack.* 

After this address Wilson spoke again briefly to a crowd of people 
at the New Theater, whom Dudley Field Malone, assistant attorney 
of New York City, had in the meantime kept entertained with a 
denunciation of Roosevelt's third term aspirations. Malone had 
joined Wilson's campaign party at Chicago. 8 

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: 

As I was looking about me after taking my seat, I came to the 
conclusion that, looking upon that good-looking picture and then 

* Roosevelt did not ignore it Speaking in Trinidad, Colorado, he emphatically 
denied that Perkins and Gary were the originators of the Progressive plan for 
regulating monopoly. He asserted that as President he had repeatedly advocated 
that method as a means of handling the trusts. See below, p. 175 n. 

Sioux Falls, South Dakota 167 

upon this, I envied Governor Johnson. I hope you think the 
specimen is better looking than was represented. 4 

You have certainly prepared for me a most cordial and gratify- 
ing greeting tonight, because it is stimulating to see a hall 
crowded as this is, and one can't help putting to himself the ques- 
tion, "What have you come together for?" A Democrat is not such 
a rare thing in North Dakota that you should crowd a hall to see 
him. I beg your pardon. I started from the South myself and I 
thought I was farther north than I was. I have been in South 
Dakota before when I was less noticed than I am now. 

I am glad to come again when I can match my opinions with 
the opinions of people whose thinking I greatly respect. For there 
is nothing respectable in politics now except sound thinking. 
The days of shouting are over. I remember when I was a young- 
ster, as no doubt many men here remember, the old political 
meetings when you were expected to come together and just 
whoop it up for your party. Those meetings have disappeared in 
every part of the United States with which I am familiar. Men 
don't come together simply to enjoy the thrill of rhetorical dis- 
course. There is only one county of Buncombe f in the United 
States now and that county has got tired of hearing buncombe 
talked because we have now got down to the talk of business, of 
national business. 

There was a time when we could indulge in all sorts of pleasan- 
tries at each other's expense in politics. But every time I find 
myself tempted to pleasantry there comes over me a feeling of 
the critical seriousness of the choice to be made in the year 1912, 
not the critical seriousness, ladies and gentlemen, of choosing be- 
tween one man and another man, for there is no indispensable 
man, but the criticalness of choosing between one policy and 
another. We are at the parting of the ways. As we determine the 
direction which we take in 1912 we shall determine the future 
political development and the future economic development of 
the United States of America. It looks like a very small difference 
sometimes when you state it, but you know that where roads 

* Wilson was referring to the two large pictures of himself and Governor Ed- 
ward Johnson of South Dakota that were hanging in the auditorium. Daily Argus- 
Leader (Sioux Falls), Sept. 19. 

t Buncombe County, N.C. 

168 Part 4. First Western Tour 

come together the separation is small but where they end the 
separation is not small. Although it may seem that they are choos- 
ing just to deviate a little in this direction or a little in that, re- 
member where they are going to lead. Remember where the fin- 
ger of that road points and make up your mind what the goal is 
at the other end 

There is one proposition upon which this campaign turns. I 
have repeated it very often already in other speeches and I am 
going to repeat it until I am sure everybody's heard it. That prop- 
osition is this: that monopoly is inevitable. That is what some of 
the people who want us to adopt a certain purpose maintain, and 
that is what I deny. If monopoly is inevitable, then the thing to 
do is for the government to take hold of monopoly and regulate 
it. If monopoly is not inevitable, then the thing for law to do is 
to break it up and prevent its forming again. I believe that mo- 
nopoly can be broken up. If I didn't believe it, I would know that 
all the roads of free development were shut in this country. 

The reason I say that this campaign depends upon that proposi- 
tion is this: I understand the leaders of the third party, for ex- 
ample, to have a great many attractive things in their program. 
Nevertheless, they start with this proposition: that the big com- 
binations which now control business in this country are inevita- 
ble, and that the best we can do is to establish an industrial 
commission which will take charge of them and see to it that 
they are good to us. I deny the fundamental proposition. I deny 
that these big combinations are inevitable. And I can prove that 
they were not inevitable by the processes by which they were 

You know that back of this whole question lies the question of 
the tariff. And I want you to remember that the tariff question is 
a very different question in our day from what it was in the day, 
for example, of Mr. McKinley and Mr. Elaine. They had an argu- 
ment which it was very difficult, I am frank to admit, to meet suc- 
cessfully; because they said here in the United States you have 
so enormous an area of absolutely] free trade and unrestricted 
competition that there is no danger that these men would control 
prices and make them intolerably high because within this great 
continent they compete with each other; and their competition 
with each other, the clash of their brains, the rivalries of their 
genius, the organizations which contend with one another for 

Sioux Falls, South Dakota 169 

supremacy in the domestic market make it certain that there will 
be a normal level of prices. Some of you men are old enough to 
remember that argument 

But where is the domestic competition that these gentlemen 
talked about? The object of these combinations that have been 
formed in our time is to shut competition out and to get control 
of the market by seeing to it that there is no successful competi- 
tion such as will bring prices down. The most conspicuous ex- 
ample of it is the Steel Trust 

There was one particular set of factories, or rather of mills, 
which the gentlemen who first put their heads together to set up 
this would-be monopoly found that it was most difficult to deal 
with. There was one man in the United States who knew how to 
manufacture steel rails so cheaply and had such a genius for the 
organization of business upon an economic scale and for its de- 
velopment by the discovery of finer and finer devices for cheapen- 
ing the production that nobody else in the United States could 
compete with his brains in that particular line. His name was 
Andrew Carnegie. When the Steel Trust came to be formed An- 
drew Carnegie didn't care to come into it. Why should he come 
into it? He could undersell every man of them. There wasn't any 
reason why he should wish to come in when the market was his 
already for the asking. And they had to pay him I have forgot- 
ten how many times I think it was four times the value of his 
plant and of his business in order to get him out of the way; and 
they had to pay a number of other gentlemen, other independent 
mills and independent business in this field, very much more 
than their business was known to be worth in order to get them 
to come into the combination. It wasn't worth their while in view 
of their already established success to come into this combina- 
tion unless they were paid so much more than their business was 
worth that they were willing to give the business up. 

Then what happened? They made a combination upon which 
they issued securities to the amount representing, let's say, four 
times the value of Mr. Carnegie's business and several times the 
value of other businesses which they had absorbed. Then they 
based the new price of steel on the interest they had to pay on 
those securities, didn't they? 

In other words, they are making us pay for steel on the most 
uneconomic and inefficient basis that can be imagined. And when 

170 Part 4. First Western Tour 

these gentlemen say that these big combinations are necessary for 
economy and efficiency, the only answer I can think of that meets 
the suggestion is: Ratsl Go and tell all that to the Marines. Go 
and tell that to somebody that doesn't even read the daily news- 
papers.* Don't venture to tell it to anybody who knows the cir- 
cumstances by which these combinations were made and the dili- 
gence with which these gentlemen have seen to it that under- 
standings with regard to price should not be broken. 

Why would anybody desire to break the understanding be- 
cause it was possible to sell cheaper and capture the market? And 
these men were interested in seeing that nobody would sell 
cheaper and capture the market when it was possible for the man 
who had brains, exercised economy and ingenuity, and knew how 
to assemble the parts of his plant at any time he chose, to make 
steel cheaper and undersell them. 

These combinations were made not for efficiency but to con- 
trol and keep up the price. They were meant to control the do- 
mestic market, and just so soon as you make it possible to com- 
pete with these gentlemen you'll see a very great change in their 
business. I don't want to put them out of business. I simply want 
to make them attend to business. I want to make sure that steel 
and everything else that illustrates my subject is made as cheaply 
and as well as possible in America, and that profits and the suc- 
cesses of enterprise are not founded upon anything else but 
brains and success. 

But the gentlemen of the third party say: "You are very much 
more mistaken. It may be that many inequities were practiced in 
the establishing of these things, but they were built up. And now 
they have become a constituted and necessary part of our modern 
business and the only thing we can do is to regulate them, is to 
regulate the memberships, is to legalize the thing that ought 
never to have been done and need never to have been done, and 
to see to it through a government agency, through a government 
commission, that they treat us kindly; that they don't impose upon 
us; that they are gentle in the market; that they don't do anybody 
any more harm; that they are shot through with the kindliness of 

Now, I don't expect to convert the trusts by any special means 

The New York Times, Sept 19, mistakenly reported Wilson as saying this at 
Minneapolis. Cf. I .Ink, Wtison, p. 506. 

Sioux FaZfc, South Dakota 171 

of evangelization. Moreover, when you have set up a government 
that has the right to create a commission of that sort, what temp- 
tation, I would like to have you tell me, have you added to the 
present almost overwhelming temptations of politics? If the Presi- 
dent of the United States can through a commission guide the 
business of the United States, soon the businessmen of the United 
States who are interested in these combinations will put forth 
greater ingenuity and endeavor than ever to capture the Presi- 
dency of the United States. Ah, gentlemen, don't deceive your- 
selves. If men control business, then business will seek to con- 
trol men. The only salvation for this country is that law shall 
control business. Now here is the parting of the ways. 

You say, "Well, if we are not going to legalize the trusts and 
control them, what are we going to do?" Well, haven't you ob- 
served how the trusts were built up? You say, "Are you going to 
return by law to the old-fashioned competition?" I say, "No." It is 
the old-fashioned competition that enabled these men to build 
up these combinations, because the old-fashioned competition 
used in the new way was this: Here is a man with some personal 
capital, or with some personal credit at the local bank, and he 
tries to set out in a little business. Here in another city is a great 
combination of men with millions of money at their back who 
come there and say: "You are a mighty little fellow and you can't 
come into this thing. We don't want any interlopers here. You 
have got only your little local market. Very well, we will cut into 
your little local market and sell at a loss, sell at a figure that you 
can't possibly sell at because everywhere else in the United 
States we will sell at a profitable figure, meet our losses in your 
locality, and we will put you out of business." That is not a ficti- 
tious, hypothetical case. That thing has happened by scores and 
hundreds of instances all over the United States. Now, that is 
competition, but what sort of competition is it? 

The alternative to regulating monopoly is to regulate competi- 
tion: to say that to go into a community and sell below cost for 
no other purpose for it can't be the purpose of profit for no 
other purpose than to squeeze out a competitor shall be an offense 
against the criminal law of the United States, and anybody who 
attempts it will have to answer at the bar of a criminal tribunal. 
It won't make any difference whether he is big or little, he will 
have to answer at that tribunal; for we have been having trials 

172 Part 4. First Western Tour 

and investigations by Congress, and we know the processes of 
unrestricted competition by which these men have accomplished 
the setting up of their monopolies. If we don't know how to stop 
them, then die lawyers of this country have lost their ingenuity 
and their intelligence. 

I was saying at one of the way stations where they permitted 
me to make a short speech this afternoon that it was a very serious 
thing that if a man became a candidate for office and it was dis- 
covered that at any time or place he had been counsel for a great 
corporation, he would have to spend the rest of the campaign 
explaining that away; and that after the campaign ended he 
wouldn't have had time enough to explain it sufficiently to get 
elected. Now, there is nothing dishonorable in advising a cor- 
poration, is there? Any body of men in this country doing their 
business legitimately is entitled to the advice of counsel and it is 
not dishonorable to advise them. Why are corporation lawyers 
therefore excluded from running for office? Because it is thought 
sometimes unjustly, but universally thought that what they 
have been advising their clients to do is something that has been 
to the detriment of the business of this country. Can you imagine 
any other explanation? 

I know scores of lawyers who have been the intimate counsel 
of great corporations have never advised them to do anything 
illegal, but there are a great many legal things that you can do 
now that will put the little man out of business. That is the rea- 
son that I want to change the law, not the lawyer. I was a lawyer 
myself once, and you can't change a lawyer. But you can change 
the law. And then the whole atmosphere will clear. The lawyer 
will be obliged to say: "Why, my dear sirs, that is a very fine 
scheme; but if you follow it, you will get into the penitentiary, 
because you can be found out." 

Some very interesting things were found out in the trial of the 
meat packers. For example, we found out that you didn't have 
to form a great combination; that all you had to do was to be 
polite; that all that the meat packers did was to meet together 
without forming a legal union of any kind and consult together 
as to what they would like to have meat sell at. Then a very nice 
young gentleman whom they employed for the purpose as their 
secretary and spokesman would write a very prettily phrased let- 
ter to all of them suggesting that perhaps it was desirable to 

Sioux Falls, South Dakota 173 

quote meat at such and such prices; and they felt bound with the 
etiquette of perfect gentlemen to observe that price. That is so. 

Now, I had been saying, before I knew that, that the price of 
meat was artificial and excessive; and it turned out that I had a 
couple of young friends who had been pupils of mine in the uni- 
versity who were connected with the meat business and were 
very much distressed that I should have said these things, be- 
cause they thought them unjust. They wrote me some very seri- 
ous lectures on them. I had lectured them and it was all right for 
them to lecture me, and I was very much impressed. 

I said: "Is it possible that I have been mistaken? These are 
perfectly honest fellows. I know all about them. I know they are 
not lying to me/' But after the meat packers' trial I saw where 
the trouble was.* It was in the method of bookkeeping. Because 
they charged up all their costs of every kind to the edible part of 
the animal, to the meat, and everything else was free profit. The 
hide and the hoof and the head, everything that could be made 
into glue and into shoes and I don't know what all was clear profit. 
And the profit on the edible part, on the meat, was very small in- 
deed. But if I can have all the rest that is left over, I can afford to 
sell the meat at cost that is to say, at the cost of the business. 

We shall be getting on the inside of a lot of the big business 
of the United States. And I venture to say that with the proper 
kind of legal advice you and I could easily sit down together and 
stop these things overnight. That is what I call the regulation of 
competition, saying: "Oh, yes, up to a certain point you can use 
your great power, a giant against a pigmy. But let me warn you 
that if you put that pigmy out of business, the pigmy will prove 
bigger than you are. He will stay out of the penitentiary and you 
will go in." 

Choose your course then, gentlemen, on the fifth of November. 
Adopt the great trusts into the family and depend upon your 
government to make them be good, or else take the course by 
which it will be impossible for them to live by anything except 
economy and brains. Let your government patronize them, or else 
put them on their mettle and let them survive, as all honest busi- 
ness ought to be able to survive, in the open competition of the 

* Wilson was again referring to Swift and Co. v. United States (1905). See 
above, p. 140 n. 


Part 4. First Western Tour 

That may look to you like an "academic" question. That word 
reminds me of something. I used to think that "academic" meant 
merely abstract, something that was all very well as a piece of 


"Profeitor Wikon't campaign,!* M dignified. Talc* off two i* itches, yarn over, chain wan, skip wan, yarn ova 
Ti. a beautiful pattern." DOOLEY. on the campaign. 

An attempt by a cartoonist of a Progressive Republican newspaper to portray Wilson 
as impractical in political affairs. From Boston Journal 

reasoning but was not very much or intimately connected with 
the practical notion. That was what "academic" used to mean, but 
the leader of the third party has given it a new meaning. When- 
ever he finds that a man knows the facts and knows what they 

Sioux Falls, South Dakota 175 

mean and [is] able to reason from them, that is "academic." * 
The only practical thing, as I understand it, is to be perfectly in- 
dependent of the facts and assert it on your own authority. In- 
tellectual processes, it seems, are barred out of the campaign. 
You mustn't use your mind. You must simply use your wit and 
break through the line. Now, I am sorry, but I appear to possess 
a mind and 111 have to use it, and I'll have to use it to the ex- 
posure of fallacies which are the more easy to expose because 
they have been fallacies since the world began and since govern- 
ment was set up. 

This plausible scheme of legalizing monopoly and regulating 
it has broken down again and again and again in the history of 
mankind, and anybody who knows the economic history of the 
world should be ashamed not to know it. If that is intellectual, I 
apologize. I am sorry that comprehension should be bad business. 
These gentlemen who wish this scheme carried out have compre- 
hension enough, let me tell you. 

Where was this method of regulating the trusts suggested? It 
was suggested in the inquiry by the House of Representatives 
into the Steel Trust and it was suggested by Mr. Gary and Mr. 
George W. Perkins. t They have thought this thing out. I am not 
interested to question their motives. It may be, for all I know, 
that they think, and honestly think, that that is the way to safe- 
guard the business of this country; but, whatever they think, this 
they know: that it will save the United States Steel Corporation 
from doing its business better than its competitors. For if you 
will look into the statistics of the business of the United States 
Steel Corporation, you will find that wherever they have com- 
petitors the amount of the product which they control is de- 
creasing, not increasing; in other words, that they are less effi- 
cient than their competitors. And their control of the product is 
increasing only in those branches of the business where by pur- 

* Another reference to Roosevelt's statement that Wilson was too "academic." 
f A reference to the investigation of the United States Steel Corporation by the 
Stanley committee of the House of Representatives, which made its report in 1911. 
Roosevelt, in his speech at Trinidad, Col., not only denied that Gary and Perkins 
were authors of his plan to regulate monopoly but replied by saying: "I wish to call 
attention at this time to the fact that as far as I know the overwhelming majority 
of men who control both the Steel Corporation and the Harvester Trust are sup- 
porting either Taft or Mr. Wilson. They are certainly opposing me. Indeed, as far 
as I know, the only man connected with either organization who is supporting me 
is Mr. Perkins himself." Cincinnati Enquirer, Sept 20. 

176 fart 4. First Western Tour 

chase and otherwise they have a practical monopoly. Now, if 
you will give me a monopoly, I can beat anybody; but if you 
don't give me a monopoly, Til have to yield to the man who can 
do the business better than I can. And surely it is for the advan- 
tage of the United States. 

Moreover, I have this to say to the workingmen: Carry out 
the plan of Mr. Gary and Mr. Perkins and you will have given a 
control in the market for labor which will suit these gentlemen 
perfectly.* They don't want competitors to come into the market 
for labor because new competitors for labor will mean new wages 
and new wage scales. These are the very men, and almost the 
only men, who have successfully opposed union labor in the 
United States and shut it out of their shops and bribed it to be 
content to be shut out by all sorts of benevolent schemes of profit 
sharing and otherwise in their shops which a man would forfeit if 
he left the shops or joined a union. 

I am not imagining these things. As a friend of mine said, "I 
am not arguing with you, I am telling you." These are the actual 
facts of our existing industrial system. I, if I chose, could build 
you up a splendid excuse for all these things. They happened 
very naturally. I have never been one of those who thought that 
a number of gifted gentlemen got together into a room and said 
to one another, "Here, let's put it over the people of the United 
States/' These things were not malignly invented, but they were 
very happily discovered. And I can show you a report, written, 
I believe, for the benefit of the managers of the United States 
Steel Corporation in which a scheme was set forth which ex- 
plicitly stated that if that scheme was carried out the corporation 
could make fifty million dollars for nothing. That was stated in 
the scheme. 

Now, it is a beautiful arrangement for getting money out of 
our pockets if by shifting the pieces on the board, making a new 
combination which doesn't cost you anything and doesn't pro- 
duce a dollar's worth of goods, you can pocket fifty millions of 
dollars. After the game was discovered I dare say it became very 

* In reply, Roosevelt said at Trinidad, Col.: "There is a very simple way of 
testing the worth of this statement. Has the interstate commerce law put the work- 
ingman more in the power of the railroads? Let Mr. Wilson answer this question. 
If it has, then it is his business to advocate the repeal of the interstate commerce 
law." Ibid. 

Sioux Falls, South Dakota 177 

fascinating. I might be fascinated by it myself for all I know, as 
a game, but I do not believe men who once realize that by a game 
and not by service they are getting millions of dollars out of the 
pockets of their fellow men can rest with very easy consciences 

There are all sorts of impositions but surely that kind which 
impoverishes your fellow men and enriches yourself is the sort 
that it is most difficult for a good conscience to digest. There are 
some men who sell foodstuffs in the United States and know that 
those foodstuffs have been prepared in such a way as to lessen 
their nutritional value, and in some cases to make them absolutely 
harmful to those who eat them. How do you suppose the men 
that know that they are doing these things sleep nights? If I 
were deliberately to put poison into my friend's cup, I am sure I 
couldn't sleep the next night. Now, suppose I put poison into 
the plates of hundreds of these of my fellow citizens whom I 
have never seen, I suppose that enables me to sleep very soundly 
indeed. What I want you to understand by these illustrations is 
this: that the control of business relieves men from the necessity 
of doing business in a way that is honest and serviceable, and 
that we cannot afford to perpetuate any regime of that sort. 

Do not suppose that the businessmen of this country are op- 
posed to this kind of regulation which I have suggested I mean 
the regulation of competition because they are not. When I 
travel through this great western country where there are not 
many great big cities, but where there are a great many splendid 
little cities, I wonder if those little cities know the small number 
of big cities that have them by the throat. I wonder if they real- 
ize how the money of your little great cities flows into the great 
big cities and how, clogging the banks in those cities, it is loaned 
out for the still further enlargement of the great enterprises 
which are becoming an incubus to free American enterprise. It is 
nothing less than these things which touch our fortunes and the 
freedom of our lives that we are discussing in the year 1912. 

You will turn upon me and say, "Well, sir, do you mean to say 
that you are wise enough to save us from these things?" Ah, gen- 
tlemen, don't misunderstand me. No, I am not wise enough. But 
what I pray God may come to me is a chance to confer without 
regard to class or prejudice of any kind with my fellow citizens 
of all sorts and conditions and find out the thing to do. I have 

178 Part 4. First Western Tour 

no pill against an earthquake. I have no ready remedy, but I do 
know that the things that we have found out that are wrong can 
be stopped without being perpetuated. I want to lend such 
brains as I have to this handsome enterprise of taking the shackles 
off of American energy and letting every man carry his head high 
and say: "I stand upon an equal footing with the greatest finan- 
cier in America. I am free and the law will see to it that no man 
infringes upon my liberty." 

If you want just laws, you can have them. This is the year, 
perhaps the last year for the present, in which you choose what 
sort of laws you will have, because whichever choice you make 
that will be the road that lies ahead of you. You can't readily turn 
back. If you don't begin the processes now of readjustment, it 
may not be possible in our day to readjust the conditions of this 
country. Do not let us, therefore, think of the stale issues of mere 
party policy. Do not let us think of the triumph of individual 
parties or of individual men. But let us soberly take counsel with 
one another and say: "Fellow citizens, what shall we do with 
our lives in the year 1912? Which way shall we turn? In the di- 
rection which has been discredited in the history of old countries? 
Or in that direction which the star of America long [ago] rose in 
the west to point out to men the star of economic individual lib- 
erty . . . ?" 

Men deadened by the operation of established control in other 
countries have come to America in order to be free from control. 
Shall we change the haven? Shall we say: "Gentlemen, we were 
mistaken. We can do no better than others. We can only tread 
the old hopeless road. America has failed. America was not able 
to accomplish what she promised"? I do not believe that that star 
is going to drop from the constellations. I do not believe that the 
western heaven is going to change its aspect. I believe that 
through our time, through all times to come, men will say, "Amer- 
ica shines always as the beacon of mankind." 

Fear in free America 179 


Speech Delivered at the Commercial Club, Minneapolis, Min- 
nesota, September 18 

ARRIVING AT Minneapolis at 9:05 A.M., Wilson went immediately to 
the Commercial Club, where a group of some two hundred business- 
men had gathered to hear him. Although he already had eaten one 
breakfast that morning, he enjoyed another with his hosts before his 
speech. 2 

Here again his amazing resiliency and versatility were in evidence. 
He dared to address these men of business on the highly controversial 
subject of monopoly, yet he so flavored his speech with dashes of hu- 
mor that his audience applauded enthusiastically. A typical remark 
heard after the address, according to one news correspondent, was, 
"Well, I'm not a Democrat, but I'm going to vote for him." 8 

Mr. Chairman, Your Honor, gentlemen: 

I am not in the habit of interfering with my fellow citizens' 
digestion so early in the morning, and I hope that nothing I may 
say will be so serious as to incommode you for the day. And yet 
I must admit that my thoughts [have been] constantly very seri- 
ous in this campaign, because it is not a light matter to attempt to 
counsel a great nation with regard to its complicated affairs. 

I feel, however, particularly at ease in a company like this, 
because I believe that the programs chiefly to be considered in 
this campaign touch the commercial interests of the country very 
nearly indeed. I am one of those who believe that we have put 
such restrictions upon the prosperity of this country that we have 
not yet come into our own, and that by removing those restric- 
tions we shall set free an energy which, in our generation, has 
not been released 

It is for that reason that I feel free to criticize with the utmost 
frankness these restrictions themselves, and the means by which 
they have been brought about. And I believe that this is a time 
when there should be absolutely unqualified frankness. One of 
the depressing circumstances of our day, gentlemen, is this: I can- 

180 Part 4. First Western Tour 

not tell you how many men of business, how many impatient men 
of business, have communicated their real opinions about the 
situation in the United States to me, privately and confidentially. 

They are afraid of somebody. They are afraid to make their real 
opinions known publicly; and they tell them to me behind their 
hands. That is very distressing. That means that we are not 
masters of our own opinion, except when we vote, and then we 
are careful to vote very privately indeed. It is alarming that that 
should be the case. 

Why should any man in free America be afraid of any other 
man in free America? And, when we have cleared the air and are 
free, then I believe that the collisions of classes will cease, and 
that there will begin to rise upon our horizon that sun which has 
not illuminated us for a long time, the sun of our common inter- 
est, the thing that unites us, the thing that vivifies, the thing that 
produces growth and fertility in our minds and in our spirits. 

That is the reason that it is necessary in public speech to 
strike out straight, and strike out hard from the shoulder, not in 
order to damage anybody, but in order to do good to those who 
refuse to be benefited. 

The mystery of American economic life is why men who are 
the leaders in our economic development don't see that they are 
in a straitjacket. I don't wonder that they are sometimes mad. 
Madness generally goes with a straitjacket. 

And the encouraging side of it is that they are beginning to 
perceive that after all there are a great many things that ought 
to be changed. 

Now, the difficulty of a popular campaign is that the most 
successful thing is assertion, and the most difficult thing is argu- 
ment; and that argument is considered academic, that every in- 
tellectual process is under suspicion, that if you happen to know 
the facts, and happen to know how to reason from them, you are 
supposed to have gotten all you know from books. Now, the men 
of books in our day don't live between the covers of the volumes 
they read. The university man has been thrust out into the open. 

Long before I nominally entered public life I was constantly 
called upon to discuss public questions, because I had considered 
them. I must admit that I always had the greatest freedom in 
discussing those that I had not carefully considered, because the 
less you know about a subject, the more liberty you have in a 

Fear in Free America 181 

public speech. With regard to those matters that you have merely 
studied you are "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought/' and 
the thing sounds very mild and very much qualified and limited 
as you utter it. 

I remember once being called upon by a body of bankers to 
talk upon the elasticity of the currency, and I said that, being a 
man living on a salary, I supposed I had been called as an impar- 
tial witness. Because I had never had any personal experience 
in its elasticity, so I might have been eloquent on its rigidity. 
And so, long before I made an adventure of public life, I had 
made a study of public life. And now it has become an adventure. 
I hope not an adventure undertaken in the spirit of the free- 

A very distinguished gentleman has recently spoken of the 
profits that come from the protective tariff as "prize money"; and 
that has interested me very much, because the implications of 
the phrase are so many. They do not imply piracy, because what 
the pirate gets is not prize money, but they do imply capture, and 
they do not imply any process of earning whatever. But I beg 
your pardon; that is a process of intellectual deduction, and is 

It is true, nevertheless, that we are getting to the point where 
we see that we have been living in an imaginary world. We have 
been saying that our economic policy was for the sake of the 
workingman of America, for example, and most of us have known 
all along that he didn't get the benefit that was intended for him, 
that somebody intercepted it, and we were too shy to inquire 
who it was that intercepted it. Now, shyness has gone out of our 
public life. We are now actually audacious enough to point out 
the men who have intercepted the benefit, and upon occasion, 
when necessary, to name [them} by their personal names, so that 
you can find them in a city directory. 

Definiteness in politics is the only thing that clarifies. Definite- 
ness sometimes sends a chill down your back, because you know 
your own personal relations to the gentlemen mentioned, but 
at the same time it is a wholesome chill. It is like the chill that 
you get when you get under the shower bath; it makes your 
blood circulate, and you are a better man and have a better di- 
gestion for having cleared your mind for the rest of the day. 

It seems to me that it should be in that spirit of good nature 

182 Part 4. First Western Tour 

and of frankness we ought to deal with the questions of 1912; and 
all that I have to suggest to you gentlemen is that there is this 
explicit choice to be made in 1912. I was saying last night that 
when you state it it sounds a little bit abstract, but it is the part- 
ing of the ways. And two ways may part at a very slight angle 
that may seem almost to run parallel with one another. But, if you 
notice, they are diverging, and the goal at the end of one of them 
is very distant from the goal at the end of the other one. Your 
direction is what you have got to choose in 1912. 

Now, here is the choice: on the one hand, accepted and regu- 
lated monopoly; on the other hand, regulated competition which 
will prevent monopoly. I have studied history, and I dare not 
take the road that leads to regulated monopoly; because by regu- 
lating monopoly you adopt it, you render it permanent, you ac- 
cept all the things by which it has been established, and by sim- 
ply adopting it as an inevitable move to make the best of the sit- 
uation, and with intent to see that it does as little damage as 
possible in the circumstances. Whereas, in the other direction, 
instead of leaving yourself tied up with this established domina- 
tion, you take a road that by slow degrees only diverges from the 
other, but nevertheless presently radically diverges, in which men 
can walk with greater and greater freedom; in which they can 
determine their own lives with the knowledge that while they 
are little they can't be crushed by the fellow that is big. 

Any man who can get behind the place where he is little and 
get big, as you know, can either survive separately or get bought 
up at a profitable figure, but in order even to get bought out he 
has got to pass the stage where he is little. Because as long as 
his market is local, he may be crushed, and when his market be- 
comes general, then he may be taken into partnership or bought 

That has been the process of our development, has it not? 
Which means that the independent man can't remain independ- 
ent, and by the nice arrangements largely accidental, I don't 
think they are malignant or intentional but by the nice arrange- 
ment of our modern fiscal system, or rather our banking system 
(I won't say arrangements but systems . . .) it is very difficult 
indeed for the new adventurer in the economic world to get the 
necessary credit as against the men who don't want his competi- 
tion to interfere with their enterprises. Sometimes he needs big 

Fear in Free America 183 

credit, and he can't get it, because to get credit makes him big, 
and there are big fellows who don't want any more big ones. 

We have got to see that the little fellows are protected, and 
that means that we have got to meet the criticism of the old, unre- 
stricted competitive system which has been very justly leveled 
against it. Men who have built up these great monopolistic en- 
terprises, for they virtually are such, have been right in saying 
that the whole system was of a character to be destructive. They 
ought to know, because they have done the destroying. They 
know how the destroying is done, and I admit that it can be done. 

And the only way to stop that is not by legalizing the enter- 
prises that have done the destroying, but by seeing that no more 
destroying is done. And that is what I call regulated competition; 
because I know, and every man in his heart knows, that the only 
way to enrich America is to make it possible for a man that has 
the brains to get into the game. 

And I am not jealous of the size of any business that has grown 
to that size. I am not jealous of any process of growth, no matter 
how huge the result, provided the result was obtained by the 
processes of growth, which are the processes of efficiency, of econ- 
omy, of intelligence, and of invention. 

I am constantly using this illustration, and you gentlemen know 
that it is a true one: The United States Steel Corporation had to 
buy Mr. Carnegie out, because Mr. Carnegie organized his busi- 
ness, economized his processes, ordered his plants in such a fash- 
ion that he could beat every mother's son of them in manufactur- 
ing steel rails. He had the market, because he could legitimately 
undersell them, and they had to pay him I don't know how many 
times, three or four times, the value of his property and of his 
business in order to get rid of him, in order not to be beaten by 
him in open competition. 

Now, do you want that sort of thing to go on? Do you want the 
efficiency of your business lowered by creating the necessity and 
the temptation to put those men out who are the most efficient? 
Isn't America profited by the growth of just such enterprises? And 
isn't it about time that we put every undertaking in the United 
States on its mettle; that we said to it: "If you are now conduct- 
ing a business upon which you have to pay interest on securities 
that vastly exceed the value of your business and of your proper- 
ties, then that is your lookout, not ours. You got into that. This 

184 Part 4. First Western Tour 

country isn't going to pay, isn't going to continue to pay the price 
of things out of which it gets nothing"? 

I am not now inveighing against watered stock. I know all 
the statistical arguments, and they are many, for capitalizing 
earning capacity. It is a very attractive and interesting argument, 
and in many instances it is legitimately used. But there is a line 
where you cross, and where you are not capitalizing your earning 
capacity, but capitalizing your control of the market, capitalizing 
the profits which you got by your control of the market, and did 
not get by efficiency and economy. 

These things are not hidden even from the laymen. These are 
not even hidden from college men. Their days of innocence have 
passed, and their days of sophistication have come. And they 
know what is going on, because we live in a talkative world, full 
of statistics, full of congressional inquiries, full of trials of all 
sorts of persons who have attempted to live independently of 
the statutes of the United States, and so a great many things have 
come to light under oath, which we must believe upon the credi- 
bility of the witnesses, who are in many instances very eminent 
and respectable witnesses. 

Now, I have wandered abroad in this little talk of mine, but I 
simply wanted to show you the inside of my mind, so that there 
need be no misunderstanding between us; so that you would not 
think I was one of those wild fellows running amuck because I 
knew something was the matter, and did not know exactly what. 

This is no Donnybrook fair. I have gotten my shillalah, but I 
am not hitting every head I see. I have selected the heads, and 
if they 11 only engage in a little hard thinking beneath the en- 
dangered craniums, they need not be hit at all. Because the whole 
thing is as much in their interest as in the interest of the rest of 
us. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't touch it; I wouldn't go out. 

I was inducted the other day into an association in Sioux City 
in which I became a good Indian, but that has not bred in me the 
desire for scalps. I am not out after any man's topknot; I am not 
aware of entertaining the least feeling that we ought to get even 
with some one. I am only possessed with the passion to create a 
condition that will be even for everybody. 

"Human Rights" 185 


WILSON'S JOURNEY from the Commercial Club to the University of 
Minnesota was interrupted by the appearance of three small, excited 
children, one of whom shouted for the automobiles to stop. 

"Governor Wilson's car halted and he stood waiting," the Minne- 
apolis Journal reported the next day. "Five minutes later down Eighth 
avenue in disorder, running as fast as they could, came the children. 
Their teachers had planned to line them up when the Trig teacher' 
went past, but the late arrival of the train and the delay over the 
speech at the breakfast had sent them back again to the school dis- 
consolate. Four videttes were scouting around, however, and when 
the line of automobiles was seen approaching down Franklin avenue, 
one little girl ran back four blocks to Twenty-fourth street and Eighth 
avenue S. to tell the school, and soon the children came, with flags and 
bunting, and massed themselves to hear a speech. Governor Wilson 
addressed them briefly and said he was glad to see them and that he 
hoped they would all grow up to be good citizens." * 


Delivered at the Parade Grounds, Minneapolis, Minnesota 
September 18 

THE REST of the morning was devoted to a talk at the University of 
Minnesota, in which Wilson said little about politics, and to an auto- 
mobile cavalcade down Nicollet Avenue. Shortly past noon he reached 
the Parade Grounds, a broad green meadow in the residential district 
of the city, where some three thousand persons stood exposed in the 
rays of a hot September sun to hear his second major speech of the 
day. 2 They did not go away disappointed. 

Here for the first time in the campaign Wilson set forth in extenso 
his belief in "social justice." Although he rejected paternalism, the 
method by which Roosevelt proposed to achieve social reform, he un- 
equivocally stated that "human rights" should come before "property 

186 Part 4. First Western Tour 

rights." This was a principle that was henceforth to play a meaningful 
role in his political career and indeed become one of the identify- 
ing symbols of his beliefs. It was not a new idea. Indeed it bore a 
strong resemblance to one of Roosevelt's favorite themes. Even some 
of the wording resembles the famous New Nationalism speech deliv- 
ered by Roosevelt at Ossawatomie, Kansas, in 1910. 8 But in it Wilson 
reached a new peak of eloquence. 

Mr. Chairman and fellow citizens: 

I feel that it is a particular privilege to stand in this place. I 
mean in this open space to which all men may come without dis- 
tinction of class or origin, not only because it is under the open 
heavens but because having you close like this seems to me to 
mean something in particular. It is a very gratifying circumstance 
to me that a great city like Minneapolis should have this place to 
which every man is free to come and speak his mind. It is some- 
times inconvenient for crowds to gather on street corners, but 
it is never inconvenient for the people of a great country to have 
anybody who has anything to say speak his mind. It is absolutely 
indispensable that in every great municipality in the United 
States there should be some great public forum like Hyde Park 
in London where everybody may come, where everybody may 
speak his grievance, if he have one, and, where reasoning to- 
gether, men may understand one another and know what it is 
that they have in common and what it is that they differ about; 
because only in this way will genuine public opinion be put to- 
gether, and no kind of law, no kind of authority, ought ever to 
act against them absolutely in full expression of private opinion. 

I was saying only this morning to a group of the gentlemen 
prominent in commercial and manufacturing business that one 
of the disturbing circumstances of the day, to my mind, was this: 
that so many men of business, men in a large way of business, 
who agreed with me regarding the things that should be done to 
rectify existing conditions, would not feel at liberty to speak 
their opinions publicly but conveyed them to me in confidence 
as if they were afraid of somebody, as if there were somebody 
who could bring some sort of pressure that would damage them 
in their business. 

Have we come to a time, my fellow countrymen, when opinions 

"Human Rights' 187 

must be privately expressed with regard to public matters in the 
United States? Is truth such an invalid that we must treat her 
tenderly? There isn't anything quite so good for the explosion 
of foolish ideas as their exposure in public. There isn't anything 
that is comparable to that same kind of exposure for giving sound 
ideas currency among the whole body of the people. In this day, 
if I may use a somewhat vulgar expression with regard to all 
opinions, it is a case of "put up or shut up." It is a case of saying 
what you really think and then making good on your opinions. 

I have often thought that the only strength of a public man 
consisted in the number of persons who agreed with him; and 
that the only strength that any man can boast of and be proud 
of is that great bodies of his fellow citizens trust him and are 
ready to follow him. It is not only a belief in his character, but it 
is an agreement with his opinions. That is the reason that gentle- 
men have to go around as I am going around and expose them- 
selves to the public gaze. Not because it is a particular indul- 
gence of taste to look at them, because personal beauty is not 
necessarily their strong point. Perhaps I may be permitted to re- 
peat to you a limerick that I am very fond of: 

For beauty I am not a star; 

There are others more handsome by far 

But my face, I don't mind it, 

Because I'm behind it; 

It's the people in front that I jar. 

But what you are interested in, and what you should be inter- 
ested in, is not the binding of the book but the table of contents: 
what is inside of it, what kind of purpose, what kind of under- 
standing of your interests. Because the trouble with the govern- 
ment of the United States has been that it did not understand 
the interests of the whole people of the United States. 

I am not one of those who can draw up an indictment against 
a great body of my fellow citizens because I don't agree with 
them. But I am here to assert that the men who have recently 
been leading the great Republican party have gone upon a false 
theory in the leadership which they have followed. That theory 
I am going to try to expose, if I can, with perfect candor, and yet 
at the same time with perfect fairness. 

In the first place, I want you to understand that when I speak 

188 Part 4. First Western Tour 

of the Republican party I am not speaking of that great body of 
my fellow citizens who have been in the habit of voting [for] 
the Republican party. I am speaking of that comparatively small 
body of my fellow countrymen who have been in the habit of 
misleading them, and whom they have allowed to put it over 

The theory that they have been themselves guided by is a per- 
fectly tenable theory. It isn't sound, but you can make a very 
good argument for it and you can make all the bad argument 
for it because men have presented the argument time out of 
mind. It is an argument as old as the history of political systems. 
It is this: that only those men who have the biggest material 
stake in the community understand what is good for that com- 
munity. That is a rather plausible theory. If my business covers 
the United States not only, but covers the world, it is to be pre- 
sumed that I have a pretty wide scope in my vision of business. 
But the flaw is that it is my business that I have a vision of, and 
not the business of the men who lie outside of the scope of those 
plans which I have made to make a profit out of the transactions 
I am connected with. And you can't by putting together a large 
number of men who understand their own business, no matter 
how large it is, make up a body of men who will understand the 
business of the nation; that is to say, who will see the interest of 
the nation as contrasted with their own interest. 

In other words, the leaders of politics in this country in recent 
years have thought that we were safe only in the hands of trus- 
tees, and the trustees have become so conspicuous that we could 
write out a list of them. They have become so conspicuous that 
their names are mentioned upon almost every political platform. 
We know who the men are who have undertaken the interesting 
job of taking care of us. 

I am one of those who absolutely reject that theory. I have 
never found a man who knew how to take care of me, and reason- 
ing from that point out, I conjecture that there isn't any man who 
knows how to take care of all the people of the United States. I 
suspect that the people of the United States understand their 
own interests better than any group of men in the confines of the 
country. I don't have to prove that. You all know that that is so. 
Not only that, but I know this: that the men who are on the 
make, the men who are swimming against the stream, the men 

"Human Rights" 189 

who are sweating blood to get their foothold in the world of en- 
deavor, understand the conditions of business in the United States 
very much better than the men who have arrived and are at the 
top. They know what the thing is that they are struggling against. 
They know how many blind walls they come up against. They 
know how difficult it is to start a new enterprise. They know how 
far they have to search for any kind of big credit that will put 
them upon an even start and footing with the men who have al- 
ready built up industry in this country. They know that some- 
where, by somebody, the development of industry in this country 
is being controlled; and they want to know how they are going 
to get into the enterprise themselves. 

The trustees have charge of it. And the gentlemen who are 
running politics are the trustees. And the gentlemen who are 
running politics are generally known as bosses. I have met bosses 
in my time. I know exactly what they are. I know that you only 
have to state in public in their presence what they are to put 
them out of business. They are the agents of special interests to 
see that nobody gets into office who won't serve those special 
interests, and that no law gets on the statute book that is inimical 
to the men who are at the head of those interests. That is what a 
boss is. A boss isn't a leader of a party. Parties don't meet in back 
rooms; parties don't have private understandings; parties don't 
make arrangements which never get into the newspapers. Parties, 
if you reckon them by voting strength, are great masses of men 
who because they can't vote any other ticket, or can't find any 
other ticket to vote, vote the ticket that was prepared for them 
by the aforesaid arrangement in the aforesaid back room in ac- 
cordance with the aforesaid understanding. 

Now, the thing that you have to do is to turn those back rooms 
wrong side out. I have said, and I want to repeat it, that the cure 
for bad politics is the same as the cure for tuberculosis. It is 
living in the open. So there can't be any germs of bad politics 
around here today. Our lungs have God's air in them, and we are 
able to see things in the light of God's sun. 

Now, what I want particularly to talk to you about today be- 
cause I knew from past delightful experiences that the audiences 
we would be meeting here are audiences that like to hear serious 
discussions of great public questions they are very much more 
interested in the fortunes of the nation than they are in the for- 

190 Part 4. First Western Tour 

tunes of individuals and the great question that I want you to 
consider with me for a few minutes today is the question of con- 

Don't think that I am going to carry you to Alaska. Don't think 
that I am going to leave this great state of Minnesota and go out 
where the forests are in danger of being destroyed upon the 
slopes of the Rockies. Don't think that I am going to discuss with 
you merely the question of whether our rivers are running dry or 
not, or whether we are giving away the water franchises which 
we ought to preserve for the public benefit. We are doing all 
those things, but you don't see those things with your own eyes 
here in Minneapolis. The question of conservation is a very much 
bigger question than the conserving of our natural resources; 
because in summing up our natural resources there is one great 
natural resource which underlies them all and seems to underlie 
them so deeply that we sometimes overlook it. I mean the people 

The strength of America is proportionate to the health, the 
buoyancy, the elasticity, the hope, the energy of the American 
people. What would our forests be worth without these intelli- 
gent bodies of ambitious men to make use of them? Why should 
we conserve our natural resources if we could by a sort of magic 
of industry transmute them into the wealth of the world? Who 
transmutes them into that wealth, if not the skill and the touch 
of the great bodies of men who go daily to their toil and who con- 
stitute the great body of the American people? What I am in- 
terested in is having the government of the United States more 
concerned about human rights than about property rights. Prop- 
erty is an instrument of humanity. Humanity isn't an instrument 
of property.* And yet when you see some men engaged in some 
kinds of industries riding their great industries as if they were 
driving a car of juggernaut, not looking to see what multitudes 
prostrate themselves before the car and lose their lives in the 
crushing effect of their industry, you wonder how long men are 
going to be permitted to think more of their machinery than 

Cf. Roosevelt's remark in his "New Nationalism" speech at Osawatomie, Kans., 
Aug. 31, 1910: "The man who wrongly holds that every human right is secondary 
to his profit must now give way to the advocate of human welfare, who rightly main- 
tains that every man holds his property subject to the general right of the 
community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require 
it." Quoted in Henry F. Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt. A Biography, p. 543. 

"Human Rights" 191 

they think of their men. Did you never think of it? Men are cheap 
and machinery is dear, and many a superintendent will be dis- 
missed for overdriving a delicate machine, who wouldn't be dis- 
missed for overdriving an overtaxed man. Because you can dis- 
card one man and replace him; there are others ready to come 
into his place; but you can't without great cost discard your 
machine and put a new one in its place. You are not looking upon 
your men as die essential and vital foundation part of your whole 
business. I say, therefore, that property as compared with hu- 
manity, as compared with the vital red blood in the American 
people, must take second place, not first place; and that we must 
see to it that there is no overcrowding, that there is no bad sani- 
tation, that there is no unnecessary spread of avoidable diseases, 
that there is every safeguard against accidents, that women are 
not driven to impossible tasks and children not permitted to 
spend their energy before it is fit to be spent, that all the hope 
of the race must be preserved, and that men must be preserved 
according to their individual needs and not according to the 
programs of industry merely. Because, what is the use having 
industry if we die in producing it? If we die in trying to feed our- 
selves, why should we feed ourselves? If we die trying to get a 
foothold in the crowd, why not let the crowd trample us sooner 
and be done with it? I tell you, gentlemen, that there is begin- 
ning to beat in this nation a great pulse of irresistible sympathy 
which is going to transform the process of government amongst 
us. (I am sorry, a gentleman seems to have fallen I am afraid 
with the heat. What I was about to say has been driven out of my 
head by another kind of sympathy. ) 

There is more than the safety of the people to be considered. 
There are the opportunities of the people; there are the things 
that we must do for the people in order to facilitate their lives. 
What I want to call your attention to is that every time we dis- 
cuss any one of these questions we come up against some eco- 
nomic objection. This is not theoretical with me, because I have 
handled these matters in the state of New Jersey. I know that 
men say: "We can't be more pitiful; we can't be more considerate 
to our men in this shop, because if we were, the men who are 
less considerate in the next shop not spending as much money 
for the safety of their men as we would spend could underbid 
us in the market and beat us in the competition." 

192 Part 4. First Western Tour 

There is only one thing to do. Therefore, is the government 
desirous to step in and say that in all shops these safeguards must 
be observed, these arrangements for the public and the general 
health? But, gentlemen, these things are not going to be done 
until you change the point of view of the government. So long 
as the point of view of the government is the point of view of 
successful big business merely, it will not yield to the counsel 
of the rest of us which says that before the interests of big busi- 
ness must come the interests of humanity. In other words, it is 
perfectly useless to talk about great programs of reform unless 
you first get a government that is going to institute the reform. 
Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that I should remind you of 
the fundamental question of the present campaign. 

I want to say here, as I have said on so many other occasions, 
that there is a great deal in the program of the new third party 
which attracts all public-spirited and hopeful men, that there is 
a great program of human uplift included in the platform of that 
party. A man would be niggardly and untrue to himself who 
would not say that. But when I ask myself who is going to carry 
out this program, then the thing wears another aspect. [A voice: 
"Shoot it at him."] You think that I am referring to an individual. 
I am not. I am referring to the method by which that individual 
and the others associated with him propose to deal with the 
central economic difficulty.* 

I want to pay my tribute of personal respect to the President of 
the United States. I do not believe that any man in the United 
States [who] knows the facts can question the patriotism or the 
integrity or the public purpose of the man who now presides in 
the Executive Office in Washington. If he has got into bad com- 
pany, that is no fault of his, because he didn't choose the com- 
pany; it was made beforehand. If he has taken their advice, it 
was because they were nearest to him and he didn't hear anybody 

That is the reason I would rather have the advice of a crowd 
like this than the advice of a cabinet. I would at least hear more. 

* In the passage omitted below Wilson contrasted Roosevelt's third party, as to 
its composition and aims, with the Democratic party, using arguments similar to 
those he had advanced in his speech at the Broadway Arsenal in Buffalo. See above, 
pp. 9S-7. 

"Human Rights" 193 

I would at least learn more. I would feel what I always pray I 
shall feel my vital connections with those over whose destinies, 
and not over my own, I should in public office be presiding. For 
I have for two years occupied a responsible office, and I have had 
a good deal of enjoyment in it. I have had a good deal of enjoy- 
ment in seeing certain men disappear, because I got tired of look- 
ing at them. I have had a good deal of enjoyment in that in 
seeing men come to the front who had hitherto not had heart to 
come to the front, men who had lost heart in the effort to lift 
their own communities and had sat down with the sort of dull 
despair in their hearts as those who say: "Well, there is some 
blind force against us with which we can't cope/' 

There isn't any such force. I used to think before I went into 
politics that these fortresses of greed were real fortresses, but I 
found they were made of cardboard. You had only to throw the 
weight of honest men against them to see them collapse. The 
guns that frowned at their embrasures wouldn't go off. They were 
rusty. They were loaded with buncombe. When they exploded, 
it was the sound of words and not of shot. And all you had to do 
was to walk up to them without any words and take possession 
of what had all along belonged to you. 

This thing of politics is getting to be a very serious matter of 
business in die United States. The people of the United States are 
not going to be fooled any longer. They are going to think for 
themselves. They are going to make their own choices. I dare say 
they are going to make their own mistakes, but they are all bound 
in one direction and the man who doesn't join the procession will 
have to fall out of the ranks entirely. 

That is my only objection to the standpatter. He doesn't know 
there is a procession. He is asleep in the back part of his house. 
He doesn't know that the road is resounding with the tramp of 
men going to the front. And when he wakes up, the country will 
be empty. He will be deserted and he will wonder what's hap- 
pened. Nothing has happened. The world is going on. The world 
has a habit of going on. The world has a habit of leaving those 
behind who won't go on with it. The world has always neglected 
standpatters. And, therefore, the standpatter does not excite my 
indignation. He excites my sympathy. He is going to be so lonely 
before it is all over. And we are good fellows, we are good com- 
pany; why doesn't he come along? We are not going to do him 

194 Part 4. First Western Tour 

any harm. We are going to show him a good time. We are going 
to climb the slow road until it reaches some upland where the 
air is fresher, where the whole talk of politicians is stilled, where 
men can look one another in each other's faces and see that there 
is nothing to conceal; that all they have to talk about they are 
willing to talk about in the open and to talk about with each 
other; and looking back over the road, they will see at last we 
have fulfilled our promise to mankind. We said to all the world, 
"America was created to break every kind of monopoly and to 
set men free upon a footing of equality and upon a footing of 
opportunity that matched their brains and their energies." And 
now we have proved that we meant it. Now we are free men and 
can say to all the world, "Here under this emblem of liberty we 
have redeemed our pledges to mankind/' 

The influence of America has spread even to China. Why, all 
the old crusts are breaking, all the old impulses are being renewed 
in the rejuvenated earth. Just a while ago, as I came through the 
streets of this great city, die children of three schools had turned 
out to pay us the compliment of seeing us go by, and I saw in 
their faces how they were mixed of all the different national 
stocks that have made up the variety and the strength of Amer- 
ica.* I remembered what a comparatively recent immigrant to 
this country had told me. He said that when he came to America 
he expected everything. He expected to feel a new air, and the 
only place he had found what he really had looked for was in 
the public schools; that there was the genuine melting pot of 
equality into which when children entered they came out Ameri- 
cans, adjusted to the conditions of our life, acquainted with each 
other, having a common impulse and common training, a com- 
mon point of view. Then he thought of what so many noble men 
and women in this country are now interested in. Let the whole 
country go to school in those same schools. Let the grown-up 
people, in the evening when the children are not there, use those 
as the showrooms in which they will discuss the interests of the 
neighborhood. Use them as the place where they will acknowl- 
edge no difference of race or of creed or of conditions, and where 
those things can be displayed which are nowhere else to be found. 

One of the valuable lessons of my life was that at a compara- 

* See photograph of Wilson speaking to a crowd of school children on a street 
in Minneapolis. 

"Human Rights" 195 

lively early age in my experience as a public speaker I had the 
privilege of speaking in Cooper Union in New York. The audience 
in Cooper Union is made up of every kind of man and woman, 
from the poor devil who simply comes in to keep warm up to the 
man who has come in there to take a serious part in the discus- 
sion of the evening. And I want to tell you this: that in the ques- 
tions that are asked after the speech is over, the most penetrating 
questions that I have ever had addressed to me came from some 
of the men who were the least well dressed in the audience, 
came from the plain fellows, came from the fellows whose muscle 
was up against the whole struggle of life. And they asked ques- 
tions which went to the heart of the business and put me to my 
mettle to answer them. I felt as if their voice was a voice out of 
life itself, not ... a voice out of any school less [severe] * than 
the severe school of experience. What I like about this social- 
center idea of the school is that there is the place where the ordi- 
nary fellow is going to get his innings, going to ask his questions, 
going to express his opinions, going to convince those who do 
not realize the vigor of America, that the vigor of America runs 
through the blood of every American, and that the only place he 
can become a true American is in this clearinghouse of absolutely 
democratic opinion. When we have gone to school, then we love 
no masters. When we have graduated from these conferences of 
neighbors, we will need to be afraid of no man. The only people 
I have ever heard object seriously to that use of the schoolhouse 
was a gentleman who had picked the school boards and controlled 
them and knew that in the schoolhouses their own preferences 
would be discussed and the last thing that they want is to have 
these things discussed. When we are done discussing, when the 
noise is over, when the American people has sat down to the 
consideration of its own affairs, the parties will begin to fall into 
definite line. When the men will take sides with political convic- 
tion, then men will stop seeking their own selfish interests and 
get together in that comradeship which is the spirit of America. 

* The editor has reproduced this phrase as it stands in Wilson, New Freedom, 
p. 09. The Swem Notes indicate that Wilson may have corrected himself at this 
point, or that Swem did not catch all of what Wilson said. Swem's Notes have 
"out of between "not" and "a voice." 

196 Part 4. First Western Tour 


Governor Wilson's address at the auditorium in St. Paul that same 
evening attracted the largest crowd he had faced during his western 
tour. The correspondent of the New York Evening Post reported there 
were fifteen thousand people in the hall and that thousands more were 
turned away. 2 The audience listened to the address (entitled "The 
Tariff and the Trusts") most attentively and applauded enthusias- 
tically, but the candidate added nothing new of importance to what 
he had said previously on these two questions. 


From St. Paul Ike Russell of the New York Times filed a dispatch 
telling how Wilson had captivated the Northwest by his distinctive 
style of campaigning. This correspondent especially emphasized the 
success the Democratic candidate had achieved during his visit to the 
Twin Cities. 

There fell by the wayside during the day the conception of Wilson 
that had been freely proclaimed and portrayed by Roosevelt and 
other orators, that of the prim schoolmaster fussing around in politics 
without much idea of real life and its problems. The people turned out 
to watch curiously such a man, but they remained to cheer and to con- 
gregate in constantly increasing crowds to hear some one who really 
gained and held their interest." 1 

Ralph Smith of the Atlanta Journal found that Roosevelt's visit to 
Minneapolis and St. Paul two weeks before had evoked "more outward 
expressions" than Wilson's but that of the two the Democratic nominee 
had held the attention of his audience better. 2 

One interesting theory as to why Wilson was so effective as a 
speaker was advanced in an editorial of the Minneapolis Journal: 

"Governor Wilson is a master of the Websterian art of understate- 
ment. The first effect of this is to disconcert his followers, but after he 
has massed his arguments the volume of effect is adequate. Meanwhile 
his partizans have recovered their balance, and some of those who 
came to criticize remain to admire. Such speaking as Governor Wil- 
son's is new to the present generation of Americans, who have been 
fed on superlatives, until climax is anti-climax." * 

Governor Wilson explains how the 
'Democratic party resembles a Prince- 
.ton football team. 

From St. Paul Pioneer-Press. (At St. Paul, Sept. 18, Wilson said: "I come 
from a football college and I know a team when I see it.") 

198 Part 4. First Western Tour 

Delivered at the National Guard Armory, September 19 

AN ALL-NIGHT RUN, after the speech at St. Paul, brought the cam- 
paign train to Chicago. Shortly after 9:00 A.M. it halted at the Western 
Avenue Station of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad, 
where a large crowd of Chicago Democrats members of both the 
Sullivan and Harrison factions were on hand to greet Governor Wil- 
son. The travel-worn nominee and his entourage were rushed in auto- 
mobiles to a reception at the Democratic national headquarters in the 
Karden building. 2 

An hour and a half later Wilson and his little band of aides and cor- 
respondents entered the Michigan Central station to resume their jour- 
ney to Detroit. During those ninety minutes the aged Magnet had 
been replaced by a modern steel private car, the Federal. This im- 
provement in quarters had been made not without casualty, for in the 
hasty transfer of the party's baggage Governor Wilson's pajamas, tooth- 
brush, safety razor, overcoat, and a pair of his shoes had vanished. He 
took the loss philosophically, according to the correspondent of the 
New York World, remarking that he wouldn't care if the "marauding 
hands 1 * had also made off with the rear platform. 8 

But the rear platform was still there, and the Michigan State Demo- 
cratic Committee had already arranged for its use at several stops be- 
tween Chicago and Detroit. At Michigan City Wilson told a crowd of 
six hundred what he did not like about speaking from a rear platform: 
"I have tried discussing the big questions of this campaign from the 
rear end of a train. It can't be done. They are too big, that is the long 
and short of the matter. By the time you get started and begin to 
explain yourself the train moves off. I would a great deal rather moke 
your acquaintance than leave a compound fracture of an idea behind 
me." 4 Kalamazoo and Battle Creek were among other cities that 
heard the still reluctant rear-platform orator. 

Reaching Detroit late in the afternoon, Wilson was escorted imme- 
diately to the Hotel Ponchartrain, where he dined with Mayor W. B. 
Thompson, Congressman Frank E. Doremus, and other prominent 
Michigan Democrats. He had expressed a desire to see his old ac- 
quaintance Ty Cobb, and was delighted to interrupt the political con- 
versation when the great Detroit ball player appeared in the dining 

Detroit, Michigan igg 

room. Wilson remarked that he hadn't seen Cobb since he was in 
Georgia. "Well, Governor," replied Cobb, "the next time I see you, 
I hope it will be in the White House." B (See photograph. ) 

In the evening the Democratic candidate closed his Michigan tour 
with a speech at the National Guard Armory, jam-packed with five 
thousand persons, several thousands more being turned away for lack 
of room. His voice was husky but it served him well enough to impress 
his audience with his cogent arguments and fluent oratorical style. 6 

As the audience filed from the hall after the speech was over, the 
correspondent of the New York Evening Post heard a white-whiskered 
gentleman ask a man beside him: 

"Do you think a man can get up like that for an hour and make an 
impromptu speech?" 

"Well, I dunno," said the other. "But I rather guess it was im- 
promptu, because he talked about the [Detroit] Journal, which was 
not out till this evening, and he could not very well have written his 
speech and learned it after that." 7 

Mr. Chairman, Your Honor, ladies and gentlemen: 

I esteem it a rare privilege to face an audience like this, and 
I must say that I have never felt the exhilaration of contest as 
I feel it in the year 1912, because there seems to have come into 
our politics again some of the original spirit which created the 
great government under which we live. 

Our Fourth of July celebrations had grown perfunctory. We 
had begun to repeat certain great phrases that had illuminated 
our history as if we had forgotten their meaning. The phrases of 
the Declaration of Independence and of the Virginia Bill of 
Rights, in which it is written, though men repeated it as if they 
didn't understand it, that whenever a great free people comes to 
the conclusion that its government is not suitable to its present 
needs, it has the right, the indefeasible right, to change that 
government as it will. 

We have begun to repeat that like an empty phrase and to 
forget that it was the foundation stone of everything that we had 
builded. Because in these later years we have become aware 
that our governments our state governments and our federal 
government were not responsive to our needs, did not lend 
themselves to the use of the common life of this country. There 
are a great many symptoms that this is true. 


Part 4. First Western Tour 

How long is it, will you tell me, that this country has been in- 
terested in the question of the initiative and the referendum? 
And why is it interested in that question now? Do we want to 
change the fundamental character of our government? No, we 
do not, but we want to get at our government. And we know that 
something has been standing between us and it. 


From Detroit News 

The initiative means this: that if a representative assembly does 
not represent us, then we will undertake to legislate for ourselves; 
that if a legislative assembly does not represent us and passes 
bills of which we disapprove, then we shall insist that those bills 
be submitted to us for our judgment for fear they should put 
upon the statute books things that do not act for the general bene- 
fit of the community. That is the meaning of the initiative and 
referendum. Nobody has proposed to substitute popular legisla- 
tion for representative legislation as a practice, as a rule. This 
is something which we have occasionally, in some parts of this 
country, demanded in order that we should again recover the 
control of our own affairs. And we will recover [it] unless we 
lose the spirit of 1776 and forget what our declarations of right 
mean. And so it seems to me in this year of 1912 we are changing 

Detroit, Michigan 201 

the rhetoric of the Fourth of July into the reality of political ac- 

Now, I say these things for this reason that the fundamental 
question we are debating in 1912 is this: Shall the government of 
the United States be serviceable to the whole people of the 
United States? That is the question. And underlying that ques- 
tion is this: What kind of government can be serviceable to the 
people of the United States? There is only one kind that can be, 
and that is a free government a government which is not domi- 
nated by some of us, but responsive to all of us. 

And our study in the present campaign is a study of the best 
method of gaining control of the instrumentalities by which we 
govern ourselves. I do not need to explain to you it is so familiar 
that passion has passed out of the question that the govern- 
ment of the United States has been responsive to specific in- 
terests, and in our time has seemed not to be responsive to the 
general interests of the people of the United States. I have seen 
it upon a small scale myself in the state of New Jersey and I dare 
say there have been times when you have seen it in this great 
state. I have just gathered from the intimation of your mayor 
that you have seen it in this city. There is hardly a part of the 
United States where men are not aware that some secret private 
purposes and interests have been spending their money and con- 
trolling their action, and they have determined that they are 
going to break through these barriers and govern themselves. 

Well, what has been governing them? Why, the special in- 
terests have been governing them; and they have been governing 
them through those interesting persons whom we call political 
bosses. A boss is not so much a politician as he is the business 
agent in politics of the special interests. At least that is the kind 
of boss I have known, and the kind of boss that I have known 
is not a partisan. He is quite above politics, because he has an 
arrangement with the boss of the other party so that, whether it 
is heads or tails, he wins. 

They receive contributions from the same sources the two 
bosses. They spend those contributions for the same purposes. 
They underneath the surface carry out the same program. And 
the amazing thing to me is that I have recently met some bosses 
who didn't realize that time had been called on the game. 

202 Part 4. First Western Tour 

What I am amazed at in the political boss is not his subtlety, 
but his stupidity. He is the perfect Bourbon. He never changes 
his mind. He never learns anything, and he never forgets any- 
thing. And some of them don't know that the people are now on 
to them, and that the way that is certain to spoil every purpose 
that they have is to dare to show their hand in it. I dare say I am 
amazed that they don't see it. But they will see it. 

It isn't more than five weeks before they will see it, because, as 
I travel from one part of this country to the other, I don't see 
any difference among the people in the different parts of this 
great country of ours. The same thing is written in their eyes, 
and it isn't a gleam of fierceness. It is the light of self-confidence. 
They know what they want, and they know they are going to 
get it. And anybody who supposes that economic questions and 
political questions are two different things is very much mistaken, 
because these things have been so closely married with one an- 
other that it is impossible to discriminate between them. 

For the man engaged in the interests of big business to see 
that nothing is done by way of reform, politics is business; and 
for the politician whom he uses, politics is business. And I am 
not going to waste my time, or my brains, discriminating between 
politics and business when we are in this part of the discussion. 
And this gives me an opportunity to allude to something that I 
read about half an hour ago. The Journal of this evening has an 
editorial in which I must say that it does me personally much 
more than justice. 4 But it sees in me an unintentional Machiavelli. 
It says this is an honest man; he honestly believes that a protec- 
tive tariff is unconstitutional; and if he gets a chance, being an 
honest man, he will upset this unconstitutional arrangement. 
That is good reasoning, but it is entirely inconsistent with another 
part of the editorial which very kindly ascribes brains to me; for 
it concedes that I am not only an honest man but an intelligent 
and well-informed man. I would not have claimed that for myself, 
but we will assume that in the argument. 

One of the things that I know is that about half the people in 

The editorial referred to by Wilson, after noting that both employers and 
workers in Michigan had prospered under the protective tariff, went on to say: 
"And Mr. Wilson as president would work to overturn the present tariff system. 
He would work to upset our present course of industrial advancement. He would 
work to check and divert the river of prosperity that now runs through the state." 
Detroit Journal, Sept. la 

Detroit, Michigan 203 

the United States are Democrats. I know that they are engaged 
in every kind of industry, and that they could not be united to 
accomplish economic destruction without also deliberately ac- 
complishing economic suicide. And I do not believe that half the 
people of the United States are going to combine to ruin the in- 
dustries of the United States. I am too intelligent to think that is 
likely. Moreover, so far as I am myself concerned, I would with 
the greatest respect call the editor's attention to a little utterance 
which I ventured to make upon accepting the nomination for the 
Presidency, in which I explicitly laid down the program which 
I thought we ought to pursue with regard to protective duties. 

I said that that ought not to be changed except in such a way 
and at such a rate as would not in any way interfere with the 
course of sound business in the United States. I also said, and 
that is what makes this parenthesis applicable to my discourse 
tonight, that we were going to begin with those particular items 
where we find special privilege entrenched. 

We know what those items are. These gentlemen have been 
kind enough to point them out themselves. And what we are in- 
terested in first of all with regard to the tariff is getting the grip 
of special interests off the throat of Congress. We do not propose 
that special interests shall any longer camp in the committee 
rooms of the Committee of Ways and Means of the House and 
the Finance Committee of the Senate. We mean that those shall 
be places where the people of the United States shall come and 
be represented, in order that these things may be done in the 
general interest, and not in the interest of particular groups of 
persons who already dominate the industries and the industrial 
development of this country. Because no matter how wise these 
gentlemen may be, no matter how patriotic, no matter how singu- 
larly they may be gifted with the power to divine the right courses 
of business, there isn't any group of men in the United States or 
any other country that is wise enough to have the destinies of a 
great people put into their hands as trustees. 

And we know, those of us who handle the machinery of poli- 
tics know, that the great difficulty in breaking up the control of 
the political boss is that he is backed by the money and the in- 
fluence of these very people who are entrenched in these various 
schedules. To quote a phrase of which I am very fond, I will say: 
"I am not arguing with you; I am telling you." 

204 Part 4. First Western Tour 

These things are things of actual tangible experience. I have 
dealt with bosses myself. I could write you a list, if you were 
interested in it, of a number of gentlemen (not exceeding half a 
dozen) who used to own the legislature of New Jersey. All that 
you had to do was to stand them up in front, metaphorically, of 
audiences all over the state of New Jersey and call the roll. And 
you broke their power by the mere exposure of them because 
everybody knew that the people of New Jersey had found it im- 
possible before the election of 1910 to get anything that they 
voted should be done. 

You are not to suppose that the people of New Jersey didn't 
vote programs of reform before 1910. They had been voting them 
for half a generation, but they didn't get them. Every platform 
was put out with a huge wink. Every platform was just a con- 
cession, a bluff on the part of the men who put them forth, service- 
able for the election, but not to serve as a guide after the election. 
And I can name in series the particular corporations in the state 
of New Jersey which made it impossible to carry out that pro- 
gram. If I were in New Jersey I would name them, but I am not 
going to be impolite enough to name them outside of New Jersey. 
I have named them in New Jersey, and therefore it isn't necessary 
that I should name them tonight. Besides, some of them have re- 
tired from that business. 

Very well then, how are you going to get a free government? 
That is the point. You are not intelligent if you are interested in 
a party program that does not begin by some suggestion that will 
show you that you can get a government that can carry out that 
program. Isn't that a plain proposition? What is the use having 
ambitious programs of social uplift if there isn't anything to lift 
up with? If you can't get a new partnership, you can't improve 
business. If you can't get a new atmosphere for government, you 
can't change the action of it. The absolutely necessary first step 
is to disentangle it from the things with which it has been en- 

What we want is free enterprise, for one thing. But we haven't 
got it. What we want is free markets for our commodities and 
free markets for our labor, and we haven't got them. What we 
want is free competing water routes, for example, that will en- 
able us to handle the heavier kinds of our goods in the transpor- 

Detroit, Michigan 205 

tation, without depending too much upon railway rates. We 
haven't got them and can't get them as things stand now. What 
we want is genuine conservation of our natural resources, and we 
can't get it as things stand now. 

Have you noticed that the trouble about conservation is that 
the government of the United States hasn't any policy at present? 
It is simply marking time. It is simply standing still. Reservation 
is not conservation. Simply to say, "We aren't going to do any- 
thing about the forests," when the country needs to use the for- 
ests, is not a practicable program at all. To say that the people 
of the great state of Washington can't buy coal out of the Alaskan 
coal fields doesn't settle the question. You have got to have the 
coal sooner or later. And if you are so afraid of the Guggenheims 
and all the rest of them that you can't make up your mind what 
your policies are going to be about these coal fields, how long are 
we going to wait for the government to make up its mind? 

We know perfectly well that there can't be a workable pro- 
gram until there is a free government. And what I want to point 
out to you, ladies and gentlemen, is this: The center of all our 
economic difficulties is that there is no freedom of enterprise in 
the United States. It would be a long journey to give you the 
particulars of what I mean. But I mean, for instance, this: If you 
make an invention in a particular field and require, let us say, a 
million dollars to build a plant in order to manufacture that thing 
and get it on the market and advertise it and try to get the 
money, you will apply for it in vain unless you will go in with 
the gentlemen who are already controlling the industries which 
that invention will affect. 

This is not a hypothesis. I could cite you instances. If it is a 
large sum of money you need, you can't get it. And you might as 
weU whistle for it. Make up your mind now that the inventive 
genius and initiative of the American people is being held back 
by the fact that our industrial field is so controlled that new 
entries, newcomers, new adventures, independent men are feared, 
are excluded, and if they will not go partners in the game with 
those already in control of it, they will be excluded. What does 
that mean? What does that mean with regard to your sons? What 
does that mean with regard to the next generation? What does 
it mean with regard to the present generation? You have got to 

206 fart 4. First Western Tour 

get into this complicated nexus of the monopolistic control in or- 
der to make your way along the routes of big business in the 
United States. 

I see men here and there in this audience nodding their heads 
when I say that. I know they have been up against it, and unless 
we can break that up, there is going to be stagnation. For I 
want you to remember how this control was built up. It was built 
up by competition, by free competition; by absolutely unrestricted 
competition. So that when a man got big and had a market larger 
than the local market and money enough to back himself, to be 
independent of local credit, he could squeeze the little man who 
had only the local market out of business by underselling him at 
unprofitable rates [while] he recouped himself by his sales in 
other parts of the country, and so making it impossible for him 
to do business; or if he found him too little to squeeze, he seldom 
found him too big to buy because he was ready to pay two or 
three times the price of his business to get rid of his competition. 
And after he had paid him two or three times the price of his 
business, he had to pay interest either upon his bonds, or divi- 
dends upon his stock, in order to carry on the business which he 
had thus overcapitalized in order to control it. And every time 
you add to the interest account, you add to the necessity of get- 
ting high prices from the consumer. I think that is plain to every 
man who knows anything about business in this audience. 

These are the processes which, because we didn't safeguard 
the little fellow, die big fellow has brought into existence. The 
pigmy hasn't any chance in America; only the giant has. And the 
laws give the giant free leave to trample down the pigmy. What 
I am interested in is laws that will give the little man a start, 
that will give him a chance to show these fellows that he has 
brains enough to compete with them, and can presently make his 
local market a national market and his national market a world 
market, and put them on their mettle to do the business more 
intelligently and economically and systematically than he can. 
But those are not the conditions existing now. 

That brings me to my point: Any party that can give you a 
free government, and will give it to you, can give you all the 
rest. How does the new party propose to give you a free govern- 
ment? So far as I can discover, it doesn't propose to do it at all, 

Detroit, Michigan 207 

for it proposes not to protect the little fellow, but to adopt the 
big fellow. 

I understand that the leader of the third party has recently 
said that he didn't suggest this just the other day, that he had 
suggested while he was President in one of his messages to Con- 
gress during that same term of the Presidency in which trusts 
grew faster and more numerously than in any other administra- 
tion we have had; and that his conclusion was he doesn't say, 
but this must be the inference that his conclusion was that the 
trusts had come to stay; that it wasn't possible to put them out 
of business; it wasn't possible to check their supremacy; that all 
you could do was to accept them as necessary evils and appoint 
an industrial commission which would tell them how they were 
to do their business not an industrial boss which should tell you 
how other men should be admitted into the field of competition, 
but an industrial commission which should take care of the people 
of the United States by saying to these trusts: "Now, go easy, 
don't hurt anybody. We believe that when you are reminded of 
your moral duties you are not malevolent, you are beneficent. You 
are big, but you are not cruel; and when you show an inclination 
to be cruel, here is a governmental agency that will remind you 
what are the laws of Christianity and of good conscience." * 

Now, who is going to be the keeper of the public conscience 
in respect of the reformation of our affairs through the trusts? 
(For that is the program. ) Why, this same government which has 
adopted the trusts. This same government is perpetuating the 
partnership which is now at the very root of the evil which we 
are fighting. Because the moment you legalize the trusts, the mo- 
ment you say that the evil they have done cannot be undone, you 
have crystallized the very conditions which now hold American 
industry as if in a straitjacket. For the means that I would pro- 
pose to deal with the trusts is simply to see ... if they can 

* Speaking at Topeka, Kans., Roosevelt declared that the failure of the federal 
government to deal effectively with the trusts was "due almost exclusively to the 
attitude of men like Mr. Wilson." He went on to denounce as "an absolute mis- 
statement" the charge that he thought the supremacy of the trusts was inevitable. 
And he also said the Democratic nominee was guilty of another "misstatement" 
when he stated that the commission proposed in the Progressive platform for dealing 
with the trusts " 'would not tell how other men should be admitted into the field 
of competition with the trusts/" Philadelphia North American, Sept. 22. 

208 Part 4. First Western Tour 

carry their overcapitalization without toppling down. Because, if 
the business is worth one hundred million dollars and it is capi- 
talized at five hundred thousand dollars, and somebody else can 
come in with a hundred million and do business in competition 
with the five-hundred-million concern, he can do it at an ad- 
vantage that is five times greater than the other fellow; and then 
he will see to it whether by genius and invention and economy 
and administration they can make a five-hundred [-million] wa- 
tered institution pay. 

All that I want is that these gentlemen should prove their case 
that the trusts are organized for the sake of efficiency; for that is 
the only leg they have to stand on. The whole process by which 
they have built up the trusts shows that they depend not upon 
efficiency but upon monopoly; when they cannot beat a man, they 
buy him out invariably. The most notable example is the way 
in which Mr. Carnegie was bought out of the steel business. Mr. 
Carnegie could build better mills and make better steel rails and 
make them cheaper than anybody else connected with what 
afterwards became the United States Steel Corporation. They 
didn't dare leave him outside because, no matter what their capi- 
tal might be, he beat [them]; and so they paid him four or five 
times what his business was worth in order to get rid of him. 
The most complimented man I know of in the industrial history 
of America is Andrew Carnegie. These men whose genius was 
boasted of knew they were no matches for him, and the only 
thing they could do to beat him was to make his bank account 
so big that it wasn't worthwhile for him to work any more. 

Now, if we can have men encouraged to come into the field 
with natural genius and put everybody else in that business on 
their mettle, then there will begin to be an industrial revival and 
a buoyancy of business in this country such as we have never 
known before. Limit the field of competition and you will limit 
the field of development. There is not now free enterprise in 
the United States. 

Ah, how the laboring men of this country have been deceived! 
How they have permitted themselves to be deceived! Don't you 
know that these very men who have been most successful in 
building up these trusts are also the very men who have been most 
successful in preventing organization of labor? Don't you know 
that one of the objects of their combination is to control the labor 

Detroit, Michigan 209 

market? And do you imagine that they have ever set deliberate 
plans for giving the workingman anything comparable in the 
way of wages to his proportion of the profits which they them- 
selves pocket? Why, they don't have to give the laboring man 
any more than he can get in the competition of the market, and 
they don't give him any more; and, as a matter of fact, some of 
the most highly protected industries in this country pay very 
much lower wages than the unprotected industries in this coun- 
try; and some of the most highly protected pay wages that are 
below the living scale; and, at die same time, these enterprises 
are making earnings so great that they can build new factories 
out of their surplus every second year. It is one of the grandest 
pieces of bluff and humbug that has ever been known in the his- 
tory of human deception. 

I want to widen the market for American labor. I want to see 
conditions exist in which men will compete for American labor 
I want men to come to a time again when they will realize that 
the highest priced labor in the world is the cheapest labor in the 
world; that what is produced by brains and intelligence and 
skillful touch is a great deal cheaper than what is produced by 
stupidity and dullness and the whip of the master. I tell you this: 
that American labor up to date is the cheapest in the world. I can 
prove it. American manufacturers compete in foreign markets in 
the sale of goods manufactured in those markets, near those mar- 
kets of labor that receives only one-third the remuneration of 
American labor. 

Now, what does that mean? It means that they can afford to 
pay American workingmen three times as much and still under- 
sell their competitors in the foreign markets. And yet the Ameri- 
can workingman is told that the amount of his wages depends 
upon the protective tariff. It doesn't. It depends upon him. It 
depends upon what is inside his thinking box. And when you 
once get to a system of regulated monopoly, then you have got 
to a system of controlled labor. Don't forget that. Narrow die 
lines of competition and you stiffen the lines of labor control. 
You haven't a free market for your labor any more than you have 
a free market for your commodities; for under this system of mo- 
nopoly, regulated or unregulated, the monopolists can deter- 
mine the amount of goods to be produced, and therefore deter- 
mine the price that those goods are to bring. There isn't a free 

210 Part 4. First Western Tour 

market for the goods. And these same gentlemen who will be 
regulated under this precious system are so interlaced in their 
personal relationships with the great shipping interests of this 
country, with the railroads, that they can determine the rates of 

The people of this country are being subtly dealt with. Do you 
know that you can get rebates without calling them such at all? 
The most complicated study I know of is the classification of 
freight by the railway company. If I want to make a special rate 
on a special thing, ail I have got to do is to put it in a special 
class in the freight classification, and the trick is done. And, when 
you reflect that the men who control the United States Steel Cor- 
poration (for example, the twenty-four men who control it) are 
either presidents or vice-presidents or directors in fifty-five per 
cent of the railways of the United States, reckoning by the valua- 
tion of those railroads and the amount of their stocks and bonds, 
you know just how close the whole tiling is knitted together in 
our industrial system. And these twenty-four gentlemen administer 
that corporation as if it belonged to them. The amazing thing to 
me is that the people of the United States have not seen that the 
administration of a great business like that is not a private affair; 
it is a public affair. 

Here I and a half a dozen other gentlemen start a corporation, 
a joint-stock corporation, and we advertise in the newspapers. We 
send out a dragnet for everybody's savings or surplus deposits; 
people all over the United States buy our securities; and then we 
sit down to administer the millions which they have poured into 
our enterprise, and talk about it as "our private business/' We do 
it by asking for and getting their unquestioned proxies, and any 
time that the stockholders counted sometimes by the hundreds 
of thousands in this country should choose to assert themselves, 
it would be discovered whose business this was. 

I have myself sat for a short time in a representative, not an 
owning capacity in the board of directors of a great corporation, 
and it has been amazing to me how little anybody was considered 
except those who were sitting around the board. The idea that it 
is a trust relationship dawned so slowly upon their comprehen- 
sion. And yet it is a trust relationship, and until that has soaked 
into the consciousness of the people of this country, they won't 
know how to get control of their own investments and of their 

Detroit, Michigan 211 

own business. So that what I am after all along the line is break- 
ing up the smug control of these self-constituted trustees and 
masters of our economic fortunes, letting them know that the 
government has ears for other people than themselves; not in 
order to do them any injury whatever, but merely in order to 
bring them to their senses and make them conduct their business 
upon the basis of fair dealing and equality all along the line. 

There again I fall back upon the editorial in the afternoon 
paper. And I take leave to ascribe to myself a certain degree of 
intelligence. I am not interested in disturbing the great course 
of business in this country, but I am interested in enriching it. 
I am interested in varying it, and I know the only way to do it is 
by the methods that I have suggested of regulated competition 
instead of legitimatized monopoly. 

After you have made the partnership between monopoly and 
your government permanent, then I invite all the philanthropists 
in the United States to come and sit on the stage and go through 
the motions of finding out how they are going to get philanthropy 
out of their masters. I don't want any assistance from the govern- 
ment which is given in condescension and pity. I want only that 
consideration which is given in justice and righteousness and 
good faith. We are not children to be taken care of. We live in a 
free government, and cannot breathe anything but a free air, and 
we want leave to take care of ourselves. This business of setting 
individuals or parties as special Providence is one of the things 
that is played out. So far as my pride is concerned, I would just 
as lief have a malevolent boss as a beneficent boss. I don't want 
any boss at all. 

Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is a year of critical choice. As 
to the year 1912, it may be too late to turn back. Don't deceive 
yourselves for a moment as to the pervasive power of the great 
interests which now dominate our development. They are so 
great that it is almost an open question whether the government 
of the United States can dominate them or not. Go one step fur- 
ther: make their organized power permanent, and it may be too 
late to turn back 

The roads diverge, at the point where we stand, very little. 
They stretch their vistas out to a region where they are very far 
separated from one another; and at die end of one is the old tire- 
some story of a government tied up with the special interests of 

212 Part 4. First Western Tour 

the nation; and at the other shines that light which we have fol- 
lowed all our lives, the light of individual liberty, of individual 
freedom, the light of untrammeled enterprise. I, for my part, do 
not consent to regard that light as an ignis fatuus after which we 
have been following as if we were pursuing a mirage. I believe 
that light shines out of the heavens themselves that God has 
created. I believe in human liberty as I believe in the wine of life. 

There is no salvation for me in the mere power of government. 
Law was brought in not to guide the strong, but to protect the 
weak. Law was meant more for the infant in the cradle than for 
the man who has achieved middle life and found his standing in 
the world. Law is meant more for the boys than for the men. Law 
is meant more for the beginners in every enterprise than for those 
who have achieved. Law is beckoning on to the future genera- 
tions, heartening them, cheering them, saying: "Be afraid of no 
man; come on; the field is open. Spend your power and know that 
in spending you shall get legitimate usury. Let your hearts be 
afraid of nothing except slavery. Be afraid of nothing except be- 
ing deceived by the sophistry of men who would master you. 
Open your eyes; look into their eyes; question their character; 
search their programs and then choose whom you will follow." 

I pity the man who in the year 1912 promises the people of the 
United States anything that he cannot give them. I used to say 
sometimes when I was attempting to write history that I could 
sit on the side lines and look on with a certain degree of com- 
placency upon the men who were performing in the arena of poli- 
tics; because, I said, after the game is over, some quiet fellow 
like myself will sit down in a remote room somewhere and tell 
the next generation what to think of you fellows, and they will 
think what he tells them to think. He assesses; he sums up. You 
may talk yourselves tired, and your own estimate of yourselves 
will be discounted. 

And now that I am myself exposed, I think of that quiet jury 
sitting in those rooms surrounded by nothing but shelves and 
books and documents. I think of the anticipated verdict of an- 
other generation, and I know that the only measure and standard 
by which a man can rise or fall is the standard of absolute in- 
tegrity; that he can deceive nobody but himself and his own 
generation for a little space. 

There is no immortality in politics, except the immortality of 

Hariman Theater, Columbus 213 

honesty. There is no immortality for a nation except the immor- 
tality of freedom. America has promised herself and promised 
the world this great heritage. Shall she break the promise? Shall 
she deceive herself and deceive mankind? Shall she not recover 
the spirit in which she made constitutions, and with that same 
spirit revive them, rejuvenate them, shoot them through and 
through with a spirit and air of indomitable courage? And, shall 
she not at every choice at the ballot box silently vindicate her 
claim to wisdom and to liberty itself? 

Delivered at Columbus, Ohio, September 20 

WHILE HE was in Detroit, Wilson had decided to avoid the strain of 
more rear-platform speeches by making the trip to Columbus by night. 
To W. L. Finley, chairman of the Ohio Democratic committee, he 
had said: "I am not a Bryan. I cannot stand continuous work without 
my regular rest, and must get to sleep right after my evening meet- 
ings if I am to preserve my health and strength through the campaign 
as I intend to do." 2 * The Democratic candidate had his way and was 
slumbering peacefully when his train reached Columbus at 8:00 A.M. 
the next day. 

Refreshed and full of vigor, Wilson emerged from the Federal 
shortly after eleven o'clock and met the local reception committee 
headed by James A. Cox, Democratic gubernatorial nominee which 
had been waiting patiently for his appearance. His hosts escorted 
him to the Southern Hotel, where he was greeted cordially by Gov- 
ernor Judson Harmon of Ohio. Wilson's former rival at the Baltimore 
convention was so eager to pay his respects that he did not wait for 
a formal appointment. 8 

Wilson's speaking schedule for the day was a demanding one, made 
all the heavier by the fact that the Ohio Democrats had chosen this 
day for the opening of their state campaign. After attending a lunch- 

* Wilson was referring, of course, to William Jennings Bryan, known as one of 
the most indefatigable campaigners in American political history. He toured the 
country in 1912, campaigning for Wilson as vigorously as if he were himself the 
Democratic presidential nominee. 

214 Part 4. First Western Tour 

eon given by some of the state candidates, he started on his afternoon 
round of speechmaking. He wanned up with a talk to two thousand 
Democratic workers, mostly county and precinct committeemen, and 
then dashed away to address a group of public school teachers. His 
first important political speech of the day was to a thousand business- 
men at the Hartman Theater. 4 It was straight from the shoulder, 
clearly reflecting the influence of Brandeis on his thinking. 

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: 

I am very much complimented that the busy men of a particu- 
larly busy city should take an hour in the middle of the afternoon 
to come out and give me the pleasure and the privilege of saying 
a word or two to them. I would very much prefer that you should 
for the time being forget that I am a candidate for the Presidency 
because, if I may say so to you very frankly, the consciousness 
that I am a candidate and am supposed to be soliciting the suf- 
frages of my fellow citizens sometimes embarrasses me. Because I 
do not wish the thought of an occasion like this, or any other oc- 
casion for that matter, to be centered upon myself as an individ- 
ual. I would a great deal rather if it were possible, if you were not 
so numerous, hear you talk than talk myself. Because I regard a 
meeting like this as a sort of conference in which we can become 
aware of one another's points of view and of one another's opin- 
ions about those matters which concern all of us. 

One of the most amazing fictions of our politics is that the 
Democratic party is not interested in the business welfare of the 
United States. When you reflect that the Democrats of the United 
States constitute about half of the population, it is very interest- 
ing that half of the population should be suspected of the desire 
to commit commercial hara-kiri. There are Democrats in every 
walk of life. There is not an important undertaking in this coun- 
try with which some Democrat is not connected and upon whose 
success some Democrats' achievements do not depend. Therefore 
it is amazing to me that any body of citizens should have long en- 
tertained the delusion that the Democratic party as such has any 
desires upon the material prosperity of our country. 

What we are privileged to say to one another upon this matter 
we should say very frankly indeed: Are you satisfied with the 
business conditions of the United States? Do you feel the same 

Hartman Theater, Columbus 215 

freedom in enterprise that obtained in this country when those of 
you who are middle-aged were youngsters? Do you feel that your 
sons have as open a field for die exercise of their gifts in busi- 
ness as they would have had if they had been born a generation 
ago? Do you feel no stiffening of the structure? Do you feel no 
concentration of the control of our industrial development in 
certain quarters? Do you feel no increased difficulty about obtain- 
ing the larger kinds of credit in order to start the larger kinds of 
undertakings? Are there inventors among you? Do you see noth- 
ing taking place in the market for inventions? Is this company 
of businessmen satisfied that they are now as free in business as 
they used to be, and that America has as untrammeled a future 
in her material development as she once seemed to have? Are you 
convinced there is no such thing as monopoly? Are you ignorant 
of the processes by which monopoly has been created, and are 
you content to continue to live under conditions which will per- 
petuate monopoly? 

The questions answer themselves. You are not satisfied with 
the present conditions of business. If you accept them, it is be- 
cause of a certain kind of despair. You know these things ought 
not to have happened. You know that the processes ought not to 
have been permitted by which they were brought about, but you 
feel that big business has come to stay and you don't see how to 
break up the present processes of big business and substitute 
better ones. Therefore with a spirit quite uncharacteristic of 
America you shrug your shoulders and say: "Well, perhaps the 
best we can do is to submit and to regulate the thing if we can 
find men of genius enough to regulate it." * 

Gentlemen, do you realize why we prefer democracy to mon- 
archy? It is because we can't afford to be anxious as to what kind 
of sons a man has. If you have a monarchy or an aristocracy, your 
leaders have to come from the loins of this man. Suppose they 
don't come. Then you are cheated of the energy of die nation 
unless you can say, "It doesn't make any difference what kinds of 

In the passage omitted below Wilson fell back upon two of his favorite illustra- 
tions in regard to the tariff and the trusts: first, that governmental affairs should not 
be entrusted completely to "experts," least of all to those who professed to be experts 
on the tariff; second, that unrestricted competition fostered monopoly, making it 
possible for the "giants" of business to kfll the "pigmies." 

216 Part 4. First Western Tour 

sons they have." There are plenty of sons to take their places 
from other ranks and the whole structure of liberty has been built 
up out of the circumstance that the unknown men regardless of 
the humbleness of their origin or the obscurity of their beginnings 
have had an absolutely free channel in which to enter with their 
energy and establish their lordship over those less confident than 

That is the reason that I am a Democrat, and that is the reason 
that every American man who is thoughtful is at least a democrat 
with a little "d." And the interesting circumstance about the 
present campaign is that men are beginning to see the reason 
there is no use to put it democrat with a little "d" unless you will 
begin with a big "D." Because the channels open[ed] by those 
who are not Democrats with a big "D" do not lead to the real 
processes of democracy with a little "d." They lead to escape- 
ment, they lead to the regulation of monopoly, they simply offer 
to guarantee to us that monopoly will be good to us. 

Now, there isn't any living man that can guarantee that unless 
he will see to it that men all over the country are challenged to 
come out and beat these fellows at their own business. That is the 
only law of freedom. Our trammels just now, our political diffi- 
culties, arise out of the fact that those who control our govern- 
ment have taken counsel not with the men who are about to make 
beginnings but to the men who have achieved, who are at the 
top of industry, who have already earned their mastery and who 
can see nothing except the desirability of maintaining the condi- 
tions under which their mastery has been obtained. 

A very subtle and perhaps cynical English writer has made a 
very interesting remark. He says it is not true altogether to say 
of a man who has established himself abundantly in business 
that you can't bribe a man like that. Because, he says, the point 
is that he has been bribed not in any gross sense, in any corrupt 
sense but he has got his mastery under existing conditions and 
existing conditions have put him under bond to see to it that 
they are not changed. He has learned one game and he isn't go- 
ing to risk another. He has learned how to get to the top by the 
ladder that is under him now and he doesn't purpose to let any- 
body change the processes by which men have to climb. He is 
going to see to it that things are held where he has them and 
where he wants them to stay. I am not criticizing it. It is perfectly 

Hartman Theater, Columbus 217 

natural and they have to be changed without his consent. I am 
very sorry. I would apologize to him if I knew him. 

But these things will have to be changed without his consent; 
for the men that I am listening to as well as I can in politics are 
the men of the next generation, the men knocking at the door of 
opportunity, thundering at these closed gates and trying to seize 
us who have built up a great structure of wealth. 

But what of us? Where is our hope, where is our opinion, where 
is our opportunity of achievement? Are you going to shut the 
gates upon us and keep them shut? Are you going to open just 
such little wickets as you care to keep the key to and let us slip 
in and join your organization, or are you going to open the main 
portals and say, "Come in. The future is yours as much as it is 
ours, and no man shall contest it with you except by brains and 
honesty of character." If an artificial obstacle to free opportunity 
in this country must be battered down, nobody will profit more, 
nobody will feel the buoyancy and spring more, than the men 
already in business in the United States. 

One of the things that makes the currency question most press- 
ing and significant at this moment is that we are certain now, in 
my judgment, to remove some of the artificial obstacles to our 
prosperity in business. The minute you do that there is to be such 
an increase in the economic activity of America that this stub- 
born, stiff, antiquated currency system of ours can't stand the 
strain. You have got to make it elastic. You have got to change 
it, or else you can't stand your own prosperity. There won't be 
any means of carrying it. America is now straining at the leash, 
and I could name some of the gentlemen who hold the leather 
thong that is attached to the leash. I don't know whether they 
know who are holding it or not. It doesn't make any difference 
whether you do or not. The leash is there and America is strain- 
ing to be free; and God willing, she shall be free. 

218 Part 4. First Western Tour 


Delivered at the Memorial Hall, Columbus, Ohio 
September 20 

THE EVENING address at Memorial Hall was to be the climax of 
Wilson's western tour. 2 Ohio Democrats, with their hopes for victory 
soaring high, also had looked forward to this occasion. Bubbling over 
with enthusiasm, thousands of them some marching in an old-fash- 
ioned torchlight procession- converged on the auditorium. With great 
rapidity they filled the four thousand seats, and very soon thousands 
more were blocking the street outside. 8 

A wild demonstration broke loose in the auditorium when Governor 
Harmon finished introducing the Democratic nominee. But when 
Wilson began to speak in a clear conversational tone, the audience 
quieted down and listened as he hammered home his charge that "the 
Republican party and the third party had already handed over to the 
Democratic speakers the two chief issues of the campaign" the tariff 
and the trusts. 4 

Dead silence crept over the audience as he closed with a stirring 
peroration, which was followed by "one of those tremendous outbursts 
of applause which meant that a real orator had swayed the audience 
with a speech whose climax some said recalled the matchless power 
of Wendell Phillips." 8 

Governor Harmon, Chairman Finley, ladies and gentlemen: 

I consider it a real privilege to take part in the opening of this 
great campaign in the noble state of Ohio; and I want to thank 
Governor Harmon for the very generous and gracious words with 
which he has introduced me. I feel just the responsibility which 
he has indicated. The people of this country are tired of asser- 
tion. They are now waiting to consider their own affairs and de- 
cide them upon the evidence, upon the proof of intention, upon 
the offering of a program which they can see from the outset 
will work them the permanent advantage they now wait for. 

Before I started west and was considering what would be worth 
presenting to this great audience, it occurred to me that this 

"The Abandoned Issues* 219 

singular thing had happened: that the Republican party and the 
third party had already handed over to the Democratic speakers 
the two chief issues of the campaign. They are not even profess- 
ing to know how, or upon what principle, the tariff ought to be 
revised, and neither of them is proposing to meet the question of 
monopoly by way of remedy.* The only thing proposed is to mol- 
lify it, to make it as mild, as governable, as bearable, as possible 
So that the very heart of our difficulties is avoided and declined 
by the orators of both the regular Republican party and . . .f 
of the very irregular Republican party. 

I do not know how it would be possible to characterize the 
third party, because it is made up of so many elements that no 
characterization would fit all of its elements. In the first place, it 
is made up of a great many Republicans who feel simply this: 
that their consciences couldn't any longer stand what the regular 
Republican party was doing. And in the second place, it is made 
up of a great many public-spirited people who have been looking 
for somebody who would profess their program but have not 
stopped to consider sufficiently whether they have found some- 
body that can cany out that program. And in the third place, it 
consists of a certain number of persons about whom the less said 
the better. It would be very interesting if I could mention some 
of their names, but I have laid upon myself certain restrictions 
of etiquette in this campaign which I do not care to overstep. 

For I am not interested in individuals. I am not interested in 
candidates. I am interested in the feasibility of reform, and the 
validity and reality of it; and I know that reform cannot begin 
with such a government as either Mr. Taft or Mr. Roosevelt will 
supply us with, for the simple reason that neither of these gentle- 
men proposes to supply us with a government which is free to 
act in the interests of the people. The first thing we must get is a 

* At Topeka, Roosevelt denied that the Progressive party had abandoned the 
"chief issues of the campaign." And he countered by charging that Wilson's position 
as regards the trusts was comparable to that of Buchanan in 1860 towards the 
question of secession: "Mr. Buchanan said that the Union ought to be preserved, 
and then added that there was not any way to preserve it. ... Mr. Wilson says 
that it is good to have fine purposes for helping labor and regulating the trusts, 
but he is against every practical expedient toward that end. Mr. Wilson is the 
Buchanan of the present industrial situation in the United States." Philadelphia 
North American, Sept 22, 

f The word "orators" is repeated in the Swem Notes at this point but not in 
the transcript in the Wilson Papers, Library of Congress. 

220 Part 4. First Western Tour 

free government we haven't a free government now. And we 
know why we haven't a free government. The government of the 
United States is not free, because it takes its counsel with regard 
to the economic policy of the people of the United States from a 
very limited group of persons; and so long as it takes its counsel 
from that limited group of persons it cannot serve the interests 
of the nation as a whole. 

My chief indictment against the program of both the other 
parties is that they do not propose to cure the causes. They 
merely propose to treat and try to remedy the results. For the 
causes are plain enough. Take the tariff: I am not going to dis- 
cuss the tariff here tonight in any analytical fashion, but I want 
to point out to you that they haven't even realized that the tariff 
question is an absolutely new question. The most that either of 
the other platforms says is that some of the schedules are too 
high, and the most that one of the candidates says is that they are 
too high, chiefly because there isn't enough of the "prize money" 
that goes into the pay envelope of the employee. He doesn't ob- 
ject to the high prices when he speaks of the tariff. He doesn't 
admit that the high prices are due to the tariff. He simply says 
that there isn't an equitable division of the spoils. And he doesn't 
realize that there wouldn't be any spoils under the tariff system 
if it weren't an absolutely new question. 

I say that it is an absolutely new question for this reason: When 
Mr. McKinley used to argue for high protective duties, when 
Mr. Blaine used so brilliantly to defend them, when the older 
apostles who built up the system, like Henry Clay, laid the foun- 
dations of their argument, what was it? It was that, while it was 
true that we had excluded foreign competition, it was also true 
that we had established in the United States such a splendid ar- 
rangement of domestic free trade and free competition that prices 
would be kept at their normal level by reason of the clashing 
genius of men inside America who would compete with one an- 
other for the markets of the great continent. And for a long time 
prices were kept at a reasonable and normal level by that very 
competition; and if that competition had continued, I dare say 
it would have been very difficult to make the people of the United 
States as uneasy as they now are about the tariff. 

For why are they uneasy about it? They used to be told that 
it was for the benefit of the American worldngman; and now they 

"The Abandoned Issues" 221 

know that the American workingman hasn't got the benefit that 
was intended for him. They used to be told that it was for the 
stimulation of American industry, and now they see some power 
closing in on American industry which has deprived it of its 
elasticity and of its power to expand. And they see what has laid 
its hand on us. 

Under what spell are we? There is fear in the air. Of what are 
we afraid? There is paralysis. What withholds our hands? Why, 
chiefly that this domestic competition has largely disappeared, 
and that in all the greater fields of industry men have banded 
themselves together to see that no fresh competitors come into 
the field of contest 

There isn't a businessman in the United States who doesn't 
realize that this is true not only, but that there is more than the 
machinery of combination; there is the machinery of the Clearing 
House Association, for example, where the leading bankers of 
whole regions of the country exchange information as to how 
much particular firms and business concerns are borrowing and 
suggest upon occasion that so and so, and so and so, and so and 
so, ought not to be extended any further credit. So that there is 
getting to be a "black list" with respect^pf credit, and a preferred 
list, by the cooperation of a force that is drawing more and more 
together and that is interlocked with the very men who do not 
desire competitors. Because, when you take the directors of any 
one of the great monopolistic organizations like the Standard Oil 
Company, or the United States Steel Corporation, and then find 
that those same gentlemen are in the boards of directors of rail- 
ways and banks and mining companies and manufacturing insti- 
tutions of every sort and degree, until one man will be found upon 
the lists of as many as sixty boards of directors, and that these 
gentlemen who control transportation also control credit, you 
will know how likely it is that if you start an enterprise that will 
interfere with theirs you will get money enough to get very far 
beyond your first beginning, 

And so held in the hand of monopoly, we look about us and see 
what gave these men a chance to grapple us thus. And just as 
soon as you ask the question, you will see that the laws of this 
country have failed to do what laws were originally and only in- 
tended to do. Laws are not [intended] * for the assistance of the 

* In the Swem Notes but not in the transcript in WP, LC. 

222 Part 4. First Western Tour 

strong. They are intended for the protection of the weak. And 
the thing that has done this is the thing which before the era of 
combinations was the very thing that stimulated us. Just as it 
may turn out that while protection once stimulated us, it is 
now choking us and enthralling us. The thing that once stimu- 
lated us was individual competition. But when you set against 
the individual, or a little group of individuals, a vast combina- 
tion of capital (against which it is impossible for him to do any- 
thing, but which will break his strength), then you know that 
what you are suffering from is unrestricted and unregulated com- 
petition; and that just so soon as we learn how, as we can easily 
learn how, to regulate competition, then we will defend the new- 
comers into the lists. Then we will see to it that the man with 
only a local market is allowed to live long enough until he gets a 
market as wide as his state, [as wide as his region],* as wide 
as his genius will carry him with wings of commerce from one 
end of the globe to the other. We will see to it that we establish 
this rule that the entries to the race are absolutely open and 
free, and nobody shall be excluded. 

We are not going to regulate the strength of the competitors. 
We are going to say to the newcomers: "It depends upon your 
genius, upon your initiative, upon your power to originate and 
use inventions, upon your knowledge of how to organize business 
and economize processes, upon your art of getting customers and 
widening your market; but what we are going to see to is that no 
man uses any means except brains and a better business capacity 
than yours to beat you." That is what we have got to see to. 

Then what will happen? I'll tell you what will happen. You 
know that you are all the time hearing about watered stock, 
which simply means stock that has been issued without any val- 
uation, any real valuation, over against it to sustain it, to justify 
it. And you know how these monopolies have been built up. Not 
only has the little fellow been squeezed out that does not cost 
much money, because they can afford to undersell him for a little 
while in the market where alone he can trade, until he is put out 
of business but it costs them a great deal of money to do the 
other thing, namely, to buy out the bigger competitor of whom 
they are afraid. Because these combinations have been made by 

In the Swem Notes but not in the transcript In WP, LC. 

"The Abandoned Issues' 9 223 

a process which I can illustrate by an illustration which I used 
to some of you this afternoon. 

I use it again, because when I used it this afternoon I was 
guilty of a certain inaccuracy, and I want to get it straight. I 
said that the shoe manufacturers of this country had formed a 
combination whereby they controlled all the shoe-making ma- 
chinery of the United States. I was wrong in that statement. It 
is not the shoe manufacturers, it is the manufacturers of shoe ma- 
chinery that have formed a trust; and the manufacturers of shoes 
are suffering just as much from the exactions of that trust as any- 
body else, because they can't get their machinery from anybody 
else, and they either have to buy it or lease it upon such terms 
as the monopoly requires of them. A man arose I think his name 
was Plant who began to develop a new set of machines for the 
manufacture of shoes. He succeeded in building up plants that 
were not only as good as those which were equipped with the 
machinery of the shoe machinery trust, but which were better; 
and it became absolutely necessary for them to buy him out, since 
they didn't have brains enough to beat him. And they bought him 
out, as usually happens, at two or three times the value of his 
plants and business. What was the result? If we can equalize the 
terms of competition in such a fashion that some other man of 
some other name will come in and still further improve the proc- 
esses of manufacture in that business, and can get the money to 
float him until he is on his feet, then this top-heavy concern that 
has, in order to carry its business, to pay dividends on two or 
three times what its business is worth will be at a very great dis- 
advantage, and will either have to economize and build up upon 
processes which only their brains can originate or be beaten by 
the more economical and effective competitor. 

I want to put every industry in this country on its mettle, and 
let it live or die according to the capacity of those who are con- 
ducting it, not according to any artificial advantage whatever. 
The Democratic party is the only party that is proposing this new 
era of equality and opportunity. The third party leaders propose 
to you merely that we should adopt monopoly as it stands and 
regulate it. And I reply that that is adopting under the aegis of 
the government itself, among other things, the very organizations 
in the United States which have been able to defeat organized 

224 fart 4. First Western Tour 

labor and exclude it from their employ. And when I state that, 
inasmuch as they cannot deny it they come back with this sug- 
gestion: Then why is it that the railroads, though their almost 
inevitable monopoly is adopted by the government and regulated 
by the Interstate Commerce Commission, do not crush out organ- 
ized labor? * If they knew the rudiments of our economic condi- 
tions, they wouldn't ask the questioa 

In the first place, the railroads before they were regulated did 
not fight organized labor; and one of the finest, one of the noblest 
labor organizations in the United States lies at the center of that 
great industry the Association of Locomotive Engineers, an as- 
sociation distinguished among American labor organizations by 
the sanity (not to say the statesmanship) with which its affairs 
have been governed. And in the second place, these gentlemen 
ought to know, if they do not, that the railways of this country 
are of necessity a single unit. You can't stop the operation of one 
of them, for every one of them is interlaced with all the others. 
The mails of the United States for one thing must be carried. If 
the roads are not run in one way, they must be run in another. At 
the same time these gentlemen ought to know that the way the 
Steel Corporation, for example, has been able to successfully 
fight organized labor is this: that every factory is a unit by itself, 
every mine is a unit by itself; and if the men in this region of 
the country, or in this factory, strike, they can shut up that fac- 
tory or that mine and wait until those men are starved out and 
conquered, while the factories and the mines in all the rest of 
the country go on producing the raw material and the manu- 
factured steel. By using half a dozen units to crush a single unit, 
they can always crush the efforts of organized labor. 

These things are fundamental; these are the ABC'S of our experi- 
ence. The railways can't do that, and that is the fundamental dif- 
ference between the two cases. Therefore, no conclusion with 
regard to the effect upon organized labor can be drawn from the 
successful regulation of the railways of the country by the Inter- 
state Commerce Commission. Moreover, these gentlemen, if they 
knew the rudiments of political economy, would know that a rail- 
way, inasmuch as it must use certain advantageous lines linking 

* This is a paraphrase of the question posed by Roosevelt (at Trinidad, Col.): 
"Has the interstate commerce law put the workingman more in the power of the 
railroadsr See above, p. 176 n. 

"The Abandoned Issues" 225 

the cities of a great district, is of necessity a monopoly. You waste 
capital by building a parallel line. You make it necessary for co- 
operative administration to unite those roads sooner or later. That 
is not true in the rest of the industrial field, and every student of 
the matter knows that it is not true, so that what these gentlemen 
propose to do is to continue to let the giants crush the pigmies, 
is to continue to let these gentlemen suggest to the government 
of the United States that it is not advantageous to have any new 
competitors come into the field, suggest that if inventions are 
made by the prolific American mind they must of necessity go 
into the mill of the existing organization and in it be absorbed 
in a kind of business where efficiency does not have to be studied, 
because efficiency is not the basis of its success, but the control 
of the market. 

. . . The tariff has created the opportunity of monopoly. And 
monopoly is going to be adopted by this irregular Republican host 
as the only means of directing the economic development of this 
country and the life of the working people of this country. They 
throw their hands up in impotence and say: "We have created a 
thing which has become our master, and the most that we can do 
is to see that it does not absolutely crush us. We must see that 
these proud men who ride this car of juggernaut are not disturbed 
as they go crashing through the opportunities of men in every 
community, mastering credit and controlling production/' What 
a monstrous program! What an inconceivable program for men 
who call themselves statesmen and friends of liberty! And so it 
is amazing to me; it is nothing less than the confession of failure 
that neither of these parties even attempts to face the two cen- 
tral issues of the campaign, this monopoly-breeding tariff and 
this absolute control of American industry and American develop- 
ment by the monopolies which the tariff has created. 

Ah, gentlemen, I wish that every man here had been for a 
little while on the inside of the administration of government. 
I wish that you knew some of the heart-rending details of how 
men are made to do the bidding of these great powers. I wish 
you knew how many businessmen in this great country of ours, 
businessmen of high standing, have come to me and told me that 
they were utterly in agreement with me and then begged me 
never to mention their names or to say that they had told me. 
They were afraid, and they were justly afraid, for there are 

226 fart 4. First Western Tour 

powers in this country that could crush them. You criticize your 
legislature. You say that they do not represent you, that is to say, 
the great body of the people. You say that they do the bidding 
of special interests. Well, do you know what sometimes happens? 
You don't pay these legislators enough to make them independent 
upon their legislative salary. Most of them are lawyers, business- 
men, men whose support of themselves and of those whom they 
love depends upon somebody else's employment, and never upon 
opportunities made in the great field of business itself. And when 
you remember that there are places I could name them where 
if they didn't obey orders, their notes would be untimely called 
and they would be sent into bankruptcy; when you know, as I 
know, instances where within the region that they are known 
there isn't a bank that would give them further credit if their 
notes were once called by one member of the confederacy. Then 
put yourself in their position and remember that they are ordered 
to vote for this, that, or the other or take the consequences. You 
would feel gladder than ever that you had at least given your- 
selves the opportunity in Ohio to pass laws for yourselves. Be- 
cause they can't call everybody's note. They can't call the notes of 
a whole community. They can't put everybody out of business. 
They can't penetrate the secrets of the voting booth and find out 
how their employees and dependents voted. They will merely 
know that this is a free people, which by hook or by crook is 
going to have the laws which will maintain its liberty. For the 
detail of tyranny which is possible under the existing circum- 
stances is beyond belief. I never would have ventured to become 
a governor of a state if I had had a note in the bank. Because, al- 
though I dare say they couldn't overawe me, they might have 
made an end of me. 

I tell you frankly, it is hard to withhold one's mind from pas- 
sion when these things are dissected in the raw, as they are. And 
yet we are just, and with our knowledge of how these things 
have come about, we will withhold ourselves from passion. These 
things have grown up within twenty years, gentlemen. The men 
concerned have not realized what they were doing. They really 
believe that they know more how to conduct the business of this 
nation than anybody else does. They really think that it is for our 
benefit that they should be our trustees and masters. They are 
honest men, many of them, and very few of them are malevolent 

"The Abandoned Issues" 227 

men. Some of them don't care how much blood trickles through 
their fingers, but most of them don't dream that there is any blood 
in the business. Most of them repeat that old heartless pagan 
maxim that "business is business/' which means that business has 
no touch of humanity in it, that business need have no justice in it, 
that business is power, and the man that gets crushed by power 
merely gets crushed by the natural processes of nature herself. I 
say that that is pagan, not Christian, heartless, inconceivable. If 
men will but realize how many have their backs to the wall, how 
many find that life is a hopeless struggle, how many carry the 
burden of the day and see no outlet whatever! 

Here at the turning of the ways, when we are at last asking 
ourselves, "Can we get a free government that will serve us, and 
when we get it, will it set us free?" they say: "No, you can't have 
a free government, and you ought not to desire to be set free. 
We know your interests, we will obtain everything that you need 
by beneficent regulation; it isn't necessary to set you free, it is 
only necessary to take care of you." Ah, that way lies the path 
of tyranny; that way lies the destruction of independent, free in- 
stitutions; because all through the highways of history stand those 
permanent indestructible fingers which say, "This is the way to 
the destruction of human liberty and of human life." And no man 
who has any imagination, or in thought traveled those desolate 
ways, can do anything but tremble to see America standing and 
questioning as to whether she shall start out upon that path or 
not. And then these gentlemen, who say that they are going to 
take care of you, promise to be beneficent, offer in their largess 
of generosity to be a Providence to you, declare that they know 
what your interest is and that you need not fear if they take 
charge of your interest. Whereas, all the processes of liberty are 
turned about. 

The processes of liberty are that if I am your leader, you 
should talk to me, not that if I am your leader I should talk to 
you. I must listen, if I be true to the pledges of leadership, to 
the voices out of every hamlet, from every sort and condition of 
men. I must listen to the cry of those who are just coming into 
the lists. I must even be very still and hear the cry of the next 
approaching generation saying: "Is America to be free for us? Are 
we to have a heritage? Are we to be children taken care of and 
directed, or are we to be men and give America another lusty gen- 

228 fart 4. First Western Tour 

eration of achievement?" I must listen to the voices that the poli- 
tician does not hear. I must listen to the voices which the self- 
appointed savior cannot hear, the voices that seem to pulse with 
the movement of the blood, the voices that are accompanied by 
those shining eyes of hope and of confidence which are the dis- 
tinguishing characteristics of America. 

Did you ever take a trip to the other side of the Atlantic, and 
note the difference between the people in the steerage on the 
outward-bound voyage and the people in the steerage on the in- 
coming voyage? Did you never notice the difference between the 
eyes of men who have been in America and the eyes and coun- 
tenances of men who have never been in America? If you have 
noticed it, would you ever thereafter wish us to close the doors of 
America against these people who will have the fires of hope 
lighted in their countenances if they can but touch our altars? 
Would you wish America to be less than she is, the fertilizing 
ground of the world, where men coming add richness to richness, 
energy to energy, hope to hope, knowing that they are building 
up a great composite people, whose unity shall be their love of 
freedom, whose energy shall come from those indestructible in- 
stincts, those universal powers of mankind, which are excited to 
action only when men lift their heads in proud independence, 
where there is no man to make them afraid? 

The only thing to be afraid of is the thing that isn't true. The 
only thing to quail before is iniquity. If you are right why should 
you quail? Men have to die anyhow. Isn't it better to die with 
your face to the light than to fall like a craven with the light shin- 
ing on your back? Shall the torch of liberty fall from our hands? 
Shall we not take it up, man after man of us, and run that race 
of freedom which shall end only when the torch is lifted high 
upon those uplands where no light is needed, but where shines 
the brilliancy of the justice of God? 

"The Abandoned Issues" 229 

September 21 

As WILSON was speeding back to Sea Girt the next day, he expressed 
great satisfaction at the results of his western tour. "What interested 
me most/' he said, "was the friendliness of the people toward me and the 
friendly look in their faces. I felt as though they were interested. I 
observed especially that the plainest fellows were the most cordial. 
They seemed to feel that there was no officiousness and that I was 
accessible to them all. The trip, of course, has been a new experience. 
I am a little the worse for the wear, but I have enjoyed talking to the 
great crowds and meeting them. They seemed so interested and atten- 
tive." x 


Touring Pennsylvania and New England 


Address Delivered at Scranton, Pennsylvania 
September 23 

WILSON HAD little chance to rest on the successes he had won on 
his western tour. Not only had the Democratic National Committee 
scheduled several more speeches for him before the end of the month 
in Pennsylvania and New England but the progressive Democrats 
of New Jersey needed his support to defeat James Smith, Jr/s, efforts 
to win nomination to the United States Senate. On the evening of 
September 21 he spoke in Jersey City on behalf of his friend William 
Hughes, the progressive Democrat opposing Smith. Later the same 
evening he made a similar address at Hoboken and then returned to 
Sea Girt to enjoy a Sunday of needed rest. 2 

On Monday he plunged again into the turbulence of the presidential 
campaign, traveling by train through the beautiful Pocono country 
to Scranton, where the Pennsylvania Democrats were celebrating the 
opening of their state campaign. He spoke that evening at the Thir- 
teenth Regiment Armory before an audience of more than six thou- 
sand people. 8 

There in the heart of the anthracite coal region, where the Pro- 
gressive party was conceded to be strong, Wilson emphatically chal- 
lenged the assertion by Roosevelt and the Bull Moose press that he 
wished, as he paraphrased it, "to minimize the powers of the govern- 
ment of the United States." 4 From one standpoint, Roosevelt had 
done the Democratic nominee a service. By seeking to capitalize on 
the "history of liberty" statement at the New York Press Club, he had 
stung Wilson into the realization that he must define his progressivism 
more fully and more precisely. 

Wilson launched upon his discussion of his progressive principles 
at Scranton under disadvantageous conditions. Lengthy preliminary 
speeches had wearied the audience before he arose to speak. The 
acoustics of the hall were bad. And this was another of Wilson's 


234 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

speeches that was not well reported in the press. 5 * Nevertheless, it 
proved to be one of the most cogent expressions of his fundamental 
political philosophy. And in it can be found some of his most eloquent 
interpretations of "the meaning of democracy" and "the vision of 
America." t 

I know that the government of the United States is not a free 
instrument, and that it is our duty to set it free. Very well, set it 
free from whom? And how set it free? ... I have always been 
impatient of the talk of abstract propositions. That may seem a 
strange statement to be made by a man whose opponents when- 
ever they can't answer his arguments call him "academic," but I 
have always been opposed to the mere presentation to audiences 
of the abstract conceptions of government. 

Of course, this was intended to be a government of free citizens 
and of equal opportunity, but how are we going to make it such? 
That is the question. Because I realize that while we are followers 
of Jefferson, there is one principle of Jefferson's which no longer 
can obtain in the practical politics of America. You know that it 
was Jefferson who said that the best government is that which 
does as little governing as possible, which exercises its power as 
little as possible. That was said in a day when the opportunities 
of America were so obvious to every man, when every individual 
was so free to use his powers without let or hindrance, that all 
that was necessary was that the government should withhold 
its hand and see to it that every man got an opportunity to act if 
he would. But that time is past. America is not now, and cannot 
in the future be, a place for unrestricted individual enterprise. It 
is true that we have come upon an age of great cooperative in- 
dustry. It is true that we must act absolutely upon that principle. 

Let me illustrate what I mean. You know that it used to be 
true in our cities that every family occupied a separate house of 
its own, that every family had its own little premises, that every 
family was separated in its life from every other family. But you 

* The New fork Tribune, Sept. 24, reported that the crowd cheered enthusi- 
astically at the beginning of this speech but lost interest when Wilson became 
"academic and general" in his arguments. 

f Wilson stated in his introductory remarks, omitted by the editor, that it was 
his purpose to return the government of the United States to the people. 

The Meaning of Democracy 235 

know that that is no longer the case, and that it cannot be the 
case, in our great cities. Families live in layers, they live in 
tenements, they live in flats, they live on floors; they are piled 
layer upon layer in the great tenement houses of our crowded 
districts, and not only are they piled layer upon layer, but they 
are associated room by room, so that there is in each room, some- 
times, in our congested districts, a separate family. 

Now, what has happened in foreign countries, in some of which 
they have made much more progress than we in handling these 
things, is this: In the city of Glasgow, for example, which is one 
of the model cities of the world, they have made up their minds 
that the entries and the hallways of great tenements are public 
streets. Therefore, the policeman goes up the stairway, and pa- 
trols the corridors; the lighting department of the city sees to it 
that the corridors are abundantly lighted and the staircases. The 
city does not deceive itself into supposing that that great building 
is a unit from which the police are to keep out and the city author- 
ity to be excluded, but it says: "These are the highways of hu- 
man movement; and wherever light is needed, wherever order is 
needed, there we will carry the authority of the city." 

I have likened that to our modern industrial enterprises. You 
know that a great many corporations, like the Steel Corporation, 
for example, [are] very like a great tenement house; it isn't the 
premises of a single commercial family; it is just as much a public 
business as a great tenement house is a public highway. 

When you offer the securities of a great corporation to anybody 
who wishes to purchase them, you must open that corporation 
to the inspection of everybody who wants to purchase. There 
must, to follow out the figure of the tenement house, be lights 
along the corridor, there must be police patrolling the openings, 
there must be inspection wherever it is known that men may be 
deceived with regard to the contents of the premises. If we be- 
lieve that fraud lies in wait for us, we must have the means of 
determining whether fraud lies there or not. Similarly, treatment 
of labor by the great corporations is not now what it was in 
Jefferson's time. Who in this great audience knows his employer? 
I mean among those who go down into the mines or go into the 
mills and factories. You never see, you practically never deal with, 
the president of the corporation. You probably don't know the 
directors of the corporation by sight. The only thing you know 

236 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

is that by the score, by the hundred, by the thousand, you are 
employed with your fellow workmen by some agent of an in- 
visible employer. Therefore, whenever bodies of men employ 
bodies of men, it ceases to be a private relationship. So that when 
a court, when a court in my own state, held that workingmen 
could not peaceably dissuade other workingmen from taking em- 
ployment and based the decision upon the analogy of domestic 
servants, they simply showed that their minds and understandings 
were lingering in an age which had passed away two or three 
generations ago. This dealing of great bodies of men with other 
bodies of men is a matter of public scrutiny, and should be a 
matter of public regulation. 

Similarly, it was no business of the law in the time of Jefferson 
to come into my house and see how I kept house. But when my 
house, when my property, when my so-called private property, 
became a great mine, and men went along dark corridors amidst 
every kind of danger to dig out of the bowels of the earth things 
necessary for the industries of a whole nation, and when it was 
known that no individual owned these mines, that they were 
owned by great stock companies, that their partnership was as 
wide as great communities, then all the old analogies absolutely 
collapsed and it became the right of the government to go down 
into those mines and see whether human beings were properly 
treated in them or not; to see whether accidents were properly 
safeguarded against; to see whether the modern methods of 
using these inestimable riches of the world were followed or were 
not followed. And so you know that by the action of a Demo- 
cratic House only two years ago the Bureau of Mines and Mining 
was first equipped to act as foster father of the miners of the 
United States, and to go into these so-called private properties 
and see that the life of human beings was just as much safe- 
guarded there as it could be in the circumstances, just as much 
safeguarded as it would be upon the streets of Scranton, because 
there are dangers on the streets of Scranton. If somebody puts a 
derrick improperly erected and secured on top of a building or 
overtopping the street upon any kind of structure, then the gov- 
ernment of the city has the right to see that that derrick is so 
secured that you and I can walk under it and not be afraid that 
the heavens are going to fall on us. Similarly, in these great bee- 
hives where in every corridor swarm men of flesh and blood it is 

The Meaning of Democracy 237 

similarly the privilege of the government, whether of the state or 
of the United States, as the case may be, to see that human life is 
properly cared for and that the human lungs have something to 

What I am illustrating for you is this: it is something that our 
Republican opponents don't seem to credit us with intelligence 
enough to comprehend. Because we won't take the dictum of a 
leader who thinks he knows exactly what should be done for 
everybody, we are accused of wishing to minimize the powers of 
the government of the United States. I am not afraid of the ut- 
most exercise of the powers of the government of Pennsylvania, 
or of the Union, provided they are exercised with patriotism and 
intelligence and really in the interest of the people who are living 
under them. But when it is proposed to set up guardians over 
those people to take care of them by a process of tutelage and 
supervision in which they play no active part, I utter my absolute 
objection. Because the proposal of the third party, for example, 
is not to take you out of the hands of the men who have corrupted 
the government of the United States but to see to it that you 
remain in their hands and that that government guarantees to 
you that it will be humane to you. 

The most corrupting thing in this country has been this self- 
same tariff of which Mr. Palmer spoke so convincingly.* The 
workingmen of America are not going to allow themselves to be 
deceived by a colossal bluflF any longer. One of the corporations 
in the United States which has succeeded in mastering the laborer 
and saying to him, "You shall not organize; you shall not exercise 
your liberty of cooperating though we who employ you are 
using the power of organization to the outmost point of absolute 
control'* namely, the United States Steel Corporation paid 
enormous dividends and still more enormous bonuses to those 
who promoted its organization at the same time that it was mak- 
ing men work twelve hours, seven days in the week, at wages 
which in the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year did not 
allow enough to support a family. If they have millions to divide 
among themselves and get those millions as they profess to get 
them from the opportunities created by the tariff, where does the 
workingman come in? 

Mr. Roosevelt himself has spoken of the profits which they get 

* A reference to A. Mitchell Palmer, who was one of the preliminary speakers. 

238 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

as "prize money." And his objection is just the objection that I 
am raising. He says that not enough of the prize money gets into 
the pay envelope. And I quite agree with him. But I want to 
know how he proposes to get it there. I search his program from top 
to bottom, and the only proposal I can find is this: that there shall 
be an industrial commission charged with the supervision of the 
great monopolistic combinations which have been formed under 
die protection of the tariff, and that the government of the 
United States shall see to it that these gentlemen who have con- 
quered labor shall be kind to labor. 

I say, then, the proposition is this: that there shall be two 
masters, the great corporation and over it the government of the 
United States; and I ask: Who is going to be the master of the 
government of the United States? It has a master now those 
who in combination control these monopolies. And if the govern- 
ment controlled by the monopolies in its turn controls the mo- 
nopolies, the partnership is finally consummated. 

I don't care how benevolent the master is going to be. I will not 
live under a master. That is not what America was created for. 
America was created in order that every man should have the 
same chance with every other man to exercise mastery over his 
own fortunes. Now, what I want to do is to follow the example 
of the authorities of the city of Glasgow. I want to light and 
patrol the corridors of these great organizations in order to see 
that nobody who tries to traverse them is waylaid and maltreated. 
If you will but hold [the adversaries] * off, if you will but see to 
it that the weak are protected, I will venture a wager with you 
that there are some men in the United States, now weak, eco- 
nomically weak, who have brains enough to compete with these 
gentlemen. If you will but protect them, they will presently come 
into the market and put these gentlemen on their mettle. And the 
minute they come into the market there will be a bigger market 
for labor and a different wage scale for labor, because it is sus- 
ceptible of absolute proof that the high-paid labor of America 
where it is high paid is cheaper than the low-paid labor of the 
continent of Europe. 

Do you know that about ninety per cent (I am told) of those 
who are employed in labor in this country are not employed in the 

* For an obvious reason, the editor has substituted for "them" in the Swem 
Notes "the adversaries." Cf. Wilson, New Freedom, p. 207. 

The Meaning of Democracy 239 

"protected" industries, and that their wages are almost without ex- 
ception higher than the wages of those who are employed in the 
"protected" industries? There is no corner on carpenters, there is 
no corner on bricklayers, there is no corner on scores of indi- 
vidual instances of classes of skilled laborers; but there is a corner 
on the poolers * in the furnaces, there is a corner on the men who 
dive down into the mines; they are in the grip of a controlling 
power which determines the market rates of wages in the United 
States. Only where labor is free is labor highly paid in America. 
So that when I am fighting against monopolistic control, I am 
fighting for the liberty of every man in America, and I am fight- 
ing for the liberty of American industry. 

These gentlemen say that this commission which they wish to 
set up should not be bound too much by laws but that they should 
be allowed to indulge in what they call "constructive regulation," 
which amounts to administration. And they intimate, though they 
do not say, that it will be perfectly feasible for this commission to 
regulate prices; and also to regulate, I dare say, in the long run, 
though they do not now propose it, the rates of wages. How are 
they going to regulate them? Suppose that they take the net 
profits of a great concern . . . and suppose they say these net 
profits are too large. How are they going to tell how much of those 
profits came from efficiency of administration and how much from 
excessive prices? Now, if you tax efficiency, you discourage in- 
dustry. If you tax excessive profits, you destroy your monopoly; 
that is to say, you discourage your monopoly without increasing 
its efficiency, because without competition there isn't going to be 

Do you know that railway rates in the United States came down 
and came steadily down during the period which preceded the 
regulation of the Interstate Commerce Commission; and that 
since the regulation of the Interstate Commerce Commission the 
rates have steadily, though not rapidly, gone up? That means 
that the cost of operation in the railways in the competitive period 
under the stimulation of competition went down and that the 
cost of operation since the period of competition was closed has 
not gone down. I am not going to explain it but I suspect that 
nobody brings his operating costs down unless he has to, and that 

* Wilson may have meant to use the word "puddlers," but the Swem Notes have 
"poolers." Of. Wilson, New Freedom, p. 208. 

240 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

he would not have to unless somebody more intelligent and more 
efficient than himself gets in the field against him.* 

We believe that the power of America resides not in the men 
who have made good and gained a great supremacy in the field 
of business but in the men who are to make good. Where is the 
power, where is the distinction, of the great office of President 
of the United States? Is America going to be saved because 
George Washington was great, because Lincoln was great, be- 
cause men of devoted characters have served in that great office? 
Don't you know that America is safe only because we do not 
know who the future presidents of the United States are going 
to be? If we had depended upon the lineage of these gentlemen 
they might have failed to have sons like themselves. But we are 
not depending on anybody except the great American people, 
and we know that when the time comes some figure, it may be 
hitherto unknown and from some family whose name and fame 
the country has never heard, will come a man fated for the 
great task by the gift of God and by virtue of his own indomitable 
character. I say this with a certain degree of embarrassment be- 
cause I am a candidate for that great office, and I am not going 
to pretend to any body of my fellow citizens that I have any 
sort of confidence that I am a big enough man for the place. But 
I do feel proud of this: that no law, no rule of blood, no privilege 
of money, picked me out to be a candidate even. It may be a 
mistake but you can't blame your system for it; because it is a 
fine system where some remote, severe, academic schoolmaster 
may become President of the United States. He is not connected 
at least with the powers that have been, and has even upon 
occasion set himself against the powers that are. 

Men speculate as to what he might be ignorant or audacious 
enough to do, but all of that is the excitement of the democratic 
game. We are sports. We aren't going to tie up to a particular 
family. We aren't going to tie up to a particular class. We are 
going to say: "We have played this game long enough now to 

* In the passage omitted below Wilson described how giant corporations, like 
juggernauts, had ruthlessly crushed small businessmen. To destroy monopoly and 
encourage free enterprise, he advocated regulation of competition and criminal 
punishment "We are not going," he said, "to put the car of juggernaut in jail; we 
are going to put the driver in jail because we may want to use the car ourselves." 

The Meaning of Democracy 241 

be perfectly serene about it, and we are going to take the chances 
of die game." That is the beauty of democracy. Democracy means 
that, instead of depending for the fertility of your chances upon 
a little acre long tilled, you are going to depend upon all the 
wide prairies and the hillsides and the forested mountains; and 
that you don't care whether a man comes from Maine or from 
Texas, from Washington or from Florida or anywhere in be- 
tween provided when he comes and you look at him you like 
him. Your confidence of the future is in this: that some man of 
some kind, probably from an uncalculated quarter, is going to 
come. You see, therefore, that I am simply going about to illustrate 
a single thing. I am simply trying to hold your attention to one 
theme, namely this, that America must be fertile or she cannot be 
great; that if you confine the processes of your industry or the 
processes of your politics to those lines where there may be, or 
has been, monopoly, you impoverish the great country which we 
would enrich. That to my mind is the whole lesson of history. 
Men have always, sooner or later, kicked over the traces after 
they had for a little while lived upon the theory that some of 
them ought to take care of the rest of them. There is no man, 
there is no group of men, there is no class of men, big enough 
or wise enough to take care of a free people. If the free people 
can't take care of itself, then it isn't free. It hasn't grown up. That 
is the very definition of freedom. If you are afraid to trust any 
and every man to put forth his powers as he pleases, then you 
are afraid of liberty itself.* I am willing to risk liberty to the 
utmost, and I am not willing to risk anything else. So that for my 
part, having once got blood in my eye and felt the zest of the 
active quest for the scalps of the men who don't know any better 
than to resist the liberties of a great people, it doesn't make any 
difference to me whether I am elected President or not. Ill find 
some means, somewhere, of making it infinitely uncomfortable 
for them.f 

* This somewhat ambiguous sentence does not appear in the text of the speech 
in the Scranton Times, Sept. 24. 

f In the paragraphs omitted below by the editor, Wilson advocated an applica- 
tion of moral principles in business affairs and stated he was more interested in 
finding a way to liberate the people and give them access to their own government 
than to engage in the kind of criticism which the regular Republicans and the 
Progressive Republicans had been directing at each other. 

242 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

The vision of America will never change. America once, when 
she was a little people, sat upon a hill of privilege and had a 
vision of the future. She saw men happy because they were free. 
She saw them free because they were equal. She saw them 
banded together because they had the spirit of brothers. She 
saw them safe because they did not wish to impose upon one 
another. And the vision is not changed. The multitude has grown, 
that welcome multitude that comes from all parts of the world to 
seek a safe place of life and of hope in America. And so America 
will move forward, if she moves forward at all, only with her face 
to that same sun of promise. Just so soon as she forgets the sun 
in the heavens, just so soon as she looks so intently upon the road 
before her and around her that she does not know where it leads, 
then will she forget what America was created for; her light will 
go out; the nations will grope again in darkness and they will say: 
"Where are those who prophesied a day of freedom for us? Where 
are the lights that we followed? Where is the torch that the run- 
ners bore? Where are those who bade us hope? Where came in 
these whispers of dull despair? Has America turned back? Has 
America forgotten her mission? Has America forgotten that her 
politics are part of her life, and that only as the red blood of her 
people flows in the veins of her polity shall she occupy that point 
of vantage which has made her the beacon and the leader of 


Address Delivered at Hartford, Connecticut 
September 25 

ON THE following morning, before setting out on his New England 
tour, Wilson paid a quick visit to Princeton the first since his nomina- 
tion at Baltimore to vote in the Democratic primary. A group of 
Princeton students a boisterous crowd in yellow slickers and white 
duck and corduroy trousers welcomed "Old Doc Wilson" with cheers 
and yells at the train and escorted him to his polling place. When 
demands for a speech could no longer be denied, he withdrew from 

"The Image of Progressivtsnf 243 

the vicinity of the voting booths and made a short talk from the steps 
of the Second Presbyterian Church. 1 

But he could not linger in this pleasant college town, the scene of 
his most distinguished academic labors. Early in the afternoon he left 
for New York preparatory to setting out for New England the next 
day. Arriving at the Pennsylvania Station, he waited for a while to 
greet President Taft, who, he heard, was only a few minutes behind 
him on a train from Washington. But the President's train was late, 
and the Democratic nominee had to hurry off to meet his appointments 
without paying his respects to his rival. 8 

Next morning he was happy to learn that his friend William Hughes 
had won a decisive victory over James Smith, Jr., in the New Jersey 
primary. A rumor was current that Wilson would similarly intervene 
in New York politics to block Charles F. Murphy's efforts to renomi- 
nate Governor Dix. 4 

But as he boarded the Federal next morning for his journey to 
Hartford, he was noncommittal on that subject. "My dear boy," he told 
a reporter inquiring about his intentions, "I am not as green as I 

At the Hartford station he was met by a reception committee, 
headed by W. O. Burr, who had in readiness six carriages, instead 
of automobiles, to transport Wilson and his party to the Parsons 
Theater. Charlie Dillon, an undertaker, was master of ceremonies at 
the carriages and with great decorum directed the Democratic nom- 
inee to his place in a barouche drawn by four coal-black horses. The 
six carriages, guided by a marshal in an electric automobile, paraded 
through the city while Wilson doffed his hat and bowed to the crowds, 
numbering an estimated forty thousand, that lined the streets. Hatch's 
First Infantry band helped make this what one reporter called "the 
liveliest daytime procession of the campaign." 6 

Wilson's Hartford speech was in one sense a sequel to his Scranton 
address in that he further defined his progressivism. He stressed his 
position on the initiative, referendum, and recall; his contention being 
that only administrative officers should be subject to recall. He ex- 
pressed opposition to the recall of judges as well. 7 His denial that his 
kind of progressivism, or "radicalism," meant that he favored free 
trade, and his reference to the "ancient traditions of a people" as "its 
ballast" definitely a Burkean touch were assurances that he was no 

244 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: 

It is a great pleasure to me to stand on this platform. I like to 
recall the two very happy years that I spent as your not very 
distant neighbor, at Middletown, in this state, and I want to tell 
you that as a consequence of that two years of residence I am 
not unacquainted with the character of the audience which I 

I know that there are a great many misguided persons present 
persons who, with the best intentions and the clearest con- 
science, have voted the wrong ticket. I also know that for the 
very best of reasons a Connecticut audience is a conservative 
audience, because Connecticut has had a great deal to conserve 
that was worth conserving, and she has arranged her constitution 
so that she has got to conserve it. So that, all things taken to- 
gether, my first thought was almost apologetic, because I know 
that, in some quarters at any rate, I have acquired the reputa- 
tion of being a radical, and I might have been expected to apolo- 
gize to you for coming before you, a conservative community, to 
present radical points of view. But I don't think that anybody 
is any longer very much frightened by the word "radical" and 
there are all sorts of radicals. It depends upon the kind I am 
whether I shall have to be apologetic or not. 

But to speak seriously, the theme that I want to discuss with 
you this afternoon is simply this: Are those thoughtful men 
amongst us who fear that we are now about to disturb the an- 
cient foundations of our institutions justified in their fear? For 
if they are, we ought to go very slowly about the process of 
change. If it is indeed true that we have grown tired of the 
institutions which we have so carefully and sedulously built up, 
then we ought to go just as slowly and just as carefully about the 
very dangerous task of altering them. We ought, therefore, to 
ask ourselves, first of all: Are we justified in the impression that 
at any rate the sober men among the leaders of progressive 
thought in this country are intending to do anything by which we 
shall retrace our steps, or by which we shall change the whole 
direction of our development? 

I believe for one that you cannot tear up ancient rootages and 

For two years, 1888-90, Wilson had taught at Wesleyan University in Middle- 
town. See Baker, Woodrow Wfoon, 1, 298-325. 

"The Image of Progressivism' 9 245 

safely plant the tree of liberty in soil which is not native to it 
I believe that the ancient traditions of a people are its ballast; 
that you cannot make a tabula rasa upon which to write political 
programs. You cannot take a new sheet of paper and determine 
what your life shall be tomorrow. You must knit the new into 
the old. You cannot put new patches in ancient garments without 
destroying or endangering the [construction] of the ancient gar- 
ment; unless you know that it mustn't be a patch, but must be 
something woven into the fiber, of practically the same pattern, of 
the same texture and intention. If I did not believe that to be 
progressive was to preserve the essentials of our institutions, I 
for one could not be progressive. 

I have several times used an illustration which to my mind ex- 
presses the situation just about as well as a whimsical illustration 
could express it. I believe most of you have had the great pleasure 
of reading that very delightful book of nonsense, Alice through 
the Looking Glass, the companion of Alice in [Wonderland].* Alice 
in the book, you remember, is seized by the hand by the red 
chess queen, who races her off at a breathless pace until both of 
them can run no further for lack of breath; then they stop and 
Alice looks around and says: "But we are just where we were 
when we started." "O, yes," says the Red Queen, "you have to run 
twice as fast as that to get anywhere else." 

Now, that is to my mind the image of progressivism. The laws 
of this country have not kept up with the change of economic 
circumstances in this country; they have not kept up with the 
change of political circumstances in this country; and therefore 
we are not where we were when we started. We are back of 
the place that we were when we started. And we will have to 
run, not until we are out of breath, but until we have caught up 
with our own conditions, before we shall be where we were when 
we started; when we started this great experiment which has 
been the hope and the beacon of the world. And we would have 
to run twice as fast as any rational progressive program I have 
seen in order to get anywhere else. 

I am, therefore, a progressive because we have not kept up 
with our own changes of conditions, either in the economic field 
or in the political field. We have not kept up as well as other na- 

* According to the Swem Notes, Wilson inadvertently referred to this book as 
"Alice in Fairyland. 19 

246 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

tions have. We have not adjusted our practices to the facts of 
the case. And until we do, and unless we do, the facts of the 
case will always have the better of the argument, because if you 
do not adjust your laws to the facts, so much the worse for the 
laws, not for die facts, because law trails along after the facts. 
Only that law is unsafe which runs ahead of the facts and beckons 
to them and makes it follow imaginative programs and will-o'- 

Let us ask ourselves, therefore, what it is that disturbs us. In 
some commonwealths I find a great many conservative men who 
do not believe, for example, in the direct primary; and they are 
very diligent in collecting all sorts of evidence that the people 
do not take very much interest in the direct primaries, and that 
it simply creates confusion. I must say, parenthetically, that after 
yesterday's result of the direct primary in New Jersey I am re- 
assured as to its operation. 

The primary is a means of determining on the part of the 
people whom they wish to see put into office and whom they 
wish to exclude from office. And I maintain that the critical part 
of every political process is the selection of the men who are 
going to occupy the office, and not the election of them. And that 
when as in the past the two cooperative party machines have 
seen to it that both tickets had men of the same kind on them, 
it was Tweedledum or Tweedledee, so far as the voter was con- 
cerned; that those who managed politics had them coming and 
had them going, and it didn't make any difference so far as the 
interests governing politics were concerned which of the tickets 
was elected at the election by the voters. 

So that what we have established the direct primary for is this: 
to break up inside determination of who shall be selected to con- 
duct the government and make the laws of our commonwealth 
and of our nation. And everywhere the impression is growing 
stronger that there will be no means of dominating those who 
have dominated us except by taking this process of selection into 
our own hands. Does that upset any ancient foundation? Ah! 
gentlemen, are we in danger of being hypocrites, some of us? 

What do you talk about on the Fourth of July, if you are talking 
in public? You talk about the Declaration of Independence, and 
then you back up the Declaration of Independence with its 
splendid utterances in our earliest state constitutions, which 

"The Image of Progressivism" 247 

have been copied in all later ones, taken from the Petition of 
Rights, [or] the Declaration of Rights, in the history of the 
struggle for liberty in England. And there we read these uncom- 
promising sentences: that, when at any time the people of a 
commonwealth find that their governments are not suitable to 
the circumstances of their lives or the promotion of their liberties, 
it is their privilege to alter them at their pleasure. That is the 
foundation, that is the central doctrine, that is the ancient vision 
of America with regard to affairs, and this arrangement of the 
direct primary simply squares with that. 

If they cannot find men whom they can trust, to select their 
tickets, they will select them for themselves. That is what the 
direct primary means. They do not always do it; they are some- 
times too busy. The electorate of the United States is like the god 
Baal: it is sometimes on a journey, it is sometimes asleep; but 
when it does wake up, it does not represent the god Baal in the 
slightest degree. It resembles a great self-possessed power which 
takes possession, takes control of its own affairs. I am willing 
to wait. I am among those who believe so in the essential doc- 
trines of democracy that I am willing to wait on the convenience 
of this great sovereign, provided that I know he has got the in- 
strument to dominate whenever he chooses to grasp it. 

Then there is another thing that conservative people are dis- 
turbed about: the direct election of United States senators. I have 
seen some thoughtful men discuss that with a sort of shiver, as 
if to disturb the ancient constitution of the United States Senate 
was to do something touched with impiety, touched with irrever- 
ence for the Constitution. But the first thing necessary to rever- 
ence [for] the United States Senate is to respect the United States 
senators. I am not one of those who condemns the United States 
senators as a body; for no matter what has happened there, no 
matter how questionable the practices, how corrupt the influences 
which have filled some of the seats in the United States Senate, 
it must in fairness be said that the majority of that body has all 
the years through been [untouched] * by that stain, and that 
there has always been there a sufficient number of men to safe- 
guard the self-respect and the hopefulness of America with re- 
gard to her institutions. 

But you need not be told, and it would be painful to repeat 

* The word inserted here by the editor is from Wilson, New Freedom, p. 232. 

248 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

to you, some of the processes by which seats have been bought 
in the United States Senate; and you know, as the whole people 
of the United States knows, that a little group of senators holding 
the balance of power, has again and again been able to defeat 
programs of reform upon which the whole country had set its 
heart; and that whenever you analyzed the power that was be- 
hind those little groups you found that it was not the power of 
public opinion, but some private influence, hardly to be disclosed 
by superficial scrutiny, which had put those men there to do that 

Now, returning to the original principles upon which we profess 
to stand, have the people of the United States not a right to 
see to it that every seat in the United States Senate represents 
the unbought influences of America? Does direct election of 
senators touch anything except the private control of seats in 
the Senate? For you must remember another thing, gentlemen: 
you must remember that we have not been without our suspicions 
about some of the legislatures which elect senators. Some of the 
suspicions which we entertained in New Jersey about that turned 
out to be founded upon very solid facts indeed. And until two 
years ago New Jersey had not in half a generation been repre- 
sented in the United States Senate by the men who would have 
been chosen if the process had been free. 

So that we are not now to deceive ourselves by putting our 
heads in the sand and saying, "Everything is all right/' Didn't 
Mr. [Gladstone] * say that the American Constitution was the 
most perfect constitution ever devised by the brain of man? 
Haven't we been praised all over the world for our genius in 
setting up successful states? Yes, we have, but a very thoughtful 
Englishman, and a very witty one, said an instructive thing about 
it. He said [that] to show that the American Constitution has 
worked well is not to prove that it is an excellent constitution, 

* In his Hartford speech Wilson attributed this remark to Lord Bryce, but in 
The New Freedom it is correctly credited to Gladstone. See Wilson, New Freedom, 
p. 233. As originally published, Gladstone's remark was: "But, as the British Con- 
stitution is the most subtle organism which has proceeded from the womb and the 
long gestation of progressive history, so the American Constitution is, so far as I 
can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off, at a given time by the brain and 
purpose of man." See W. E. Gladstone, "Kin beyond Sea," North American Re- 
view, 127 (Sept. 1878), 185. 

"The Image of Progressivtem* 249 

because the Americans could run any constitution * a compli- 
ment which is also a comment, a compliment which we lay like 
a sweet unction to our souls, but a criticism which ought to set 
us thinking. 

And while it is true that while American forces are awake they 
can conduct American processes without serious departures from 
the ideals of the Constitution, it is nevertheless true that we have 
had many shameful instances of practices which we can abso- 
lutely remove by the direct election of senators by the people 
themselves. And, therefore, I, for one, will not allow any man 
who knows his history to say to me that I am acting inconsistently 
with either the spirit or the form of the American government 
in advocating the direct election of United States senators. 

Take another matter, for let's get another step deeper. I hope 
you won't any of you think that I am going too far in even men- 
tioning in your presence those extreme doctrines of the initiative 
and the referendum and the recall. It is the last word that makes 
most men shrink. There are communities, there are states in the 
Union, in which I am quite ready to admit that it is perhaps 
premature, that perhaps it will never be necessary to discuss these 
measures. But I want to call your attention to the fact that these 
measures have been discussed and have been adopted in those 
states where the electorate had become convinced that they did 
not have representative government. 

Let no man deceive himself by the fallacy that anybody pro- 
poses to substitute direct legislation by the people, or the direct 
reference of laws voted in the legislature, to the vote of the peo- 
ple for representative government. The most eager advocates of 
these reforms have always said that they were intended to recover 
representative government; that they had no place where those 
who were elected to legislative chambers were really representa- 

* Wilson was probably paraphrasing the following comment of Walter Bagehot: 
"The Americans now extol their institutions, and so defraud themselves of their due 
praise. But if they had not a genius for politics; if they had not a moderation in 
action singularly curious where superficial speech is so violent; if they had not a 
regard for law, such as no great people have yet evinced, and infinitely surpassing 
ours, the multiplicity of authorities in the American Constitution would long ago 
have brought it to a bad end. Sensible shareholders, I have heard a shrewd attorney 
say, can work any deed of settlement; and so the men of Massachusetts could, I 
believe, work any constitution." Walter Bagehot, The English Constitution (Lon- 
don, Chapman and Hall, 1867), p. 271. 

250 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

tive of the communities which they professed to serve. The ini- 
tiative is a means of recapturing the seat of legislative authority 
on behalf of the people themselves, and the referendum is a 
means of seeing to it that [unrepresentative measures are not 
put upon the statute books but are checked by being submitted 
to the vote of the people. 

When you come to the recall, the principle is that if an ad- 
ministrative officer for we will begin with administrative officers 
is corrupt or so unwise as to be doing things that are likely to 
lead to all sorts of mischief, in the future it will be possible by a 
steady and slow process prescribed by the law to get rid of that 
officer before the end of his term. Because you must admit that it 
is a little inconvenient sometimes to have what someone called 
an astronomical system of government, a system of government 
in which you can't change anything until there has been a certain 
number of revolutions of the seasons. And nobody in New Eng- 
land ought to find any very grave objection to the recall of ad- 
ministrative officers, because in most parts of New England the 
ordinary administrative term is a single twelvemonth. You haven't 
been willing in New England to trust any man out of your sight 
more than twelve months, so that your elections are a sort of 
continuous performance, based on the very fundamental idea that 
we are discussing, that you will not take your own hands off 
your own affairs. That is the principle of the recall. I don't see 
how any man who is grounded in the traditions of American 
affairs, particularly as they derive their origins from New Eng- 
land, can find any valid objection to the recall of administrative 

It is another matter when it comes to the judiciary. I myself 
have never been in favor of the recall of judges. [Applause.] * 
But now that that has received your approval, let me tell you 
why. Not because some judges haven't deserved to be recalled 
that isn't the point but because that is treating the symptom 
instead of the disease. The disease lies deeper, and sometimes it 
is very virulent and very dangerous. Gentlemen, there have been 
courts in the United States that were controlled by private in- 
terests. There have been supreme courts in our states at which 
men without privilege could not get justice. There have been 

The Hartford Dally Times, Sept. 28, indicates that there was applause at this 

"The Image of Progresrivism" 251 

corrupt judges; there have been controlled judges; there have 
been judges who acted as other men's servants and not as the 
servants of the public. And there can be no moral objection to 
removing such men from public service. Ah, there are some 
shameful chapters in that story! Think of it! The reason you 
applauded just now was that you feel, as I feel, that the judicial 
process is die last and ultimate safeguard of the things that we 
want to hold stable in this country. But suppose that that safe- 
guard is corrupted; suppose that it doesn't guard my interests 
and yours, but guards merely the interests of a very small group 
of individuals; and that whenever your interest clashes with 
theirs, yours will have to give way, though you represent ninety 
per cent of your fellow citizens, and they only ten per cent. Then 
where is your safeguard? And what is it safeguarding, I would 
like to know? 

The great processes of equitable thought must control the 
judiciary as they control every other instrument of government. 
But there are ways and ways of controlling it. If mark you I 
say "if* at one time the Union Pacific Railroad or rather the 
Southern Pacific Railroad owned the Supreme Court of the 
state of California, what was the trouble? Would you remedy it 
by recalling the judges of the Supreme Court of California? Not 
so long as the Southern Pacific Railroad could substitute others 
for them. You would not be cutting deep enough. Where you 
want to go is to the seat of the trouble; where you want to go is 
to the place and the process by which those judges were picked 
out. And when you get there, you lead to the moral of the whole 
of this discussion, because the moral of it all is that the people 
of the United States have suspected, until their suspicions have 
been justified by all sorts of substantial and unanswerable evi- 
dence, that, in place after place, at turning point after turning 
point in the history of this country, we have been controlled by 
private understandings and not by the public interest; and that 
influences which were improper, if not corrupt, have determined 
everything from the making of laws to the administration of 
justice. They have suspected that the Southern Pacific Railroad 
owned the Supreme Court of that great and beautiful state that 
stretches her fair acres up and down the coast of the Pacific, and 
because of that they have said: "We are going to go to the heart 
of this matter and dislodge these men who have been controlling 

252 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

our affairs; and no man who understands anything about liberty, 
or anything about economic prosperity, ought to find it in his con- 
science or in his heart to wit 

ihold his hands.' 9 

This thing that grows like a canker in our vitals must be cut 
out, though I grant you it must be cut out with the skill and the 
knowledge and the tenderness of the surgeon who will not dis- 
turb the vital tissues to which this ugly thing is attached. Let us 
keep the integrity and the purity of our whole structure, but let 
us get rid of these things tfiat are corrupting it; for the people 
of the United States have made up their minds that they are go- 
ing to unearth the beast in the jungle. They know that their 
forests have constituted a sort of jungle in which when they 
hunted they were caught by the beast instead of catching him. 
They have determined, therefore, to take an axe and to level the 
jungle, and then see where the beast will find cover, to be ready 
when the jungle is cut out to bag their game. I, for my part, bid 
them Godspeed. The jungle breeds nothing but infection. 

That, if you choose to call it radicalism, is the kind of radical- 
ism I believe in. If that be radicalism, then the preservation of 
our life and beauty as a nation is a radical proposition, and it is 
in the literal meaning of the word. Because, if I am correctly in- 
formed, "radical" means "rootical" it goes to the root of the mat- 
ter. But where does it all come from? There is no use, as I have 
just now said, dealing with the symptoms. Where is the seat of 
the disease? Where is the foundation of corruption? 

For I tell you, my fellow citizens, that the choice of this cam- 
paign is not a choice among these things that I have been talking 
about. I have been using these illustrations to draw your thought 
to the central point where lie the sources of all that we are dis- 
cussing. The radical circumstance the circumstance that is the 
taproot of the whole matter is that we have not now a free 
government; that some secret influences are controlling it; and it 
is absolutely impossible to pursue any program of reform, no mat- 
ter how handsome and hopeful it may be, until we get an instru- 
ment of our own with which to pursue it. You know where the 
seat of the corruption lies. If you can, or think that you can, con- 
duct your business only by getting special favors from the govern- 
ment, if you know that you can carry on some of the enterprises 
that you are now carrying on only if you can see to it that some 

"The Image of Progressivism" 253 

of the laws of the United States are not changed, then you are 
going to do some of you are going to do thoughtlessly, it may 
be, but nevertheless rather systematically what has been done 
for so many years: you are going to contribute your money to the 
party that will guarantee to you that these privileges are not 
taken away. And the chief seat of privilege in the United States 
is the protective tariff. 

I won't say the "protective tariff," for I deny that epithet to it. 
A system of protection such as was originally conceived by Henry 
Clay bears not even a family resemblance to the Payne-Aldrich 
tariff measure. Almost all the parts of the Payne-Aldrich schedules 
that most interest those who have usually replenished the coffers 
of a regular Republican party lie concealed in phraseology which 
you can't understand. And no man can understand until an expert 
has uncovered their meaning to you. And when representatives 
of yours in the Senate and in the House of Representatives sought 
explanations from the chairmen of the Committee on Finance and 
the Committee on Ways and Means, of these various schedules, 
they couldn't get them; they were to all intents and purposes 
told that it was none of their business. And the pity of it was 
that in the circumstances it was none of their business! It was the 
business of the gentlemen who had seen to it that they had pri- 
vate understandings with those who controlled the deliberations 
and conclusions of those committees. 

This is the part of the country like the great state of New 
Jersey, which I have the privilege of representing, the great 
neighboring state of Pennsylvania, and the great imperial state 
of New York, and all those parts of the world where the scare- 
crow of free trade is being held up in front. 

Who said free trade? Who proposed free trade? You can't have 
free trade in the United States because the government of the 
United States is of necessity, with our present division of the 
fields of taxation between the federal and state governments, 
supported by the duties collected at the ports. I would like to ask 
some gentlemen if very much is collected in the way of duties at 
the ports under the tariff schedules under which they operate. 
Some of the duties are practically prohibitive and there is no 
tariff to be got from them. But that is a matter on one side. What 
I am trying to point out to you now is that this protective tariff, 

254 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

so-called, has become a means of fostering the growth of particu- 
lar groups of industries at the expense of the economic vitality of 
the rest of the country. 

What the Democrats propose is a very practical thing indeed; 
they propose to unearth these special privileges and to cut them 
out of the tariff; they propose not to leave a single concealed 
private advantage in the statutes concerning duties that can pos- 
sibly be eradicated without affecting the part of the business that 
is sound and legitimate, and which we all wish to see promoted. 

Some men talk as if Democrats weren't part of the United 
States. I met a lady the other day, an elderly lady,* who said to 
me with pride she said: "Governor, I have been a Democrat 
ever since they hunted them with dogs." And you would suppose, 
to hear some men talk, that Democrats do not share the life of 
the United States. Why, Democrats I mean simon-pure Demo- 
crats who always vote the Democratic ticket constitute nearly 
one-half the voters of this country. They are engaged in all sorts 
of enterprises, big and little. There isn't a walk of life or a kind 
of occupation in which you won't find them; and, as a Philadel- 
phia paper very wittily said the other day, they can't commit eco- 
nomic murder without committing economic suicide. 

Do you suppose, therefore, that half of the population of the 
United States, or something of that kind, is going about to destroy 
the very foundations of our economic life by simply running 
amuck amidst the schedules of the tariff? Some of [the sched- 
ules] f are so tough that they would not be hurt if you did, but 
that isn't the program, and anybody who says that it is simply 
doesn't understand the situation in the United States at all. All 
that the Democrats claim is this: that the partnership ought to 
be bigger than it is. Just because there are so many of them, they 
know how many are outside. And let me tell you, just as many 
Republicans are outside. 

The only thing I have against them, my Republican fellow 
citizens, is that they have allowed themselves to be imposed upon 
so many years. Think of saying that the protective tariff is for the 
benefit of the workingman, in the presence of all those facts that 

* It is interesting to note that this part of the sentence reads "not an elderly lady" 
in Wilson, New Freedom, p. 153. 

f The editor has substituted die bracketed words for "them" in the Swem Notes, 
a. Wilson, New Freedom, p. 154. 

"The Image of Progression^ 255 

have just been disclosed in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where the 
worst schedule of all operates to keep men on wages upon which 
they cannot live! * Why, the audacity, the impudence of the 
claim is what strikes one; and in the face of the fact that the work- 
ingmen of this country who are in unprotected industries are 
better paid than those who are in protected industries; at any rate, 
in the conspicuously protected industriesl The steel schedule, I 
dare say, is rather satisfactory to those who manufacture steel, 
but is it satisfactory to those who make the steel with their tired 
hands? Don't you know that there are mills in which men are 
made to work seven days in the week for twelve hours a day, and 
in the three hundred and sixty-five weary days of the year can't 
make enough to pay their bills? And that in one of the giants 
among our industries, one of the undertakings which has thriven 
to gigantic size upon this very system. 

Ah, the whole mass of the fraud is falling away, and men are 
beginning to see disclosed little groups of persons maintaining 
control over the dominant party, and through the dominant party 
operating the government in their own interest, and not in the 
interest of the people of the United States. 

And there comes in your political morals. For these gentlemen 
do not act directly upon the government of the United States; 
they act through an interesting class of persons known as political 
bosses. Political bosses are not politicians at all. They are the 
business agents on the political side of certain kinds of business. 
They are the experts who instruct these gentlemen how they can 
manage not to be embarrassed either by those who occupy execu- 
tive or by those who occupy legislative offices. And they are well 
paid for their services, not necessarily in cash, but by being on 
the inside of many large transactions. 

The trouble with bosses is that they are not politicians. By a 
boss I would like to tell you what I mean. I don't mean the leader 
of a political organization; I mean the manipulation of a ma- 
chine. Now, a machine is that part of a political organization 
which has been taken out of the hands of the rank and file of the 
organization and has gone to seed in the hands of a few chosen 

* The textile workers of Lawrence, under the leadership of the Industrial Workers 
of the World, were striking against a reduction of wages by their employers that 
had followed the enactment of legislation requiring a reduction in hours. A great 
deal of violence attended this strike, and at the time Wilson spoke the situation in 
Lawrence was still tense. 

256 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

men. It is the part that has ceased to be political and become a 
business agency for the determination of the public policy of 
states and of the nation. 

You have your complete series, therefore, of suspicions about 
nominations for office, about the election of United States sena- 
tors, about the rejection of laws, traced down to the [tap root] * 
this great colossal system of special privilege, on account of 
which men feel obliged to keep their hands upon the sources of 

You know in the great state of Oregon on the Pacific coast they 
have the initiative and the referendum. There is a certain gentle- 
man named Mr. U'Ren,f who is at the center of a group of men 
who busy themselves in suggesting certain legislative reforms to 
be carried out upon the initiative of the people themselves, and 
these gentlemen by commending these measures to the general 
public have transformed the government of the state of Oregon. 
But the point I was about to make is this. When I last visited 
the state of Oregon I reached the city of Portland in that great 
state on a morning when there happened to be in the leading 
newspaper of the city an editorial to this effect, that there were 
two legislatures in Oregon I think it was set with a scare head- 
lineone was at Salem, the capital of the state, and the other 
one under Mr. U'Ren's hat. I digested this statement, and when 
I came to speak in the evening I ventured upon this remark. I 
quoted the editorial and said: "Now, I don't wish anybody to 
understand me as advocating the concentration of power in any 
man or in any group of men, but I simply wish to say that if I 
had my choice between a legislature that went around under the 
hat of someone in particular whom I could identify and find, and 
a legislature that went around under God knows whose hat, I 
would choose the legislature that goes around under the hat of 
the recognizable individual." For I knew, and could tell those 
people until very recent months, nobody knew who wore the hat 
of the legislature of New Jersey. And that because the wearer of 
the hat was not disclosed, was not recognizable, could not be 
mentioned by name, the people of New Jersey had gone half a 

* The editor took the bracketed words from the text of the speech in the Hartford 
Dally Times, Sept. 26. 

f William S. ITRen had been leader of the movement in Oregon for adoption 
of the direct primary, the initiative, referendum, and recall. Oregon adopted these 
measures in 1902. 

*The Image of Progressivism" 257 

generation cheated after every election out of every reform upon 
which they had insisted. 

Who had controlled the legislature at Salem? Perhaps it would 
be impolite for me to say I will leave that for some citizen of 
the state of Oregon. Because I do not venture to mention any 
names that do not belong within my bailiwick. If I should be 
transferred to a higher sphere, I will have a larger list of names. 
I would take great pleasure in publishing them at stated intervals. 
But more to the point, we must realize that we are choosing. 

The thought I want to leave with you is this; here is the choice 
you have to take: The Democrats are proposing to intervene, and, 
by lowering those duties which have protected special privilege, 
expose special privilege to a very wholesome, chastening land of 
competition; and then to adopt a process of legislation by which 
competition will be so regulated that big business can't crush out 
little business; and that little business can grow instead of being 
built by private understanding into big business and put every 
man who is manufacturing or engaged in commerce in this coun- 
try on his mettle to beat, not the capital, but the brains of his 
competitors. Whereas, on the other hand, the leaders of the third 
party are proposing to you I would say parenthetically that the 
leaders of the regular Republican party are not proposing any- 
thing the leaders of the third party are proposing that you ac- 
cept the established monopolies as inevitable, their control as 
permanent, and undertake to regulate them through a commis- 
sion which will not itself be too carefully restricted by law but 
will have the right to make rules by which they will accomplish 
what the platform calls "constructive regulation." In short, it 
proposes to leave the government in the hands and under the in- 
fluences which now control it, and shall so long as they can con- 
trol it make it absolutely impossible that we should have a free 
instrument by which to restore the rule and the government of 
the people themselves. 

258 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 


Address Delivered at New Haven, Connecticut 
September 25 

FROM HARTFORD WILSON doubled back to keep his speaking en- 
gagement at New Haven. He arrived in time to have dinner at the 
Taft Hotel with Governor Simeon E. Baldwin of Connecticut. Yale 
students cheered him as he rode from the station and serenaded him 
with "Boola-boola." And he had occasion to reminisce about his 
years as instructor at Wesleyan University, at nearby Middletown. 
Soon after he had heard that the Wesleyan football team had scored 
on Yale that very day, for the first time since 1889, he remarked to a 
group of Yale boys in the hotel lobby that he had coached the Wes- 
leyan eleven in '89.* 

After dinner Governor Baldwin before a capacity audience at the 
Hyperion Theater introduced the Democratic candidate as a Virgin- 
ian "not unfit to stand in line" with Washington, Jefferson, Madison, 
and Monroe. 8 

Wilson responded to this encomium by delivering what the Spring- 
field Republican called "a stiff dose of radicalism for Connecticut 
Democrats of the Hartford Times school." 4 His address was a trench- 
ant interpretation of his party's principles. Striking back vigorously 
at Roosevelt for depicting him as an enemy of strong government, he 
declared he had favored the exercise of governmental powers "to the ut- 
most" so long as it resulted in government "by the power of laws, and 
not by the power of men." Thus he anchored his progressivism to a 
principle that guarded against the delegation of broad discretionary 
powers to government officials. 

His tribute to Robert M. La Follette for championing progressive 
principles was an open bid for the support of the Wisconsin senator, 
who had refused to campaign for either Roosevelt or Taft. 5 And Wil- 
son rebuked the President for predicting in an interview that the elec- 
tion of a Democratic President and Congress "would mean four years 
of rainy days." 6 

"The average citizen," noted the Hartford Daily Times in its edi- 
torial comment on the speech, "whatever his previous political asso- 
ciations, who hears Woodrow Wilson discuss national topics goes 
away from the meeting with the feeling that he has listened to a 

"The Vision of the Democratic Party* 259 

man well equipped intellectually for the office of president, who may 
be trusted not to lose his head* if he shall be elected, and who may 
equally be trusted not to attempt to upset our form of government in 
the effort to hold on to the office if his fellow citizens decide to elevate 
him to the presidency for the constitutional term." 7 

Your Excellency, Mr. Chairman, and fellow citizens: 

The introduction reminds me by contrast with the remark made 
to me by a gentleman a good many months ago after I had ap- 
peared before a good many audiences. He said that he ventured 
to say that if I had an opportunity to add a petition to the litany 
it would be: "From all introducers and traducers, Good Lord, 
deliver us." But I would own, for I had had other experiences 
like this evening, that I counted myself peculiarly happy in my 
introducers and that I could not have more prudently chosen my 
traducers if I had chosen them myself. Governor Baldwin has 
certainly, unintentionally no doubt, put me at a certain disad- 
vantage because it is not an advantage to a speaker to be elo- 
quently introduced. I count the introduction which I have just 
had the pleasure of listening to as unusually brilliant and elo- 
quent, and I feel myself put to my mettle to live up to it. 

I am interested to learn from Governor Baldwin that this is 
the opening of the present campaign in New Haven. That gives 
me leave to do what I should like very much to do, to introduce 
to some gentlemen in this audience who are not well acquainted 
with it the great Democratic party; for I know that there are 
many men sitting before me who are here on the anxious bench. 
I know that they are now thinking of changing their course of 
life. I know that they are now "sicklied o'er with the pale cast 
of thought/' and I would if I could commend to their considera- 
tion in the choice of their future course in politics the great party 
which I represent. That party, ladies and gentlemen, is great by 
recent proof. For the Democratic party has been a minority party 
for sixteen years in this nation. And during those sixteen years it 
has grown in power, in clearness of thought, in determinateness 
of action. It did not wait for the year 1912 to discover the pro- 
gram which was necessary for the rectification of conditions in 
the United States. It has foreseen the greater part of that pro- 
gram for half a generation. It has been calling through all these 

260 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

years of discouragement upon the American people to bear wit- 
ness to the fact that they did not have access to their own govern- 
ment and were not being governed in their own general interest. 
This steadfastness in principle in the face of adversity is, to my 
mind, a proof of greatness, particularly when in the midst of ad- 
versity the party has grown stronger and stronger, and its vision 
clearer and clearer. For there have been many vacillations in 
politics. And after a while there came a day when the ranks of 
the Republican party began in part to waver and to break. 

We saw the day in New Jersey when there arose a little group 
of Republicans who called themselves the "New Idea" Republi- 
cans; when the idea of serving the whole people was a new idea 
with the Republican party. Then there arose in the far state of 
Iowa another group of men who began to see that the crux of 
the whole business was the protective tariff, and they began to 
shake the faith of the West in the time-honored traditions of the 
[Republican] * party with regard to that policy. 

Then there arose that sturdy little giant in Wisconsin who is 
now such an indomitable, unconquerable champion of progres- 
sive ideas all along the line. I mean Senator La Follette. Men 
who seek expediency rather than pursue principle took him up 
for a little while and pretended to follow him, and then rejected 
him, not because he was not the genuine champion of their 
principles, but because they apparently saw their interest lie in 
another direction. I do not believe there are many chapters of 
personal history in the records of parties in this country more dif- 
ficult to reconcile with principles of honor than that. I feel myself 
close kin to these men who have been fighting the battle of 
progressive democracy, for no matter what label they bear we 
are of one principle. 

I remember hearing a story not long ago. I have told it a num- 
ber of times but perhaps you will bear with me if I tell it again 
because it interprets my feeling. A very deaf old lady was ap- 
proached by her son, who wanted to introduce a stranger to her, 
and he said: "Mama, this is Mr. Stickpin/' "I beg your pardon," 
she said; "what did you say the name was?" "Mr. Stickpin." "I 
don't catch it," she said. "Mr. Stickpin." "Oh," she said, "it's no 
use; it sounds exactly like Stickpin." Now, when I talk of men of 

Obviously Wilson meant to say "Republican" in this context although the 
Swem Notes have "Democratic." 

"The Vision of the Democratic Parttf 261 

La Follette's way of thinking in politics I feel like saying: 1 beg 
your pardon, what did you say you were?" "A Republican/' "A 
what?" "A Republican." "No use; it sounds to me just like Demo- 
crat." I can't tell the difference and I realize that in the ranks of 
these men, these men who in the United States Senate for months 
past have been voting with the Democratic majority in the House 
of Representatives and showing that we have a government, have 
had a government, which is neither flesh, fish, nor fowl in respect 
of party control; because a union of Democrats and so-called Re- 
publicans has been sending a Republican President measures 
which he consistently vetoed. 

A proposition to go on with the regular Republican party is a 
proposition to go on with this same paralysis upon us; for I do not 
believe that anybody expects that the majority will be changed 
in the next House of Representatives. I believe that most persons 
expect that the majority in the next Senate will at any rate not 
belong to the regular Republicans; and that with a united pair of 
progressive houses, it would be folly to have a President that 
doesn't move with them and the movement of the thought of the 
country and the representative bodies of the country, no matter 
how admirable his character, no matter how high and patriotic 
his purposes. 

For I yield to no man in personal admiration of our present 
distinguished President. I would be incapable of a personal criti- 
cism of him, because I am not criticizing him in my thought, 
much less in my speech. I am simply stating to you a situation, 
and I want to say parenthetically in the same connection: Does 
anybody dream for a moment that there can be a third-party ma- 
jority in either of the houses that are to be elected on the fifth of 
November? Does anybody think that it would be wise to have so 
extremely active a gentleman, so extremely aggressive and versa- 
tile a gentleman, as is now leading the third party, put alone in 
Washington, an understudy to Providence? 

We turn, then, to the introduction to which I invited your at- 
tention. I want to introduce you to the present Democratic party; 
a party that has come through fire, has been purified, has been 
shown such errors as it has committed in past years and is now 
absolutely and enthusiastically united upon the progressive pro- 
gram, a platform which the whole country is seeking. That is the 
new Democratic party; new because it never grows old; new, be- 

262 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

cause the principles in which it is rooted and grounded never can 
grow old; new, because they are the identical principles upon 
which ... the great Declaration of Independence itself was 
founded, and that other document with which Jefferson had so 
much to do, the incomparable Virginia Bill of Rights. And so 
this is the party which is now being questioned with respect to 
its purposes by the leaders of parties which are either breaking 
up or have not yet attained to the bone and sinew of manhood. 

These gentlemen are saying: "If you give power to the Demo- 
crats, you will do all sorts of things. In the first place, you will 
have free trade." Ah, that ancient bogy! How long will they 
continue to dress this thing of their imagination in the old clothes 
of an ancient stump orator. There cannot be free trade in the 
United States so long as the established fiscal policy of the fed- 
eral government is maintained. 

The federal government has chosen throughout all the genera- 
tions that have preceded us to maintain itself chiefly on indirect 
instead of direct taxation. I dare say we shall never see a time 
when it can alter that policy in any substantial degree; and there 
is no Democrat of thoughtfulness that I have met who contem- 
plates a program of free trade. 

But what we have been doing and what we intend to do, what 
the House of Representatives has been attempting to do and will 
attempt to do again, and succeed, is to weed this garden that we 
have been cultivating. Because, if we have been laying at the 
roots of our industrial enterprises this fertilization of protection, 
if we have been stimulating it by this policy, originated at any 
rate in its present form by Henry Clay, we have found that the 
stimulation was not equal in respect of all the growths in the 
garden, and that there are some growths, which every man can 
distinguish with the naked eye, which have so overtopped the 
rest, which have so thrown the rest into destroying shadows, that 
it is impossible for the industries of the United States as a whole 
to prosper under their destroying shade. In other words, we have 
found out that this that professes to be a process of protection 
has become a process of favoritism, and that the favorites of this 
policy have flourished at the expense of all the rest. And now we 
are going into this garden and weed it. We are going into this 
garden and give the little plants air and light in which to grow. 
We are going into this garden and pull up every root that has so 

"The Vision of the Democratic Party" 263 

spread itself as to draw all the nutriment of the soil from the other 
roots. We are going in there to see to it that the fertilization of 
intelligence, of invention, of origination is once more applied to 
a set of industries now threatening to be stagnant, because we 
think [it] to be too much concentrated. That is the policy of the 
Democratic party in regard to the protective tariff. 

The Resident said the other day that if the Democratic party 
was put in power there would come a series of rainy days for 
those engaged in the industries of the country. I recall the time 
when he condemned that preposterous Schedule K * under which 
the wool monopoly flourishes, and I want to ask him if he doesn't 
think that rainy days came long ago to the poor mill hands in 
Lawrence, Massachusetts. What kind of days are those that are 
enjoyed by some of the employees of the overshadowing steel 
monopoly who have to work seven days in the week, twelve hours 
every one of the seven, and can't, when the three hundred and 
sixty-five weary days have passed and a year is tolled, find their 
bills paid or their little families properly sustained? Are they 
waiting for rainy days? I want to call your attention to the fact 
that men all over this country in industries not protected see 
more sun during the day than those who are in most of the pro- 
tected industries. They get higher wages, they have shorter 
hours, they are enabled to maintain themselves with a degree of 
respectability which is denied to the rest. 

I say that the policy of the Democratic party will so variegate 
and multiply the new undertakings in this country that there will 
be a wider market and a greater competition for labor, that the 
sun will come through the clouds, and there will no longer be 
lead in the skies and a burden intolerable to carry for the servants 
and creatures of some of the protected industries. I tell you, 
ladies and gentlemen, the time has gone by for statements which 
cannot be sustained by the facts. And I very earnestly and re- 
spectfully protest against arguments which do not square with 
the facts. For the fact is that the Democratic party has not pro- 
posed to change the established fiscal policy of this country, ex- 
cept where it furnishes root for special privilege; and that wher- 
ever special privilege grows there American labor languishes. 

Then there is another thing it is said will happen if the Demo- 
cratic party comes in. You know that one of the interesting things 
that Mr. Jefferson said in those early days of simplicity which 

* Section of the tariff law providing for duties on wool and woolen goods. 

264 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

marked the beginnings of our government was that the best gov- 
ernment consisted in as little government as possible. And there 
is still a sense in which that is true. It is still intolerable for the 
government to interfere with our individual activities except 
where it is necessary to interfere with them in order to free them. 
I have long had an image in my mind of what constitutes liberty. 
Suppose that I were building a great piece of powerful ma- 
chinery, and suppose that I should so awkwardly and unskillf ully 
assemble the parts of it that every time one part tried to move it 
would be interfered with by the others; the whole thing would 
buckle up and be checked. And liberty for the several parts 
would consist in the best possible assembling and adjustment of 
the various parts, would it not? If you want the great piston of 
the engine to run with absolute freedom, you give it absolutely 
perfect alignment and adjustment with the other parts of the ma- 
chine, so that it is free, not when you let it alone, but when you 
associate it most skillfully and carefully with the other parts of 
the great structure. And so I feel confident that if Jefferson had 
lived in our day he would see what we see: that the individual 
is caught in a great confused mix-up * of all sorts of complicated 
circumstances, and that to let him alone is to leave him helpless 
as against the obstacles with which he has to contend; and that, 
therefore, law in our day must come to the assistance of the in- 

The Democratic party does not stand for the limitation of 
powers of government, either in the field of the state or in the 
field of the federal government. There is not a Democrat that I 
know who is afraid to have the powers of the government exer- 
cised to the utmost. But there are a great many of us who are 
afraid to see them exercised at the discretion of individuals. 
There are a great many of us who still adhere to that ancient 
principle that we prefer to be governed by the power of laws, and 
not by the power of men. 

Therefore, we favor as much power as you choose, but power 
guided by knowledge, power extended in detail, not power given 
out in the lump to a commission set up as is proposed by the third 
party and unencumbered by the restrictions of law, to set up a 
"constructive regulation," as their platform calls it, of the trusts 

* "Mix-up" in the Swem Notes was changed to "nexus" in Wilson, New Freedom, 
p. 284. 

"The Vision of the Democratic Party" 285 

and monopoly. But [we wish] * a law which takes its searchlight 
and casts its illuminating rays down the secret corridors of all the 
processes by which monopoly has been established and polices 
those corridors so that highway robbery is no longer committed on 
them, so that men are no longer waylaid upon them, so that the 
liberty of individuals to compete is no longer checked by the power 
of combinations stronger than any possible individual can be. We 
want to see the law administered. We are not afraid of com- 
missions, t 

It is said, with a good deal of force, I want frankly to admit, 
that merely to make laws and leave their application to the 
present courts with their present procedure is not a very likely 
way of reform, because the present procedure of our courts means 
that individuals must challenge the power that is being exerted 
against them, that an individual must wait until he is injured and 
then go to the court for redress, and that he must have money 
enough and courage enough to go to the court and ask for re- 
dress. For the worst of our present situation, ladies and gentle- 
men, is that it requires courage to challenge the power of the men 
now in control of our industries by resorting to any tribunal what- 
ever. Therefore, I am ready to admit that we may have to have 
special tribunals, special processes, and I am not afraid, for my 
part, of the creation of special processes and special tribunals; 
but I am absolutely opposed to leaving it to the choice of those 
tribunals what the processes of law shall be and the means of 

Therefore, the difference between the Democratic and the Re- 
publican parties, or rather between the Democratic party and 
those various other groups that are masquerading under all sorts 
of names, is that they are willing to accept the discretionary 
power of individuals, and we are not willing to accept anything 
except the certainty of law. That is the only thing that has ever 
afforded salvation or safety. 

I want to draw a few illustrations. There is the great policy 
of conservation, for example; and I do not conceive of conserva- 
tion in any narrow term. There are forests to conserve, there are 

* Cf . edited version of this passage as it appears in the advance text of Wilson's 
Cleveland speech in Cleveland Plain Dealer, Oct. 12. 

f In the advance text of his Labor Day speech Wilson had stated that the Demo- 
crats were not opposed to commissions "if they be necessary instruments of ad- 
ministrative regulation." See above, p. 80 n. 

266 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

great water powers to conserve, there are mines whose wealth 
should be deemed exhaustible, not inexhaustible, and whose re- 
sources should be safeguarded and preserved for future genera- 
tions. But there is much more than that in the policy of conserva- 

There are the lives and fortunes of the citizens of the United 
States to be [conserved].* It covers not only forest reservations 
and forest cultivation and the safeguarding of water powers and 
mines, but it includes pure food and the public health and the 
conditions of labor and all those things which government must 
see to minutely and courageously, if we are not to be sapped of 
our vitality and disappointed of our hopes. Now, the thing that 
stands in the way of the proper policy of conservation and makes 
it impossible to form that policy is that the government of the 
United States is now under the influence of men who want to 
control the forests, control the water courses, control the mines; 
who will not admit that these are public properties which we 
hold in trust for future generations as well as for ourselves, and 
are resisting the efforts of those of us who would extend the 
threads of law all through these industrial processes which 
threaten our resources and threaten our lives and vitality. 

Then there is the matter of the regulation of hours of labor, 
of the conditions of labor, of the sanitation of factories, of the 
limitation of the hours of work for women and children, of the 
limitation of hours for men, questions which are in part state 
questions but also in part federal questions. All of these matters 
have to be treated by knowledge and pursued by a constancy 
of purpose which no special interests should be allowed to stand 
in the way of. And the government of the United States under 
the Democratic party will attempt to put all through this nation 
the structural steel of law, so that no man can doubt what his 
rights are, or doubt the stability of the thing that he is walking on. 

Sometimes, when I think of the growth of our economic system, 
it seems to me as if, leaving our law just about where it was 
before any of the modern inventions or developments took place, 
we had simply at haphazard extended the old family residence, 
added an office here and a workroom there, and a new set of 
sleeping rooms there, built up higher on the foundation, put out 
new foundations and new wings, little lean-tos and ancient jalou- 
sies, until we have a structure that has no character whatever. 
* The Swem Notes have "concerned," but the context demands "conserved." 

"The Vision of the Democratic Parttf 267 

Now the problem is to continue to live in the house and yet 
change it. 

Well, we are architects in our time, and architects are also 
engineers in our time. We don't have to stop using a terminal 
because a new railway station is being built. We don't have to 
stop any of the processes of our lives because we are rearranging 
the structures in which we conduct those processes. I say that 
what we have to undertake is to systematize the foundations of 
the house, then to thread all the old parts of the structure with 
the steel which will be laced together in modern fashion, accom- 
modated to all the modern knowledge of structural strength and 
elasticity, and then slowly change the partitions, relay the walls, 
let in the light through new apertures, improve the ventilation; 
until finally a generation or two from now, the scaffolding will 
be taken away, and there will be the family in a great building 
whose noble architecture will at last be disclosed, where men 
can live as a single family, cooperative as in a perfectly coordi- 
nated beehive, not afraid of any storm of nature, not afraid of any 
artificial storm of imitation thunder and lightning, knowing that 
the foundations go down to the bedrock of principle, knowing 
that the structure will stand as long as the solid globe, and know- 
ing that whenever they please they can change that plan again 
and accommodate it as they please to the altering necessity of 
their lives. That is the figure I have carried in my mind as I have 
thought of the future. This minute interlacing of ancient life with 
modern law, such is the program of the Democratic party. 

But there are a great many men who don't like the idea. You 
know that some wit recently said, in view of the fact that most of 
our American architects are trained in the ficole des Beaux Arts 
at Paris, that all American architecture in recent years was either 
bizarre or "Beaux Arts." I think that our economic architecture is 
decidedly bizarre; and I am afraid that there is a great deal to 
learn about the architecture from the same source from which our 
architects have learned a great many things. I don't mean the 
School of Fine Arts at Paris, but the experience of France; [/or] 
from the other side of the water men can now hold up against us 
the reproach that we have not adjusted our lives to modern con- 
ditions to the same extent that they have adjusted theirs. I was 
very much interested in some of the reasons given by our friends 
across the Canadian border for being very shy about the reciproc- 
ity arrangements. They said: "We are not sure where these ar- 

268 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

rangements will lead, and we don't care to associate too closely 
with the economic conditions of the United States until those 
conditions are as modern as ours." And when I resented it, and 
asked for particulars, I had in regard to many matters to retire 
from the debate. Because I found that they had adjusted their 
regulations of economic development to conditions which we had 
not yet found a way to meet in the United States. So that all over 
the country we are facing the same problem. It is a problem not 
of revolution but of readjustment. 

What I want to suggest to you is that the only basis, the only 
standard of readjustment proposed or suggested by our op- 
ponents, is the standard of expediency, and that only the Demo- 
cratic party offers a standard of principle. The expediency of the 
situation is merely to see to it that those who receive the privi- 
leges behave themselves, whereas our principle is that nobody 
ought to receive privileges and that every special privilege shall 
be destroyed, not with a ruthless hand, not in such a fashion as 
suddenly to upset the conditions of business, but nevertheless 
with the firmness and kindness of the judicious parent. 

The government of the United States at present is a mere foster 
child of the special interests. It is not allowed to have a will of 
its own. It is told at every move, "Don't do that. You will inter- 
fere with our prosperity!" And we ask "Where is our prosperity 
lodged?" and a certain group of gentlemen say, "With us." 

Now, I, for my part, don't want to belong to a nation, and 
prettily believe that I do not belong to a nation, that needs to be 
taken care of by guardians. I want to belong to a nation, and I am 
proud that I do belong to a nation, that knows how to take care 
of itself. If I thought that the American people were reckless, 
were ignorant, were vindictive, do you suppose I would want to 
put the government in their hands? But the beauty of democracy 
is that when you are reckless you destroy your own established 
conditions of life; when you are vindictive you wreak your venge- 
ance upon yourself; and that the whole stability of democratic 
polity rests upon the fact that every interest is every man's inter- 
est. If it were not so, there could be no community; if it were not 
so, there could be no cooperation; if it were not so, there could 
be no renewal, and that to my mind is the most important part 
of the whole matter. For what I am anxious about, ladies and 
gentlemen, is the conditions which the next generation will find. 

"The Vision of the Democratic Parttf 289 

The present generation finds this: that if, for example, you add 
to the reputation of America for ingenuity by originating a great 
invention, a great industrial invention, a singular thing happens 
to you. If you want, let us say, a million dollars to build a plant 
and advertise your product and employ your agents and make a 
market for it, where are you going to get the million dollars? Be- 
cause the minute you apply for the million dollars this proposi- 
tion is put to you: This invention will interfere with the estab- 
lished processes and market control of certain great industries. 
We are already financing those industries, their securities are in 
our hands; we will lend you the money if you will make an ar- 
rangement with those industries and go in with them. If you will 
not, then you can't have the money. 

I am generalizing the statement, but I could particularize it. 
I could tell you instances where exactly that thing happened. And 
by the combination of great industries, processes are not only be- 
ing standardized, but they are being kept at a single point of 
development and efficiency of operation. The increase of the 
power to produce in proportion to the cost of production is not 
studied in America as it used to be studied, because, if you don't 
have to improve your processes in order to excel a competitor 
if you are human you aren't going to improve your processes. 
And if you can prevent the competitor from coming into the 
field, then you can sit at your leisure, and behind this wall of pro- 
tection which prevents the brains of any foreigner competing 
with you, you can rest at your ease for a whole generation. 

And so I say that I want to see those conditions created which 
will permit this: Let a man begin his business on ever so small a 
scale and let him be safe in beginning it on a small scale. He is 
not [safe] now, because if he enters a field where a great com- 
bination has established a market, that great combination will 
undersell him in his local market, which is his only market, mak- 
ing its necessary profits in other parts of the country until he is 
killed off and enterprise after enterprise is nipped in its infancy 
by the monopolistic control of our industrial markets. 

So that America is about to see another generation which must 
be a generation of employees, unless it makes up its mind to be a 
generation of masters. The great militant, fighting, triumphant 
America is a nation of officers, a nation of men who are their own 
masters, a nation of men who will originate their own processes 

2f/0 Fart 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

of industry and of life. And we shall never see the day, I con- 
fidently predict, where America will allow itself to be employed 
and patronized and taken care of. 

I hope I have succeeded, therefore, in introducing to you the 
present-day Democratic party. It has been here all along but you 
weren't paying any attention. You are just now beginning to take 
notice, because there was a solid phalanx, a solid organized rush 
line, between you and the prospects. The whole horizon was shut 
out from you by the towering figures of the men who held so 
closely together in order to dominate the situation. Now these 
ranks are broken, a little bit of the horizon can be glimpsed and 
beyond these towering figures you see the great resurgent mass 
of the American people, and you see certain gentlemen, I hope 
modest gentlemen, trying to speak for them, saying: "We have 
been waiting for your attention for a long time. Now will you be 
kind enough to listen? Will you be kind enough to realize what 
our ideals are? Will you be kind enough to open your eyes to the 
vision which has led us on through dark days for a whole genera- 

For we would not have carried this burden of exile if we had 
not seen a vision. We could have traded; we could have got into 
the game; we could have surrendered and made terms; we could 
have played the role of patrons to the men who wanted to domi- 
nate the interests of the country and here and there gentlemen 
who pretended to be Democrats did make those arrangements. I 
could mention some of them. I have known them. They couldn't 
stand the pace. They couldn't stand the privation. There was too 
little in it. And you never can stand it unless you have some im- 
perishable food within you upon which to sustain life and cour- 
age, the food of those visions of the spirit where a table is set 
before you loaded with palatable fruits, the fruits of hope, the 
fruits of imagination, those invisible things of the spirit which 
are the only things upon which we can carry ourselves through 
this weary world without fainting. We have carried in our minds 
after you have thought you had obscured them we have car- 
ried in our minds what those men saw who first set their foot 
upon America, those little bands who came to make a little foot- 
hold in the wilderness, because the great teeming nations that 
they had left behind them had forgotten what human liberty 
was, liberty of thought, liberty of religion, liberty of residence, 

"The Vision of the Democratic Party" 271 

liberty of action; and so we set up an asylum. For whom? For the 

Is it not a beautiful thought that there are nations of Europe 
that have dreamed dreams that they never could realize on their 
native soil and have sent their vanguard to America to discover? 
Why, in that ancient kingdom of Hungary, for example, con- 
temporary with the great Magna Charta, to which we look back 
as the source of our constitutional liberties, there was proclaimed 
upon a notable day the terms of the great Golden Bull, which ran 
almost in the identical terms of the Magna Charta, but Hungary 
never could get a foothold for the execution of those principles 
until she began to send eager multitudes across the ocean to find 
in America what they had vainly hoped for in Hungary. Then 
when you take the great Italian race, going back to the stern 
Roman days and coming down to the days of Garibaldi and the 
visionary but practical Cavour, who built a nation out of sepa- 
rated kingdoms, and accommodated the temporal with the spirit- 
ual power as they had never been accommodated before, and 
find them coming in multitudes over to America, pleased that 
they could find even more than Garibaldi and Cavour could give 
them. Then those pathetic heroic struggles that mark the dark 
days in Cologne and the struggling multitudes that came from 
Poland to find their home in America. Why, you could go through 
the lists of the European nations and find in every instance that 
we had either realized their hopes for them or grossly deceived 
them. For we are trustees of all the confidence of mankind in 
liberty. If we do not redeem the trust, if we do not fulfill the 
pledge, then we are of all nations the most to be pitied; for the 
more high your aim, the more disastrous your failure to reach it; 
and the more glorious your program, the more contemptible your 
failure. Why did we lift this vision of peace before mankind if 
we did not know the terms in which peace could be realized? 
And so, like an army indomitable, irresistible, we have enlisted 
in such wise that no prolonged night of darkness and extin- 
guished campfires can make us the less confident that the morn- 
ing will dawn, and when the morning dawns and the mists rise, 
then men shall discover their manhood again and put on that 
armor of the righteousness of God which makes any nation un- 

272 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

September 26 

NEXT MORNING, after a night at the Taft Hotel, Wilson was asked 
whether he had slept well. He replied that he had. "I had plenty of 
room," he said good-humoredly, "I slept in a bed that was made for 
President Taft." 2 And as he relaxed on the Federal on his way to 
Springfield, Massachusetts, he commented: "This is indeed an interest- 
ing experience, trailing the elephant and the Bull Moose in the same 
territory. They are animals which are natives to such widely separated 
zones." 8 

At noon in Springfield he delivered an address on the trusts, going 
over much the same ground as he had covered in previous speeches. In 
that city he was joined by Governor Eugene N. Foss of Massachusetts; 
John W. Coughlin of Fall River, labor leader and Democratic nominee 
for Congress; and Dudley Field Malone. 4 Soon afterwards there was 
another short stop at Barre to allow Wilson to address a gathering at 
Worcester County Fair/ 

At 7:30 P.M. he reached Fall River for the most spectacular welcome 
of the day. His trip from the station to the Casino, where he spoke to 
an audience consisting mostly of workingmen, was illuminated by 
fireworks and torches. 6 In such a setting it was quite appropriate for 
Wilson to devote most of his speech, as he did, to a discussion of the 
problems of labor, and of the manner in which modern industry and 
the great corporation had impersonated the relation between the 
employee and his employer. 

Your Honor, fellow citizens: 

The minute I came into this room I knew that this was where I 
wanted to be. I love to have a body of men close about me like 
this, not sitting down like a formal audience, but collected to- 
gether like a lot of neighbors to talk matters over. I like to be 
close to the men that I am talking to, so that I can see in their 
faces. Dr. Coughlin * said that it was kind of me to accept your 

* John William Coughlin, physician and member of the Democratic National 
Committee, introduced Wilson at Fall River. 

Fall River, Massachusetts 273 

invitation. It was not kind of me. I esteem it a privilege to be 
here and talk face to face about the matters which concern all of 
us, for the real difficulty of our nation, gentlemen, has been that 
not enough of us realized that the matters we discussed were mat- 
ters of common concern. We have talked as if we had to serve 
now this interest, and again that interest, as if all the interests 
were not linked together, provided we understood them and 
knew how they were related to one another. And the burden that 
is upon the heart of every conscientious public man is the burden 
of the thought that perhaps he does not sufficiently comprehend 
the national life. For as a matter of fact no single man does com- 
prehend. The whole purpose of democracy is that we may hold 
counsel with one another, so as not to depend upon the under- 
standing of one man, but to depend upon the counsel of all. For 
only as men are brought into counsel and state their own needs 
and interests can the general interests of a great people be com- 
pounded into a policy that will be suitable to all. 

When I came here tonight, I realized that I was coming into a 
community where a very large proportion of men go daily to 
difficult labor and are confined all day long at tasks which make 
them feel that they are right against the adamant of life. You 
don't want to hear a rhetorical disquisition on politics. You don't 
want to hear word pyrotechnics. You want to hear the kind of 
talk that gets down to the interests that are nearest to you. You 
want what you don't now get. You want political and economic 
justice, do you not? And our search must be for justice, and the 
means of getting it. I want, in the first place, to record my protest 
against any discussion of this matter which would seem to indi- 
cate that there are bodies of our fellow citizens who are trying 
to grind us down and do us injustice. There are some men of 
that sort. I don't know how they sleep o'nights, but there are some 
men of that kind. But thank God, they are not numerous. And 
we are caught in the grip of a great economic system which is 
heartless, because men are not in it. You know when I hear 
judges, for example, reason upon the analogy of the relationships 
that used to exist between workmen and their employers a genera- 
tion ago, I wonder if they have not opened their eyes to the 
modern world. Why, in the modern world a man never sees, or 
practically never sees, his real employer. 

I was discussing conditions in one of the best known centers 

274 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

of the textile industry in this country I mean one of those almost 
as well known as your own city and they were saying that the 
difficulty there was that most of the men who owned the mills 
didn't live in the town at all; they lived at a great distance. The 
stock was not owned in the town, and that therefore the work- 
man was farther off than usual from his employer. He didn't deal 
with him as an individual as workmen used to deal with their 
employers when I was a boy, and I can assure you that that isn't 
so very long ago. They now deal with great impersonal things 
called corporations, not with anybody in particular, but with the 
agents of great powers which you can't even imagine. You never 
saw a corporation any more than you ever saw a government. You 
never saw the body of men who are conducting the industry in 
which you are employed. And they never saw you. What they 
know about you is written in ledgers and books and letters, in the 
correspondence of the office, in the reports of the superintendents. 
You are a long way off from them. And, therefore, what we have 
to discuss is not the intentional wrongs which individuals do us, 
for I do not believe there are a great many of those, but the 
wrongs of the system. We want to get a new light thrown all 
through the intricacies of this matter so that we may know where 
we are. 

I was illustrating the matter in my mind the other night in this 
way. You know that one of the best governed cities is the great 
Scotch city of Glasgow. [Applause] (I thought I might strike a 
Scotchman.) . . .* And one of the most interesting things about 
the administration of that city in connection with matters such 
as we are now discussing is this: You know how in the modern 
city we don't many of us have the privilege of living in a separate 
house. At most we have the whole floor of a tenement; the worst 
we have is one room, and we crowd the whole family [into one 
room in the tenement; and so there is family after family] in 
the same building, in the same house. Now, it is absurd in those 
circumstances to regard the front door of that house on the street 
as the entrance to a private place, for it isn't. And the authorities 
of the city of Glasgow don't pretend to regard it that way. They 

* The applause was from a lone Scotsman in the back of the hall. One paper 
reported that Wilson, lapsing into dialect, also added at this point, "I hae a wee 
bit of Scotch in maeself." See Newark Evening News, Sept. 27. Swem's Notes 
indicate, however, that Wilson said, "I have a lot of it in me myself." The tran- 
script in the Wilson Papers omitted this sentence. 

Fall River, Massachusetts 275 

treat the entries and the staircases and the corridors of those 
buildings exactly as if they were the streets of the town, as to 
all intents and purposes they are. They light them, they patrol 
them, and the whole authority of the city of Glasgow the part 
of the authority that keeps order and sees after sanitation and 
everything of that sort has free access to everything except the 
actual residences, behind the closed doors of apartments, just as 
it ought to be. 

Very well, I want the law in respect of all our matters to do 
something very much like that, to send the representative of the 
law inside the house, through the corridors, up the staircases, into 
everything except individual men's private business; and then let 
us see if we can't understand one another better, by knowing the 
conditions under which we live and what it is that we ought to 
do in order to help one another. Because, gentlemen, we are upon 
the eve of a new arrangement in America. 

You have only to examine the platforms of all the parties, for 
they are multiplying fast now, in order to see that they are all 
realizing more or less distinctly the new duty that is laid upon 
government. We used to think in the old-fashioned days when 
life was very simple that all that government had to do was to 
put on a policeman's uniform and say, "Now, don't anybody hurt 
anybody else." We used to say that the ideal of government was 
for every man to be left alone and not interfered with, only when 
he interfered with somebody else; and that the best government 
was the government that did as little governing as possible. But 
we are coming now to realize that life is so complicated that we 
are not dealing with the old conditions, and that the law has to 
step in and create the conditions under which we live, the condi- 
tions which will make it tolerable for us to live. And the reason 
that you have now to be very careful in the way you are going to 
vote on the fifth of November is that you are going to choose a 
method of justice. 

All the parties are offering you justice. But it is one thing to 
offer it to you and it is another thing to know how to give it 
to you. In the first place, I want to present this consideration to you: 
There is only one party that is ready to give it to you. Have you 
heard anybody predict that the third party is going to have 
a majority in the House of Representatives? Have you heard 
anybody predict, in his wildest enthusiasm, that it is going to 

276 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

have a majority in the Senate of the United States? Don't you 
know just as well as you are sitting there that if the leader of 
the third party should be elected President, he would be one of 
the most [lonely] officials in the United States? In all probability, 
in a probability so strong as to amount to a practical certainty, 
he would have associated with him a Democratic House and a 
Democratic Senate. He would be just as lonely and just as un- 
serviceable as the present President of the United States.* I beg 
that you won't think that that is said with disrespect, for it is 
not. I am merely stating a fact. The House of Representatives is 
Democratic; there is a sufficient number of Republicans in the 
Senate to vote on all important matters with the Democrats in 
the Senate to make a majority, and the chief legislation of the 
past session has not been Republican and has therefore not been 
acceptable to the President; and almost all the chief measures 
intended for the relief of voters and buyers of this country have 
been vetoed by the President. So that you know what I mean. 
The present President is lonely. He occupies simply a post of 
resistance. He hasn't got a team behind him; he isn't associated 
with a team. 

And the only President you can associate with a team in the 
coming years is a Democratic President. Now, I don't know what 
kind of a captain of the team the candidate would make. I have 
played quarterback and captain on a smaller team of the same 
kind, and I found it easy to teach the team the signals, and I 
found that they responded to the signals with a good deal of 
spirit. But this is another and a bigger job, and I am not going to 
pretend to you that I know whether the Democratic candidate 
would be successful or not. All that I know is that he would have 
a team back of him, and that no other President you can choose 
at this juncture would have. Therefore, if you are going to get 
justice that isn't mixed with all kinds of programs, if you aren't 
going to keep things at a standstill, if you don't want to wait at 
least two years, and perhaps four years, to get any program, the 
only thing you can do in common sense is to elect a Democratic 

* That Roosevelt himself was very conscious of the likelihood that he would be 
handicapped by the lack of a workable majority in Congress is evidenced by the 
fact that in his speech at Phoenix, Arizona, he promised to call a special session 
to enact a program of social and industrial justice if he had in Congress "anything 
like a party" that would support him. See New York American, Sept. 18. 

Fall River, Massachusetts 277 

President. Think that over. If I am wrong about it, I want to be 

Both wings of the Republican party, for they are merely wings 
of one party, are contented with the tariff conditions, except that 
they think there are some excessive schedules, and that there 
ought to be some tinkering done in order to reduce some of the 
schedules; but they are essentially standing pat, both of them, on 
the tariff, and the only working proposal I find in either of the 
programs is in regard to the way you are going to treat the men 
who have taken the chief advantage from the tariff I mean the 
leaders and organizers of the trusts. And there we come upon a 
very interesting question, which I am going to put to you in this 
way: We want justice. That is where we began. Now do you 
want it directly from the government? Or do we want it directly 
from the government through the trusts? Well, that is the dif- 
ference. Mr. Roosevelt says that the trusts are a natural develop- 
ment of our economic system, that they are inevitable, that they 
have come to stay, that we must treat them just as we would the 
railroads, and accepting them regulate them, and then see to it 
that justice is done, particularly to the workingman, not by the 
law but through the regulated trusts. 

Now, what kind of friends have the workingmen of the coun- 
try found the trusts to be to them? Just put that question to your- 
self. [And is the government going to make Christians of these 
trusts?] Is the government going to put bowels of compassion in 
them? Is the government going to persuade them to be kind and 
benevolent to us in the use of their enormous and irresistible 
power? Is that all the government is going to do? Is the govern- 
ment going to take us back a hundred years, nay one hundred 
and fifty years, in our development, and put us in tutelage again? 
Let me tell you that benevolence never developed any man, and 
never developed any nation. The only way a man is developed 
is by being put in such a position that he can and will take care 

* In the passage omitted below Wilson stated that in the existing circumstances 
he foresaw a majority for the Democrats in both houses of the next Congress, 
and that, because there was nothing substantial in the program of the regular 
Republican party, he had devoted most of his discussion to the proposals of the 
Progressive party. 

278 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

of himself. Liberty is the only wine we have ever drunk that has 
made a real tonic. And if I could be assured beforehand, or rather 
if I could be so hypnotized as to believe beforehand that the 
trusts would be good to us, I would say: "No, thank you, I don't 
want anybody to be good to me. I want a chance to show my 
mettle, and I don't want any orders. I merely want a fair field 
and no favor/' Because while it might be very convenient to be 
taken care of, it will make a dwarf of me to be taken care of, 
and I don't care to lose my growth. 

So that we have to ask ourselves this question: Have the trusts 
been the friends of the workingmen of this country? Why, you 
know the answer to that question. The trusts are the only powers 
in this country that have broken the power of organized labor. 
They are the only things in this country that have been strong 
enough to fight organized labor. Why? This question was put in 
this debate the other night: One of the speakers of the third 
party said, "Why is it any more likely that regulated trusts will 
do an injustice to the workingmen than that regulated railroads 
should do an injustice to workingmen?" The railroads haven't 
fought and overcome organized labor. Why should the regulated 
trusts overcome it? Well, I'll answer the question, because there 
are some men who can't think, but any man who can think knows 
the answer. In the first place, the railroads before they were regu- 
lated never tried to break up organized labor. That is one answer. 
And the trusts [have] tried and have succeeded. So that you 
started with a different set of circumstances. And then there is 
this other obvious circumstance, that you can't shut up one part 
of a railroad and work only another part. The way the trusts beat 
organized labor is by shutting up some of their mills and trans- 
ferring the orders to another at a distance and starving out that 
installment of the army of labor in order to conquer it; and further 
by dividing it and fighting it here, when they don't have to fight 
it there, make it impossible for them to win. 

You can't stop the railways of this country. Public opinion won't 
permit it. The government won't permit it. The mails have to 
be carried, and if you can't shut a thing up, you can't beat a 
strike. Now, are you going to go to the length of obliging these 
men who own all the plants and assemble in a great trust plants 
scattered all over the country, to work them all the time? You 
would have a job at that, because the market doesn't always 

Fall River, Massachusetts 279 

justify it, and they can fool you to the top of their bent by show- 
ing you their order lists and showing you that they are not justi- 
fied in working all the time. The thing isn't feasible, and the dif- 
ference between the two cases is so gross and obvious that it is 
almost a waste of time to point it out. But the point I want to 
return to is that with this ability to shut up shops, with this ability 
to shut off labor in certain parts of the country, with unlimited 
means to live (while the men shut out can't live because they 
haven't unlimited means), they have used that awful power to 
break up the right to organize. That is my point. Because, if it 
isn't a right on the part of a workingman to organize, then there 
oughtn't to be a right on the part of capital to organize. It is or- 
ganization that makes capital strong, and it isn't fair from the 
legal point of view, or any other point of view, to prevent the rest 
of the men dealing with capital from getting the strength which 
organization, and only organization, can bring. 

So that you don't have to defend all the things that organized 
labor has done. Organized labor has been unwise in some things, 
but the point is this, that the right of organization on the part of 
labor is not recognized even by the laws of the United States.* 
And nowhere in the third-party platform is it promised that that 
right will be granted. There is a plank in which it is said: "We 
are in favor of the organization of labor" I have forgotten the 
exact words, but that is what it means "We are in favor of the 
organization of labor"; t that is to say, "We approve of the prac- 
tice," but it doesn't anywhere promise to buttress that practice 
with the structural steel of law. And this is the law at present: 
In most of the states of the Union, so far as I know in all of them, 
for I haven't been able to examine all the decisions of the courts, 
any corporation, any employer of any kind, has the right under 
our law to dismiss not only one of his workingmen or a group of 
them, but all of them, for no other reason whatever than that 

* The federal courts had interpreted the Sherman Antitrust Act as not exempting 
labor unions from prosecution. Though there was no federal law recognizing 
the right of unions to organize, the courts had from time to time acknowledged 
this right. 

f The Democratic platform of 1912 repeated what the platform of 1908 had 
said on this point: "The expanding organization of industry makes it essential 
that there should be no abridgement of the right of the wage earners and producers 
to organize for the protection of wages and the improvement of labor conditions, 
to the end that such labor organizations and their members should not be regarded 
as illegal combinations in restraint of trade." 

280 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

they belong to a union. He doesn't have to show that they are not 
good workmen; he doesn't have to show that they have been 
negligent, broken the machinery, or done anything that they 
oughtn't to do. He can dismiss diem wholesale, merely because 
they belong to a union.* 

Now, a union can't oppose an employer merely on the ground 
that he is employing men who don't belong to a union. And so 
the thing is absolutely one-sided. The courts have held that union 
labor has not the right to boycott a concern because it is employ- 
ing nonunion labor, f and yet it says that the concern may boycott 
them because they are unionized. I believe that we ought to 
hold a brief for the right, the legal right, to organize. Of course, 
we can go to the opposite extreme. We can say that capital shall 
not organize, but imagine the howl that would create. Do you 
think you could get through a law that capital couldn't organize? 
Well, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; and if 
capital can organize, then it stands to every standard of justice 
that I have ever heard of that anybody else who has a legitimate 
object may organize. There ought to be an absolute equality in 
regard to that right. Of course, the law must regulate what capi- 
tal must do with its organization, and we will all of us agree 
that the law ought also to regulate what organized labor can do 
with its organization. But that is another story. At present there 
is no legal right to organize. That is an extraordinary circum- 

These organized bodies of capital have been the very forces 
which have been fighting the right of the workingman, and suc- 
cessfully fighting the right of the workingman, to organize. Now, 
we will assume that the third-party platform is carried out, it 
can't be carried out so far as I can see for four years anyhow, but 
we will assume that it is carried out then where are we? These 
organized powers through which organized labor has been de- 
feated are to be the instrumentalities of the government in deal- 
ing [with labor as in dealing] with everything else. For they are 

Wilson was referring to the decision of the Supreme Court declaring uncon- 
stitutional that part of the Erdman Act of 1S98 prohibiting "yellow-dog" contracts. 
See United States v. Adair ( 1908). 

f This is a reference to the Supreme Court decision in Loewe v. Lawlor ( 1908), 
commonly known as the "Danbury Hatters' case." This ruled that a union was 
liable for damages resulting from an indirect boycott See Edward Herman, Labor 
and the Sherman Act (New York and London, Harper, 1930), pp. 77-87. 

Fall River, Massachusetts 281 

to be the accepted and regulated instrumentalities of our eco- 
nomic development. 

Gentlemen, we can't afford to have justice, supposing they give 
us justice, which I very seriously doubt, but even assuming they 
give us justice, we can't afford to have justice without liberty. We 
can't afford to have justice as a gift. We must have justice as a 
right, and we must be in a position to get what is coming to us 
by our own force. Otherwise, all the fighting power, all the ardor, 
all the hope of liberty, have gone out. And I for one do not be- 
lieve for one moment that the people of this country are going to 
put themselves in the hands of a government which does not 
give them justice directly, but administers justice to them through 
die instrumentality of powers which have shown themselves un- 

That is the program of the Democratic party, nothing new [in 
it] except two items those items are very new to see to it that 
competition is so regulated that you won't have to regulate trusts, 
because there won't be any. Trusts can't stand competition, let 
me tell you. "Well," you say, "do you mean to break up big busi- 
ness altogether?" Certainly not. There are different kinds of big 
business. There is Big Business spelled with a big "B" and there 
is big business spelled with a small "b." But the one is inflated 
and the other is not. The one belongs to high finance, and the 
other belongs to everyday, workaday success and brains. There 
will be big business in the modern world inevitably, because it 
is a world of cooperation; it is a world of large operations; it is a 
world of world-wide operations. But there is a world of difference 
between the big business that grows by enterprise and economy, 
by efficiency, by working capital, every dollar of which is real 
and is used, and that which is artificially built up by agreements 
arrived at by gentlemen sitting in rooms t where they put to- 
gether units of every kind, good plants with bad plants, efficient 
business with inefficient business, and then pay those who get 

* In the passage omitted below Wilson said the Democratic party favored regula- 
tion of the power of organized capital in such a way as to give small business a 
chance to compete. 

f Although the transcript in WP, LC has "rooms," the Swem Notes have "units." 
The transcriber edited the shorthand notes to eliminate an obvious ambiguity. 

282 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

up the scheme such a large bonus for having been kind enough 
to get it up that they have to carry that bonus in the form of 
stocks and bonds for the rest of their lives. So that I think I can 
say that I know that trusts constitute an unsound and uneconomi- 
cal way of doing business, and that a sound and economical way 
of doing business will easily supersede them, and America will 
then be released from her trammels that she suffers under, in a 
way she has never been released in our time. 

Why is it that it doesn't occur to this party, this third party 
that has such a splendid program I think there are eight or ten 
things that they promise to do for workingmen [why doesn't it 
occur to them] that there are certain things that the people can 
do for themselves? I tell you the difference in my formula and 
theirs: I believe in government by the people, and they believe 
in government for the people. And government by the people is 
the only vital kind. I don't know enough to take care of the 
people of the United States, and I venture to believe that there 
isn't anybody else that knows enough. Government for the people 
is sooner or later autocracy and tyranny, no matter whether it is 
benevolent or not; and only government by the people is liberty 
and opportunity. And therefore it is the most notable circum- 
stance of this campaign that neither of the parties or fragments 
of parties that are opposing the great united Democratic party 
has any program whatever of government by the people. They 
are both of them proposing the old-fashioned government that 
we have had for the last weary sixteen years of government for 
the people.* 

You know, gentlemen, just as well as I do that the question of 
wages, for example, is not a question of the tariff. Oh, how long 
American workmen have allowed themselves to be fooled by a 
colossal bluff! Take the wage scales; take any wage scales you 
choose, and see if they are in proportion, or anything like propor- 
tion, to the protective duties enjoyed by the industries in ques- 
tion. You won't find that they match in any instance. Some pro- 
tective industries do pay good wages; others pay wages with 
which I dare say some of you are familiar. And they differ in dif- 

* In die passage omitted Wilson discussed one of his favorite topics: the differ- 
ence between a political machine directed by "bosses" and a legitimate political 

Fall River, Massachusetts 283 

ferent places, in different cities. For example, the city of Lowell 
in this state for some reason is a city in which lower wages are 
paid than are paid anywhere else in Massachusetts, even in the 
same industries. But those industries there are similar to indus- 
tries elsewhere. They enjoy the same protective tariff; and you 
would suppose that if this ancient story about the tariff producing 
high wages were true, it would produce the same high wages 
wherever it was in operation. But it does not, and you know it 
does not. Wages are proportioned to the competition for labor. 
There is a market for labor, just as there is a market for anything 
else. And if you limit enterprise as you do by perpetuating the 
trusts, for they control the large fields of enterprise if you limit 
enterprise, you ensure the permanency of low wages. The only 
way to get high wages, aside from the efforts of organized labor 
which have succeeded happily in many instances, is to create a 
varied and increasing market for labor. 

Do you see any violent rise in wages now? And yet there is an 
increasing demand for labor in this country. There is every pros- 
pect of Democratic success in November, and yet there is a 
boom on; nobody seems to be nervous about the Democrats up- 
setting business. Because we are beginning to [talk and] think 
like grown-up men now, and not like silly children. And in this 
great boom, why is there not an instant increase in wages along 
with the great demand for labor? Because there is a dead level 
for wages, in most instances due to the fact that the same persons 
control over large areas. That is the chief reason. It is competi- 
tion for labor that produces life in the labor market, just as it 
is competition in every other thing that produces life and change. 
And so, if you want enterprise, you will not accept trusts as in- 
evitable; and if you don't get enterprise, then the government 
will have to determine what your wages will be in the long run. 
And then where will you be? You will simply be where we started 
in the old, old days long [long] ago, about which we can only 
read, when men were taken care of by the government, and found 
it so intolerable that they changed absolutely the whole form 
of their government. 

We stand at the parting of the ways, gentlemen. We have got 
to make a choice on the fifth of November that will last us the 
rest of our lives. Make the choice that I have indicated, of per- 
petuating the power of these things that control us, and you can- 

284 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

not turn back. You have got a chance to turn back now, or rather, 
to turn away in another direction, for nobody proposes to turn 
back. You have got a chance now to choose the direction which 
leads to the hills, or you can choose the direction which leads 
down into the slough, where you will wallow some of these days 
as the servants of trusts supported by the government. 

I know which way you are going. You are not going to be 
fooled by the present levelness of the country. There is a sign at 
the crossroads. Look at the sign. Do not take this road that you 
know eventually leads downhill into the regions of despair. 
Choose this other road, where there will be displayed at last, 
when our children are happier than we are, some of the Delect- 
able Mountains towards which the great American people have 
been moving all these years of struggle. There will come a time 
when our children because of us, because we saw with open 
eyes, because we had some heroic strength in us, will bless us 
that we did not condemn them to perpetual subordination; and 
looking back from the light, from the far places which they have 
attained, will say, "These men conceived again the vision of lib- 
erty, and we, their offspring, are free." 


Address Delivered at Tremont Temple, Boston 
September 27 

SHORTLY BEFORE midnight Wilson, travel-stained and weary, reached 
Boston and went to spend the night at the Copley-Plaza Hotel By a 
quirk of fate, President Taft was in the same hotel, where he had 
spoken at a dinner given at the International Congress of Chambers 
of Commerce, and in fact was sitting in the banquet hall in full eve- 
ning attire as his somewhat disheveled opponent walked into the 
lobby carrying a bag in each hand. Wilson went to his room, changed 
to evening clothes and, through the intermediary of Governor Foss, 
requested the privilege of paying his respects to the President. 8 

The jovial Taft slipped away from the banquet hall to his private 
suite and received Governor Wilson in the presence of a small group 

"How Shall We Use the Government?* 285 

of persons. 8 During the chat that followed the two opponents touched 
briefly on the ardors of campaigning. 
The New York Times reported their conversation as follows: 4 

"How are you, Mr. President?" remarked Gov. Wilson. 
"How are you, Governor?" the President replied. "I hope the 
campaigning has not worn you out." 

"It hasn't done that," said Gov. Wilson, "but has nearly done so. 
It has been quite a hard week. How's your voice, is it holding 
out?" he asked. 

"Yes," replied the President, "and how is yours?" 
"It's pretty fine, but now and then it gets a bit husky." 
"Well," said President Taft, "there are three men that can sym- 
pathize with you Mr. Bryan, Mr. Roosevelt, and myself. We 
have been through it all." 

At this remark by the President, embellished by his famous chuckle, 
all of those present joined in a hearty laugh. And soon afterwards the 
Democratic candidate withdrew. 5 

At noon the next day Wilson spoke at historic Tremont Temple, 
where he received a tremendous ovation from a mixed audience, rep- 
resenting every shading of Boston's population, even including a 
coterie of ordinarily Republican Beacon Street Brahmins. 8 These 
Boston aristocrats had perhaps been encouraged by the endorsement 
recently accorded Wilson by revered Charles W. Eliot, president emer- 
itus of Harvard. 7 Richard Olney, President Grover Cleveland's Sec- 
retary of State, introduced the candidate. 

It was one of Wilson's hardest-hitting speeches, devoted in the 
main to an elucidation of how the federal government, without tram- 
pling on the rights of the individual, might be used to benefit the na- 
tion as a whole by an application of progressive principles. Once 
again he espoused Brandeis' ideas on the trust problem. 8 And he went 
so far as to condemn as illegal Roosevelt's approval in 1907 of the 
purchase of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company by the United 
States Steel Corporation. His charge that Roosevelt accepted trusts 
as inevitable and would merely try to make them "pitiful" was the 
barb that angered the Bull Moose leader most of all. Roosevelt's reply 
to this last accusation was to award Wilson a membership in his 
famous Ananias Club the next day. 9 

Mr. Chairman and fellow citizens: 

You put me under a great obligation by your cordial greeting. 
And I feel very much daunted for fear your expectation will be 

286 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

very much disappointed. But I feel that I begin with a certain 
advantage because your distinguished chairman has already 
identified me as a "rational conclusion." I regard that as a great 
strategic advantage and I believe that from every point of view 
you will realize the more you examine the present situation that 
there is something rationally unavoidable in the Democratic 
party; because, if I may confide it to you in confidence, I do not 
find a very strong element of rationality on the other side. Their 
reasoning leads them somewhere; they do not know exactly where, 
for the moment they come to their conclusions, everything lacks 

The starting point is plain. The road is pointed out with some 
degree of particularity. But where we shall get at the end of the 
road is left in convenient doubt. And it is all the more important 
that we should resolve that doubt; because we as a nation are 
now about to undertake what will be regarded as the most diffi- 
cult part of our governmental undertakings. We have gone along 
so far without very much assistance from our government. We 
have felt it, felt more and more in recent months, that the Ameri- 
can people were at a certain disadvantage as compared with the 
people of other countries because of what the governments of 
other countries were doing for them and our government omitting 
to do for us. 

It is perfectly clear to every man who has any vision of the im- 
mediate future, who can forecast any part of it from the indica- 
tions of the present, that we are just upon the threshold of a time 
when the systematic life of this country will be sustained at every 
point by governmental activity. We have now to determine what 
kind of governmental activity it shall be: whether in the first 
place it shall be direct from the government itself, or whether it 
shall be indirect through instrumentalities which have already 
constituted themselves and have already offered to supersede the 
government. For as I see the difference between the Democratic 
plan and the Republican plan it is not a difference of machinery, 
as some of the debaters in this great campaign would have you 
believe. It is not that the Democratic party, for example, does 
not care to have an administrative industrial commission; but 
that it does not intend that an administrative industrial commis- 
sion shall exercise the power of the government through the 
trusts; but does intend that that commission, if it is set up, shall 

"How Shall We Use the Government?" 287 

be the instrument of a free government, a government free 
to serve the interests of the people and quickly responsive to 
the opinions of the people, with no intermediaries to interpret the 
interests of business and to check the rise of new industries and 
the entrance into the field of initiative of the individual himself.* 
Because, hitherto we have depended upon private enterprise in 
this country for practically everything we get, and some of the 
things which I am sure interest you in Boston transcend the 
power of private enterprise; and we are not even proposing to 
remit them to private enterprise. 

Think of the great question of conservation, which doesn't 
touch you here in Massachusetts particularly in respect of the 
forests and the mines and the streams that more and more show 
a tendency to go dry! But it does affect you very nearly in that 
larger question of conservation of human energy and human 
health and human hope. Think of those methods which are now 
being discussed by great congresses from one end of the country 
to the other! I was invited to at least six that were meeting at 
almost the same time: congresses to consider the development of 
waterways, congresses to consider the development of roads, 
congresses to open the veins in which the blood of our energy 
may run and be free. 

. . . What we now have to realize is that we are discussing a 
new question in discussing waterways and roads. We are dis- 
cussing the question of highways as distinguished from private 
transportation. On a highway nobody has exclusive rights, though 
you would think from the way some chauffeurs drive that they 
had. A highway is open to any man's vehicle, is the open artery, 
the public artery of intercourse. A railway is not. Only those who 
own the rails can run the vehicles and they run the vehicles 
upon schedules of their own choosing. We have had to take a 
certain public control of them because they were indispensable 
to you in distributing goods and in conveying passengers. . . . 
We had in some degree to treat them as if they were highways, 

4 Although Wilson had stated in the advance text of his Labor Day speech that 
it might be necessary to create an administrative industrial commission in order 
to regulate competition, it was in his Boston speech that he for the first time ad- 
vocated, in a speech that he actually delivered, the establishment of such a body. 
The Boston Journal, a supporter of the Bull Moose party, next day claimed that 
Wilson at Tremont Temple had adopted part of the Progressive party's program 
after dodging it for a month. 

288 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

but they are not highways. They are private instrumentalities 
as yet and not public instrumentalities, whereas roads are public 
property. Rivers are public property. Harbors are public property. 
Great canals are public property. 

Now the government, the governments of the states and the gov- 
ernment of the United States are lending themselves to the sys- 
tematic development of our intercourse, not only among ourselves, 
but with the world at large. And just so soon as they begin to do 
that they raise this other question with which I began my remarks. 

Why do you suppose the Congress of the United States put a 
clause in the bill which it recently passed with regard to the 
administration of the Panama Canal, excluding from the naviga- 
tion of that canal steamships owned by railway companies? Why, 
for the very obvious reason that the whole object of opening that 
great highway is to see to it that a new energy of enterprise is 
put into the matter of transportation and that water routes com- 
pete just as roads compete with the railways themselves. And just 
so certainly as you permit the great financial interests that are 
behind the railroads to build the steamships, they are going to 
thread that canal and weave the two coasts together. The whole 
element of competition that so many forces have now combined 
to kill is embarrassed and perhaps excluded. The whole fight that 
has been fought from the beginning of the history of economic 
liberty until now is on again. I don't want the railroads to control 
and monopolize the canal. 

I see by your applause that you don't want to be controlled and 
monopolized. Therefore, I am set forward in my argument be- 
cause I can assume that I can assume that if we can find the way 
out of monopoly we want to find it. I want to call your attention to 
the fact that your great opportunities here, as a port, depend upon 
the free transmission of goods not only, but upon the free origi- 
nation of enterprise; because the railroads in their combinations 
can determine which shall be the ports, and the combinations of 
capital that are behind the railroads can determine what shall be 
shipped at the ports. There is no use having a splendid harbor 
here, there is no use looking forward to the day when with your 
water-front improvements you will compete with the almost too 
narrow waterways of New York harbor in handling the commerce 
of the world, unless the American part of the commerce of the 
world is free to go any way that it chooses. 

"How Shall We Use the Government?* 289 

I am in favor of the government's building roads and opening 
waterways and deepening waterways and digging waterways, but 
I am in favor of it only if in the administration of those highways 
the government is free to serve everybody. The government we 
now have is not free to serve everybody. That I believe, ladies 
and gentlemen, it ought in fairness to be said, is not by delibera- 

I sometimes think that the men who are now governing us are 
unconscious of the chains in which they are held. I do not believe 
that men such as we have known, among our public men at 
least most of them have deliberately put us into leading strings 
to the special interests. The special interests have grown up. They 
have grown up by processes which at last, happily, we are be- 
ginning to understand. And, having grown up, having occupied 
the seats of greatest advantage nearest the ear of those who are 
conducting government, having contributed the money which was 
necessary at elections, and therefore having been kindly thought 
of after elections, there has closed around the gentlemen who 
are conducting the government of the United States a very in- 
teresting, a very able, a very aggressive coterie of gentlemen who 
are most distinct in their ideas as to what they want. 

They don't have to consult us as to what they want. They don't 
have to resort to anybody. They know their plans, and therefore 
they know what will be convenient for them. It may be that they 
have really thought what they have said they thought; it may be 
that they know so little of the history of economic development 
and of the interests of the United States as to believe that their 
leadership, and their leadership only, is indispensable for our 
prosperity and development. I don't have to prove that they 
believe that, because they themselves admit it. I have heard them 
admit it on many occasions. 

I remember being present at the national convention of the 
Bankers' Association in Denver a couple of years ago when they 
were discussing what they always discuss and never do anything 
about, namely, the currency system. And after they had discussed 
from various angles and points of view all the difficulties that had 
surrounded the financial history of this country and had deplored 
the recurrent and apparently inevitable panics, a gentleman who 
was at that time the president of the Clearing House Association 
in New York got up and in substance told them that they needn't 

290 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

worry about those things, that there was a group of benevolent 
gentlemen in New York who would always pull them out of the 
hole. We know where those gentlemen meet. We have not been 
admitted to the inside of their conferences, but we know where 
they confer and with whom they confer. We know that our eco- 
nomic fortunes are in their hands, and that constitutes the serious- 
ness of the present situation not because they are malevolent, 
but because no group of men is big enough to take care of us. 

I wonder if these gentlemen have reflected upon this circum- 
stance. I know that some of them have. In spite of the fact that 
it is certain there is going to be a Democratic administration, 
these gentlemen are now engaged in the most hopeful way in 
promoting their various enterprises. Every day or two . . . you 
see in the paper somewhere, either in an editorial or in the news 
columns, some statement or comment with regard to the present 
extraordinary hopefulness and increase in business. Now, they 
know perfectly well that just as soon as this increase occurs there 
is going to come that old buckling up, that old stringency. 

There isn't money enough in this country to carry an expanding 
business. Do you realize that? And you can't get it, except through 
clearinghouse certificates. There is no expansibility to the cur- 
rency when we need more and we can't get more. When we need 
less, it does not contract. It is the most belated, ignorant con- 
trivance that any commercial nation has yet used. And just so 
certainly as business gets on a boom something will sooner or 
later break, unless somebody undertakes the very difficult and 
disinterested and dangerous enterprise of correcting the whole 
system. That is one of the items that we have to undertake. 

Now, if either branch of the Republican party undertakes that 
task, who is really going to do it? For neither branch of the Re- 
publican party I am sorry they have split, it makes it inconven- 
ient to talk about them when a man has to catch a train. There 
are too many other things necessary. But neither branch of the 
Republican party proposes to act independently of the men whose 
interests are now embarrassing every economic change that we 
want to undertake. I do not see on the side of the regular Re- 
publicans any better proposal that I can grasp with my under- 

On the side of the irregular Republicans, the variegated Re- 
publicans, I see a proposal that I very clearly understand. Because 

"How Shall We Use the Government?* 291 

these gentlemen say, they have been saying for a long time, and 
therefore I assume that they believe that trusts are inevitable. 
Now, mark you, gentlemen, they don't say that big business is 
inevitable. They don't say that the elaboration of business upon 
a great cooperative scale is characteristic of our time and has 
come about by the natural opportunities of modern civilization, 
for we would admit that. But they say that the particular kind 
of combinations that are now controlling our economic develop- 
ment came into existence naturally and were inevitable, and that, 
therefore, we have to accept them as inevitable and administer 
our developments through them. They take the analogy of the 
railways. The railways were clearly inevitable if we were to have 
transportation, and the railways after they are once built stay 
put. You can't transfer a railroad at convenience, and you can't 
shut up one part of it and work another part. It is in the nature 
of what economists, those tedious persons, call natural monopo- 
lies; simply because the whole circumstances are so stiff that you 
can't alter them. These are the analogies which these gentlemen 
choose when they discuss the modern trusts. 

Now, did you ever look into the way a trust was made? It is 
very natural, in one sense, in the same sense in which human 
greed is fundamentally natural. If I haven't efficiency enough to 
beat my rivals, if I can't get money enough to beat my rivals, 
if I can't economize enough to undersell my rivals, then the thing 
I am inclined to do is to get together with my rivals and say: 
"Here, don't let's cut each other's throats; let's combine and de- 
termine prices for ourselves and determine the output, and 
thereby determine the prices, and so dominate and control the 
market." That is very natural. That has been done ever since 
f reebooting was established. That has been done ever since power 
was used to get control. The reason that they have shut out 
competition is that the only basis of control under competition is 
brains and efficiency. I admit that anything that is built up by 
the legitimate processes of business, by working capital, by econ- 
omy, by efficiency, by growth, is natural; and I am not afraid of 
it, no matter how big it gets, because it can stay big only by doing 
its work more thoroughly than anybody else. Because there is a 
point of bigness as every businessman in this country knows, 
though some of them will not admit it . . . where you pass the 
point of efficiency and get to the point of clumsiness and unwieldi- 

292 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

ness. 9 You get a thing that you can't digest into a single system. 
You get so many pieces to it that they won't tie together. You 
can't assemble them as you would an effective piece of machinery. 
Therefore, the point of efficiency is overstepped in the process of 
development oftentimes, and it has been overstepped many, 
many times in the formation of trusts. t 

Now what does the prosperity of a country depend upon? It 
depends upon the number of new capable men who are getting 
an independent foothold, doesn't it? If you make the beginners 
afraid, there won't be any beginners. And more than the beginners 
are afraid, let me tell you. I meet men every day high in the 
business world who privately convey to me their agreement with 
my opinions and dare not speak them out loud; because there is 
somebody who could withhold credit from them. They need 
credit every day. If you interfere with this big game you can't 
get the credit to go any further, t 

I tell you, I wouldn't have gone in for this thing, ladies and 
gentlemen, if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes; if I hadn't been 
consumed with a desire to do some little thing to assist in waking 
the American people to their duty and to their condition. Because 
we can't go on this way. The circle is narrowing about us. Our 
energies are not free; our people are not free. I am only a school- 
master, but schoolmasters have been taught to find things out 
and schoolmasters have also got the notion that it is their business 
to tell everybody everything they know. And therefore even a 
schoolmaster may be serviceable, because a schoolmaster at any 
rate can mention names. If I knew any names in this neighbor- 
hood, I wouldn't hesitate to mention them. I make it a point of 

* This view that there is a point where big business becomes less efficient was 
an essential part of Brandeis' economic theory. In adopting this view Wilson was 
somewhat inconsistent, in that he had time and again declared that he did not 
oppose big business on account of size. 

f In the passage omitted below Wilson described how the trusts stifled competi- 
tion by underselling small businessmen in local markets and by buying out rivals, 
sometimes at exorbitant prices, in order to monopolize the market. 

t In the passage omitted below Wilson said that he could cite innumerable in- 
stances of how political influence had been exerted even on legislators by the 
threat of withholding credit. 

"How Shall We Use the Government?" 293 

etiquette not to mention names except where the gentlemen 
bearing them live, because I think that is sportsmanlike. 

If you will come with me into New Jersey, I will mention 
names- except that they have been mentioned so often that it 
is no longer necessary to mention them. We are, so far as the 
government of New Jersey is concerned, emancipated. We are 
no longer owned by the Public Service Corporation and so by 
the regulation not of trusts, not of monopolies, but of competition 
of the kind of competition by which monopolies have been set 
up we can set the energies of this country free again. And we 
have found out in recent years just exactly how these things are 
done. We have had to crush individuals. We have had trials. We 
know just the methods of bookkeeping, just the methods of cor- 
respondence, just those things which have thrown an illumina- 
tion upon the whole process by which monopoly is first created 
and then safeguarded. Now it is time that the law stepped in 
and the government stepped in and said, "We are going to super- 
intend the cooperative life of this nation." We may have to set 
up an industrial commission, but we will set it up not in order 
to discriminate between good trusts and bad; not to say to this 
trust, "Come" and it cometh; and to the other "Go" and it goeth; 
but to say, whether to the trusts or to anybody else for this is 
not a question of discrimination: "We are not fighting the trusts. 
We are trying to put them upon an equality on which they could 
stand with everybody else. . . . You can conduct your business 
in this way and you cannot conduct it in that because it is the 
business of law, and has from time out of mind been the business 
of law, to see that the weak do not have to succumb to the 
strong by reason of their mere strength. There are going to be 
all sorts of inequalities. If I am smarter than you are, I am al- 
ways going to make you yield to me and brains are going to win 
out. But you can by law induce a partnership between brains 
and honesty. And you are going to see brains are not going to 
be used in this country for covert, dishonest, unfair purposes. The 
details can easily be supplied to anyone who will [apply] in the 
main office. But we are going to do these things for an old- 
fashioned purpose." 

I don't wonder that the leader of the third party thinks that 
trusts are inevitable. He never found any way of checking them. 
And he thought that it was inevitable that the Steel Corporation 

294 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

should buy the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company.* He thought 
that it was inevitable that the Chief Executive should consent 
to an illegal thing in order to build up an irresistible power. If 
it is inevitable that the government of the United States should 
yield to these powers, the sooner we know it the better. And I am 
sorry that any man who has had experience in that great office 
should have come out of it with that conviction. He despairs 
of displacing power, and all that he can suggest is that we try 
our best to make it good, to make it pitiful, to make it kind, to 
make it just by which we transfer the control of our own affairs 
to those who by subtlety have combined against us.f 

The Democratic party is the friend of business, provided you 
bring enough businessmen into the partnership, but it is not the 
friend of business done in a corner, or done and controlled by 
small groups of men. And now if you will, as I say, go back to 
where I started. We have a great program of governmental 
assistance ahead of us in the cooperative life of the nation; 
but we dare not enter upon that program until we have freed 
the government. That is the point. And I do not think it is 
worth debating humanitarian schemes such as those very noble 
schemes that abound in the platform of the third party until we 
are sure that the party is in position through the instrumentality 
of the government to do those things to the people without 
debauching them. Because benevolence never developed a man 
or a nation. And I for my part do not wish to live under a benevo- 
lent government. I have made up my mind to do what I can to 
live under a just government. Every one of the great schemes of 
social uplift which are now so much debated by noble people 
among us is based upon justice, not upon benevolence. It is based 

* This was a reference to Roosevelt's approval of the purchase of the Tennessee 
Coal and Iron Company by the United States Steel Corporation during the financial 
crisis of 1907. See Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, pp. 436-45. 

i Wilson's phrasing indicates that he was not attempting to quote Roosevelt 
verbatim. But the Bull Moose leader, in his Atlanta speech, made the following 
biting comments on this particular passage in the Tremont Temple speech: "I ask 
Mr. Wilson to point where and when it was said that I said that I wished to make 
the trusts pitiful or kind. He cannot do it, and he knows he cannot do it. His state- 
ment is an invention. I ask him to point out where I have said that we are to 
'transfer our own affairs to those who by subtlety have combined against us.' 
Again, his statement that I have ever said that 'the trusts must be permitted to 
build up an irresistible power* is not merely an untruth, but is the direct reverse 
of the truth, and this Mr. Wilson knows." See report of Roosevelt's speech in the 
New York Times, Sept. 29. 

"How Shall We Use the Government?* 295 

upon the right of men to breathe pure air, to live; upon the right 
of women to bear children and not be overburdened so that dis- 
ease and breakdown will come upon them; upon the right of chil- 
dren to thrive and grow up and be strong; upon all those funda- 
mental things which appeal, indeed, to our hearts, but which our 
minds conceive to be part of the fundamental justice of life. 

Get a free government and you can have justice. Live under a 
government which deems its own control by special interests in- 
evitable and you can't do any of these hopeful things. And so it 
seems to me that we have come upon a time when we have to 
do nothing less than this: Labor to recover the ideals of America 
in practice. That's noble enough for anybody. 

I rather agree with your distinguished chairman about some of 
the rational conclusions he has come to, not because I believe 
myself the most capable instrument that could be found for speak- 
ing your mind in these great matters, but because I know this: 
Doesn't every man in this audience admit that it is practically 
certain that the next House of Representatives will be Demo- 
cratic? And that the next Senate will, if not Democratic, be con- 
trolled by the Democrats and those Republicans whose policies 
and beliefs are truly progressive? 

Now, if you continue the present President in office, who faces 
those very circumstances now, he will be just as much isolated as 
he is now; because he does not agree with the Congress with 
which he is associated, and every time they try to move in a truly 
progressive direction he checks them with a veto. I am not going 
to criticize those vetoes in the present argument because my argu- 
ment is simply this: that you are at a standstill in those circum- 
stances and we can't afford to stand still for two years or four. 

Well, turn the choice another way. Suppose you choose the 
leader of the third party as President. Don't you think he will be 
pretty lonely? Not that he'll mind it, because I believe he finds 
himself rather good company, but that he will be certain, in the 
circumstances which we can all predict, to have a continual strug- 
gle with the Congress with which he is associated. Because I 
don't suppose anybody in his wildest imagination expects us to 
have a Congress with a majority of the Bull Moose in it. [Ques- 
tion from the audience: "Why not?"] Because you can't get them. 

I was assuming that the somebody I spoke of was acquainted 
with the circumstances of the times. Whatever his ability, what- 

296 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

ever his patriotic purpose, it would not be serviceable to the 
country to have him purposing in a vacuum. There ought to be a 
medium of transmission for his energy. Even yet, he has not 
claimed the right to pass acts of Congress. 

So that you come around to this, perhaps you are near enough 
Cambridge across the river to adopt the simile: You haven't got 
any team with which to do anything unless you turn to the Demo- 
cratic party. Now perhaps you would like to wait a couple of 
years and see what is going to happen. Perhaps you like the 
gamble of life sufficiently not to be willing to destroy the excite- 
ment of it and transform a guess into a certainty. Perhaps you 
would like to keep guessing and waiting and pining for another 
two years or another four years, but I don't think you would, and 
the only open road, the only way in which you can make progress 
at all, is by choosing a team that will hang together, that knows 
its own mind, that is not afraid to move and is certain of its own 
purposes and goal. My advice to you is to choose the Democratic 
party and get down to business. 

Delivered at the National Guard Armory, September 27 

THE HEART-WARMING response of the Bostonians to the Tremont 
Temple speech was an excellent tonic for Wilson. During all of his 
afternoon journey to Bridgeport he was in an especially lighthearted 
mood, no longer answering the calls for rear-platform talks reluctantly, 
even delivering them with zest, and at times playfully throwing cam- 
paign buttons to the crowds. 2 

That evening he addressed another great audience, estimated at 
eight thousand persons, in the National Guard Armory at Bridgeport. 8 
The most significant part of this speech was his slashing attack on 
the "money trust," representing a position much more extreme than 
he had taken on this question in his Speech of Acceptance. 4 

*Cf. above, pp. 28-9. One leading Republican paper charged Wilson was 
vacillating on the question of whether a "money trust" existed. See editorial in 
New York Tribune, Sept. 29. In the first four paragraphs (omitted below) of his 
speech at Bridgeport Wilson pictured America as "synonymous with the constant 

Bridgeport, Connecticut 


What interests me, what grips me, in the thing that I am now 
doing is this: Here I am traveling from one end of this country 
to the other or as much of it as human flesh can stand and 
meeting great bodies of men like this, so that in the course of the 
week it amounts up to ten, twenty, thirty, forty thousand people, 
gathered together. For what purpose? Simply to hear a man talk. 



From Detroit News 

Not I believe out of curiosity to see what a schoolmaster looks 
like when he is running for die Presidency; but because there is 
astir in the air of America something that I for one never saw be- 
fore, never felt before. I have been going to political meetings all 
my life, though not all my life playing an immodestly conspicuous 
part in them; and there is a spirit in our political meetings now 
that I never saw before. It hasn't been very many years, let me 
say for example, when women attended political meetings. And 

unremitting struggle for political freedom"; called the public school "the melting 
pot" for all races; and advocated the use of the public schools at night to educate 
adults and bring together the members of communities. 

298 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

women are not attending political meetings now simply because 
there is a woman question in politics; they are attending them 
because the modern political meeting is not like the political meet- 
ing of five or ten years ago. That was a mere ratification rally. 
That was a mere occasion for "whooping it up" for somebody. 
That was merely an occasion upon which one party was de- 
nounced unreasonably and the other was lauded unreasonably. 
Because no party has ever deserved quite the abuse that each 
party has got in turn, and nobody has ever deserved the praise 
that both parties have got in turn. The old political meeting was 
a wholly irrational performance; it was got together for the pur- 
pose of saying things that were chiefly not so, and were known 
by those who heard them not to be so, but were simply taken as a 
tonic in order to produce cheers. 

But I am very much mistaken in the temper of my fellow coun- 
trymen if the meetings I have seen in the last two years bear any 
resemblance to those older meetings. Men now get together in 
political meetings in order to hear things of the deepest conse- 
quence discussed. And you will find almost as many Republicans 
in a Democratic meeting as you will find Democrats in a Republi- 
can meeting; you will find a great many of both. If this were 
simply a body of Democrats, I suppose it would be hardly worth 
while tackling it, because you would all believe what I was going 
to say before I said it. But I am led to believe from what I am 
told that a great many of you are Republicans on the anxious 
seat, wanting to find out just where you are.* 

I know that individual enterprise in this country is at an over- 
whelming disadvantage, and that the men who want to get a 
start and a foothold have to get the permission of those who are 
already in control of the field. I know that credit is so organized 
and interlaced that you can't get credit on a large scale unless 
you are willing to go partners with those who already control the 

* In the passage omitted below Wilson declared the Republican party was so 
divided as to be incapable of performing the real function of a political party, 
namely, to lead and organize the citizens. He expressed a desire to make the gov- 
ernment serviceable to the people and called for the elimination of the power which 
had intervened between the government and the people and had favored special 
interests. He blamed the Republican administration for the failure of Congress to 
lower the tariff and attacked the trust program of the Progressive Republican party. 

Bridgeport, Connecticut 299 

This money trust, or, as it should be more properly called, this 
credit trust, of which Congress has begun an investigation, is no 
myth; it is no imaginary thing. It is not a trust like another. It 
doesn't do business every day. It does business only when there 
is occasion to do business. You can sometimes do something when 
it isn't watching, but when it is watching, you can't do much. 
And sometimes it is on a vacation; it is like the god Baal in the 
Scriptures, it is asleep or on a journey. It needs to be awakened, 
but when it is awakened it isn't like the god Baal, who had no 
power at all, for it has the power of life and death, economically 
speaking. And I have seen men squeezed by it; I have seen men 
who, as they themselves expressed it, were "put out of business 
by Wall Street," because Wall Street found them inconvenient, 
didn't want their competition. 

Let me say again that I am not impugning the motives of the 
men in Wall Street. They may think that that is the best way to 
create prosperity for the country; but I don't want a corner on 
prosperity. And when I contrast the fees that promoters of trusts 
get and the melons that the owners of their stock cut occasion- 
ally, in the parlance of the street, with the wages that the men get 
who make so much of the value upon which they reap their 
profits, I say to myself: "There is a corner on prosperity. While 
some men are getting a great deal for nothing, other men are 
getting nothing for all that they can do." The strength of Amer- 
ica, the prosperity of America, the future of America, depends 
upon the fortunes of her working multitudes. How largess we 
have been in this country of human life and of human strength! 
There is many a place in this country where a superintendent 
would be dismissed for overdriving a delicate piece of machinery, 
but would he be dismissed for overdriving that infinitely delicate 
piece of human machinery called a human body and a human 
soul? Men are plentiful; we do not have to invent them or con- 
struct them, but fine machinery is not plentiful and we do have 
to build it and construct it. We waste our men and save our ma- 

And so I say that we have forgotten what we are trading in; 
we are trading in the human spirit. And only as that spirit is in- 
domitable, only so long as that look that I have seen in the faces 
of men in the steerage is the look of confidence and of hope, only 
so long will America retain her buoyancy, her elasticity, her 
greatness, her indomitable strength; because as are the people, 

300 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

so is the nation, and as is the nation, so is the government. It 
makes my heart burn within me when I hear what issues hang 
upon elections nowadays; it makes my heart stop to think that we 
are going to choose our path on the fifth of November. We are 
going to choose between this: 

Shall we try to get the grip of monopoly away from our lives, 
or shall we not? Shall we withhold our hand and say monopoly is 
inevitable, [that ] all that we can do is to regulate it? Shall we say 
all that we can do is to put government in competition with mo- 
nopoly and try its strength with it? Shall we admit that the crea- 
ture of our own hands is stronger than we are? We have been 
dreading all along the time when the combined power of high 
finance would be greater than the power of the government. 
Have we come to a time when the President of the United States 
or any man who wishes to be the President should doff his cap 
in the presence of this high finance, and say: "You are our in- 
evitable master, but we will see how we can make the best of it." 

That, gentlemen, is the choice you have to make. Don't let 
enthusiasm for a great individual, don't let admiration for an in- 
domitable character, obscure for you what it is proposed to do. 
It is in proportion as he is indomitable [that ] the result will be 
inevitable. I am not criticizing individual characters. I should be 
ashamed to attack individuals, but I have a very great ardor in 
attacking this program. It is a fatal program.* 

* In the passage omitted below Wilson again ridiculed the argument that the 
protective tariff raised the wages of labor and charged that the trusts had done 
all in their power to crush organized labor. He declared that it was unjust not to 
legalize labor unions so long as capital was granted the right to organize. He 
criticized the program of the Progressive Republican party for proposing "a govern- 
ment for the people" and at the same time not proposing "government by the 
people." He again professed his faith in the people as the real source of the 
strength of the nation and urged that their energies be set free "so that the fu- 
ture of America will be greater than the past" and so that she might fulfill the 
promise she had made to mankind. 

At the Astor Hotel 301 

September 28 

WILSON'S ADDRESS at Bridgeport brought his New England tour to 
a close. That evening he went on to New York City, where he spent 
the night. Part of the next day he devoted to conferences with political 
leaders, but he also found time to set down on paper a number of 
topics to be covered in speeches he would deliver during his second 
tour of the West, early in October. A number of his handwritten and 
shorthand notes made on this day are still among his papers, bearing 
the heading: "Western Tour 28 Sept., 1912." 1 

In the evening he attended a banquet at the Astor Hotel, given 
by the Woodrow Wilson College Men's League in honor of William 
F. McCombs, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. 2 A 
frail man, McCombs had driven himself so hard as manager during 
the preconvention campaign that he had suffered a nervous break- 
down. He had been able to do very little towards directing the national 
campaign, the burden of which had fallen on the shoulders of Vice 
Chairman McAdoo, and rumors had been current that there was a 
scheme to drop him from the chairmanship. Wilson, however, stead- 
fastly denied any such intention. McCombs, incidentally, had been a 
student of his at Princeton. 8 

Wilson's speech began with a tribute to McCombs: 

I am not here for any other purpose than to render my tribute of 
sincere admiration and affection for William F. McCombs. If you 
will reflect upon my relationship with him you will see that it 
must mean a great deal to a man who has spent most of his life in 
teaching that one of the men whom he has taught, one of the men 
with whom he has been associated as master with pupil, should 
so believe in him as McCombs has believed in me. For this, gentle- 
men, is the highest reward of the teacher. The teacher cannot 
promise himself that much of what he teaches will remain in the 
mind of his pupil. He cannot be sure that what was taught, he 
has taught his pupil, is true or deserves to be permanent. But 
what he can hope to convey, what it is his highest hope to convey, 
is that desire for the truth and that respect for the intellectual 
processes which discover the truth which should be the ideal of 
every teacher and of every student. So that if I could believe that 

302 Part 5. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

a great many men had come out from Princeton feeling about me 
as McCombs has felt about me, I would feel that I had been more 
than repaid for everything that I had ever done in trying to be 
the sort of teacher that youngsters would like to have.* 

Another part of the speech was probably meant as a warning to 
Charles F. Murphy not to force the renomination of Governor Dix in 
the forthcoming New York Democratic convention: 

Sometimes public opinion for a considerable period is not well 
founded. Suppose, for example, that you were thinking of nomi- 
nating for office or renominating for office a man who in general 
opinion is considered to have failed. Suppose that the fact is that 
he has not failed. But suppose that the necessity of acting is at 
hand and the general opinion is that he has? How are you going 
to treat that opinion? Are you going to say it is unjust, it is un- 
reasonable, it is not founded in the truth? All right, if you are 
adamant, say so, and then try to elect him. The minute you have 
done that you have run your head against a fact, the fact that he 
wasn't elected. It becomes one of those stubborn facts that con- 
stitutes a piece of history . . . because life does not consist in 
thinking, it consists in acting. 

Still another part of Wilson's speech set forth his ideas regarding 
the responsibilities and function of leadership: 

The whole process of leadership, if it be right, is a process of sym- 
pathy. It is a process of insight. It is a process of putting yourself 
at the point of view of the average man and the only advantage 
you have as college men is that you have been trained, if you 
have been trained at all, to interpret other things than those 
that were bred in you as an individual, to project yourself into 
situations, to substitute yourself for other individuals, to play 
into a life that is not your own. That is what your training fits 
you for, if it fits you for anything. That is fine, and so I say that 
if you will submerge yourselves, if you will immerse yourselves, 
if you will get the color of this great nation into all your thinking, 
then you will begin at last to release your individual force, be- 
cause what the nation needs at this moment is not men who bid 
others think as they do, but men who find out [what] others 
think and translate that into the best possible action. 

Later in the same speech he added: 

There is no group of men wise enough to dominate a great free 
nation. Because, if they did dominate it, then it would be proof 

Call jar an Unbossed Convention 303 

positive that it has ceased to be free. I wouldn't feel that there 
was any credit in leading a nation that would follow me without 
asking any questions. But if it puts me to my test every time by 
searching questions as to whether I understand it or not, and then 
trusts me after I have answered the question, then I have a faint 
gleam of hope that perhaps I have seen what they intended me 
to see; and that perhaps I can be a vehicle, not for the realization 
of my own purposes or ambitions, but for the realization of what 
the nation desires. 

September 29 and 30 

NEXT DAY Wilson went to Sea Girt to relax for a few hours. There 
he released to the press a statement regarding the nomination of a 
gubernatorial candidate by the New York Democratic convention, 
which would meet at Syracuse on October 3. 1 He had been strongly 
inclined to declare war openly on Murphy and the rest of the Tam- 
many leaders by actively opposing the renomination of Dix, but 
Colonel House during the previous evening had persuaded him to 
adopt a more moderate course. 2 Disavowing any intention of dictat- 
ing the choice of a candidate, Wilson nevertheless stated that "the 
whole country demands and expects that the Democracy of New 
York be left absolutely free to make its own choice." In short, he called 
for a "free and unbossed" convention. 8 This approach to the problem 
saved Wilson from a pitched battle with a strong faction within the 
Democratic party, but it did not free the Democrats of New York 
from the influence of Murphy. The Tammany "Chief Sachem" 
shrewdly assumed an air of neutrality while the convention proceeded 
to nominate William Sulzer, another one of his men. 4 

But as September drew to a close, Wilson had good reason to look 
forward to victory in November. Not only had the response to his 
swing through New England been encouraging but the first report of 
a "straw vote" conducted by the New York Herald placed him first in 
nine of the eleven states polled. Roosevelt was first in two states while 
Taft led in none. 8 

Fortunately, Wilson did not have one handicap imposed upon the 
Bull Moose leader. For some weeks Roosevelt had suffered embarrass- 

304 Part S. Touring Pennsylvania and New England 

ment from the charge, made by Senator Boies Penrose of Pennsylvania, 
that he had knowingly accepted during the campaign of 1904 a con- 
tribution of $125,000 from the Standard Oil Company and had unsuc- 
cessfully solicited an additional $150,000 from the same source. On 
October 4 Roosevelt was scheduled to appear before a Senate com- 
mittee, headed by Senator Moses E. Clapp of Minnesota, authorized 
to investigate this and other charges relating to campaign contribu- 
tions. 6 At the beginning of the campaign Wilson had sought to avoid 
entangling himself by instructing his campaign managers not to solicit 
contributions from corporations. Furthermore, he had asked that no 
funds be solicited from men expecting political considerations in re- 
turn and had requested that a special effort be made to encourage 
small contributions. 7 Despite these precautions he was to experience 
some slight embarrassment from the fact that some of his wealthy 
Princeton classmates had contributed heavily to his preconvention 
fund. 8 

On the last day of the month Wilson journeyed to Atlantic City, 
where he spoke before the American Road Congress. The speech, al- 
though nonpolitical in general nature, did have some political over- 
tones in that it revealed his belief that the government should play a 
more active role in the building of roads. With keen economic insight, 
he stressed the benefits the farmer would derive from a better system 
of highways, stating that it was "a proper function of the government" 
to see to it that knowledge of agricultural processes and the character- 
istics of different soils was "so extended, so carried everywhere to the 
farmer as to build up by the aid of the government this thing that 
feeds us and ought to continue to feed the world; and," he continued, 
"whenever you increase what the United States is doing, you must 
immediately increase the facilities of the United States for handling 
what it has made after it has made it. You cannot rationally increase 
the prosperity of this country without increasing the road facilities of 
this country." 9 

wi i . s* F* 

Woodrow Wilson, 1912 

'. * ; "v ( , ' 

],?, '. . \ / i, *'. ^"'!' M " ,, 

''>."' V" ;",', '!';;:'."-' .- n 

1 :: ''-. i\', , ' ; / /*" 


Second Western Tour 

October 2 and 3 

WITH THE ADVENT of October, Wilson's presidential campaign went 
into high gear. On October 2, at 7:30 P.M., he left Princeton Junction 
to begin another tour of the West. 1 This time the Democratic National 
Committee had scheduled speeches for him in seven important states: 
Indiana, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio. As 
if they were becoming more aware that their candidate was several 
steps closer to the White House, the Democrats had made more elab- 
orate provision for Wilson's physical comfort on this trip than on his 
first western tour. This time he journeyed westward on a special train. 
The Democratic National Committee, moreover, provided two private 
cars, instead of one, to accommodate their candidate and his entourage. 
One of these, the faithful Federal, was for Wilson and his political 
secretary, Walter Measday; the other, equipped with typewriters, was 
for Swem and a stenographer and the group of special news corre- 
spondents, most of whom had been covering the Democratic standard- 
bearer's speeches since the opening of the campaign. 2 The first two 
speeches of this tour were to be delivered at Indianapolis. One, essen- 
tially nonpolitical in nature, was to be before a meeting of the National 
Conservation Congress; the other, before a great Democratic rally at 
the Indianapolis baseball park. 


Delivered at the Coliseum, State Fair Grounds, Indianapolis, 
Indiana, October 3 

SHORTLY PAST noon on October 3 Wilson arrived at Indianapolis and 
received a warm welcome from a crowd gathered at the station in his 
honor. In fact, there were two reception committees on hand to greet 


308 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

him. One represented the National Conservation Congress; the other, 
the Indiana Democratic Club under whose auspices he was to speak 
that evening. 2 

In the early afternoon Wilson addressed the Conservation Congress 
in the Coliseum on the outskirts of the city.* Complying with a last- 
minute request from his hosts, he spoke on "the conservation of the 
vital energies of the American people" rather than on the topic he had 
originally planned to discuss the conservation of natural resources. 
Speaking more as a historian than as a presidential candidate, he told 
his audience that, though the country no longer had a frontier to con- 
quer, twentieth-century Americans faced the more difficult task of 
putting the finishing touches to the work initiated by their forefathers. 
And he emphasized that America's obligation to the world was to 
produce "a free and happy people," not just a "new abundance of 
wealth," or else admit the invalidity of her title deeds. 

Mr. Chairman and fellow citizens: 

It is with genuine pleasure that I find myself in this place, fac- 
ing a company of men and women who are devoting themselves 
to so disinterested a cause as that to which this Congress is con- 

Your chairman has stated in exactly the terms of my own 
thought, the errand upon which I have come. It would seem pre- 
sumption upon my part to instruct this Congress, or to attempt 
to instruct it in the means of conservation. I have come here, as 
he has said, to share in the inspiration of the occasion, to gather 
into my own thought an impression of the men and women who 
are working for these great objects in the United States. When I 
was on my way out here, and was thinking of this occasion, I 
prepared my talk on the conservation of our natural resources. 
When I arrived at the station, I was told to change the subject, 
[that] that was not what the Congress was, this year, devoting 
its particular attention to, but to the conservation of the vital 
energy of the people of the United States. I had thought that I 
would have to apologize to you for wandering off, before I had 
finished my address, into that very topic, because it seems to me 

* Among the dignitaries seated on the platform were Charles Warren Fairbanks, 
former Vice President; and Henry Wallace, editor of Wallaces Farmer, both of 
whom were Republicans. 

National Conservation Congress 309 

that the more broadly we view the field of obligation, the more 
clearly it will appear to us that our duty is only done in respect 
to the laying of the foundation, when we have conserved the nat- 
ural resources of America, for those natural resources are of no 
consequence unless there is a free and virile people to use them. 

We are in the midst of a political campaign, and most of the 
audiences that I have faced have been political audiences. I want 
to say very frankly to you, that it is a comfort to me to face an- 
other kind, because, in a campaign, we take politics, as it were, 
to the people, but on this occasion the people of the United States 
are bringing to us the great forces of their thought. 

A congress like this means something more vital, in some 
aspects, than any of the ordered efforts of political parties; for 
here are represented the men and women from every quarter of 
the Union, come together to speak that great volunteer voice of 
America, which is the atmosphere of politics, which creates the 
environment of the public man, which is the independent con- 
science of a great people asserting itself and instructing those 
who serve it, what their lines of best service are. 

All voluntary effort distinguishes a free people from a people 
that is not free. An effort, an organization, that comes about 
whether the politician wants it or not, is the kind of effort and 
organization which shows that the people are ready to govern 
themselves and to assert their own opinions, whether the men in 
the public eye now consent to be their servants or not. 

I have often made this boast about America, that, truly as we 
love our own institutions, proud as we are of the political history 
of America, if you could imagine yourself absolutely forgetting 
the documents upon which our constitutional history rests, over- 
night, in the morning, we could make a new Constitution; we 
would not lose our self-possession, we would not lose our long 
training in self-control, we would not lose our instinct and genius 
for self-government. Strip us of one government, and we would 
make a new America in which we would shine as much as we did 
in the old. If that be not true, then it is not America, for America 
consists in the independent and originative power of the thought 
of the people. And so, when men and women from every part 
of the country gather in a great congress like this, to speak, not 
of matters of interest so much as of matters of duty, you realize 

310 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

in a gathering like this the vitality of the heart as well as of the 
mind of America, and men of every sort must give heed to the 
utterances of gatherings of this kind. 

I know that there are some persons who come to these gather- 
ings representing only themselves. I know that a gathering of 
men interested in a special cause is a great magnet to the crank. 
I know that all sorts of people, with special notions of their own, 
come sometimes to exploit them; but, after all, we ought to be 
very tolerant even of them, because some of the finest notions in 
the world have lived for a little while very lonely in the brain of 
a single man, or a single woman, and it is only by the tolerance of 
preaching that they get their currency, and finally get their im- 
perial triumph by conquering the minds of the world, so that it is 
these voluntary contributions of thought, these irresistible cur- 
rents of national life that are the most vital part of every people's 
history. That is the reason I say it is a comfort to face an audience 
that I am not trying to persuade in regard to anything, but with 
which I am trying to get in sympathy, in order to share the great 
force which they represent. 

It would be almost like assuring you that I was a thoughtful 
and rational being to say that I am in profound sympathy with 
the whole work of this great Congress, and that I am in particular 
sympathy, in keenest sympathy with that part which affects the 
conservation of the vital energy of the people of the United 

We have prided ourselves, ladies and gentlemen, upon our in- 
ventive genius; we have prided ourselves upon the ability to 
devise machines that can almost dispense with the intelligence of 
man. We have become a great manufacturing people because of 
this genius, because of our ability to draw together not only the 
tangible machinery of great enterprises but also the intellectual 
machinery of great enterprises, and we have been so proud of 
the mere multiplication of the resources of the Nation, so proud 
of its wealth, so proud of the ingenious methods by which we 
have increased its wealth, that we have been sometimes almost in 
danger of forgetting what the real root of the whole matter is. 

I say, without intending to indict anybody, that it has too often 
happened that men have felt themselves obliged to dismiss super- 
intendents who overtaxed a delicate piece of machinery, who 
have not gone further and felt obliged to dismiss a superintendent 

National Conservation Congress 311 

who overtaxed that most delicate of all pieces of machinery, the 
human body and the human brain. 

If you drive your men and women too hard, your machinery 
will presently have to go on the scrap heap. If you sap the vital 
energy of your people, then there will be no energy in any part 
of the life you live, or in any enterprise that you may undertake. 
The energy of your people is not merely a physical energy. I am 
glad to say that the great State of New Jersey, which I have the 
honor to represent, has been very forward among her sister States 
in attempting to safeguard the lives and the health of those who 
work in her factories, and in all the undertakings which are in 
danger of impairing the health. I am glad to say that our Legisla- 
ture has been to a very considerable extent, though not so far as 
it ought to be, thoughtful of the health of the children, thought- 
ful of the strength of women, thoughtful of the men and women 
together who have to breathe noxious gases, who are exposed to 
certain kinds of dust bred in certain manufactories, which dust 
carries congestion and danger to the lungs and to the whole 
system we have been thoughtful of these things, but after all, 
we stand in exactly the same relation to our bodies that the na- 
tion stands to her forests and her rivers and her mines. 

I have no use for my body unless I have a free and happy soul 
to be a tenant of it. We have no happy use for this continent 
unless we have a free and hopeful and energetic people to use it. 
I know that I have sometimes spoken of how foreigners laugh 
at Americans because they boast of the size of America, as if 
they had made it, and we are twitted with a pride in something 
that we did not create. We did not stretch all this great body 
of earth and pile it into beautiful mountains and variegate it 
with forests from ocean to ocean, and they say, "Why should you 
be so proud of what God created? You were not partners in the 

But it seems to me that it is perfectly open for us to reply, 
"Any nation is as big as the thing that it accomplishes, and we 
have reason to be proud of the size of America, because we have 
occupied and dominated it." 

But we have come to a point where occupation and domina- 
tion will not suffice to win us credit with the nations of the earth 
or our own respect. It was fine to have the cohesive and orderly 
power to plant commonwealths from one side of this great con- 

312 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

tinent to another. It was pretty fine, and it strikes the imagination 
to remember the time when the ring of the ax in the forest and 
the crack of the rifle meant not merely the falling of a tree or the 
death of some living thing, but it meant the voice of the van- 
guard of civilization, making spaces for homes, destroying the 
wild life that would endanger human life, or destroying the life 
which it was necessary to destroy in order to sustain human life; 
and that the mere muscle, the mere quickness of eye, the mere 
indomitable physical courage of those pioneers that crossed this 
continent ahead of us, was evidence of the virility of the race, and 
was evidence also of its capacity to rule, to rule and to make con- 
quest of the things that it needed to use. But now we have come 
to a point where everything has to be justified by its spiritual 
consequences, and the difficult part of the task is that which is 
immediately ahead of us. 

Until the census of 1890, every census bureau could prepare 
maps for us, on which the frontiers of settlement in America 
were drawn, and until that time there had always been an inter- 
space between the frontier of the movement westward and the 
little strip of coast upon the Pacific, which had been occupied, 
as it were, prematurely and out of order.* 

But, in 1890, it was impossible to draw a frontier in the United 
States, it was impossible to show any places where the spaces had 
not, at any rate, been sparsely filled, sparsely occupied by the 
populations that lived under the flag of the Union. It was about 
that time, by the way, or eight years later, that we were so eager 
for a frontier that we established a new frontier in the Philip- 
pines, in order, as Mr. Kipling would say, "to satisfy the feet of 
our young men." 

But the United States, ever since 1890, has been through with 
the business of beginning and now has the enormously more diffi- 
cult task before it of finishing. 

It is very easy, I am told, though I have never tried it, roughly 
to sketch in a picture, that all the students in art schools can 

* It is not surprising that Wilson's speech at this point reads like Frederick Jack- 
son Turner's famous essay, ''The Significance of the Frontier in American History." 
The two often talked together about American history when they were at Johns 
Hopkins University when Wilson was a lecturer and Turner a graduate student. 
See Baker, Woodrow Wilson, 2, 124-5; and Wendell H. Stephenson, "The In- 
fluence of Woodrow Wilson on Frederick Jackson Turner," Agricultural History, 
19 (1945), 249-53. 

National Conservation Congress 313 

make the rough sketch reasonably well, but they almost all, ex- 
cept those who have passed a certain point, spoil the picture in 
the finishing. All the difficulties, all the niceties of art, you have 
in the last touches, not in the first, and all the difficulties and 
niceties of civilization lie in the last touches, not in the first. 

Anybody with courage and fortitude and resourcefulness can 
set up a frontier, but we have discovered, to our cost, that not 
many of us can set up a successful city government. Almost all 
the best governed cities in the world are on the other side of the 
water; almost all of the worst governed cities in the civilized 
world are in America. And the thing that is most taxing our po- 
litical genius is making a decent finish, where we made such a 
distinguished beginning. We show it. You can feel it under you 
as you traverse a city; you can feel it in the pavements. TTiey 
are provisional, most of them, or have not been laid at all and in 
jolting in the streets that are not the main thoroughfares of an 
American city, you feel the jolt of unfinished America. We have 
not had time, or we have let the contract to the wrong man. 

But, whatever be the cause, we have not completed the job 
in a way that ought to be satisfactory to our pride. You know that 
we are waiting for the development of an American literature, so 
I am told. Now, literature can not be done with the flat hand; you 
can not write an immor[t]al sentence by taking a handful of 
words out of the dictionary and scattering them over the page. 
They have to be wrought together with the vital blood of the 
imagination, in order to speak to any other reader except those of 
the day itself. And, as in all forms of art, whether literary, or 
musical, or sculptural, there is this final test: can you finish what 
you begin? I believe, therefore, that the problem of this Con- 
gress is just this problem of putting the last touches on the hu- 
man enterprise which we undertook in America. 

We did not undertake anything new in America in respect of 
our industry. You will not find anything in the way of industry in 
America which can not be matched elsewhere in the world. If 
the happiness of our people and the welfare of our people does 
not exceed the happiness and welfare of other people, then, as 
Americans, we have failed; because we promised the world, not 
a new abundance of wealth, not an unprecedented scale of physi- 
cal development, but a free and happy people. 

That is the final pledge which we shall have to redeem, and if 

314 fart 6. Second Western Tour 

we do not redeem it, then we must admit an invalidity to the title 
deeds of America. 

America was set up and opened her doors, in order that all 
mankind might come and find what it was to release their ener- 
gies in a way that would bring them comfort and happiness and 
peace of mind. And we have to see to it that they get happiness 
and comfort and peace of mind; and we have to lend the effort, 
not only of great volunteer associations like this, but the efforts 
of our State governments and national government, to this high- 
est of all enterprises, to see that the people are taken care of, not 
taken care of in the sense that those are taken care of who can 
not take care of themselves, because the best way to teach a boy 
to swim is to throw him into the water, and too much inflated 
apparatus around him will only prevent his learning to swim, be- 
cause the great thing is not to go to the bottom and many of the 
devices by which we now learn to swim make it unnecessary to 
swim, because you can stay on top just the same, and I, for my 
part, do not believe that human vitality is assisted by making it 
unnecessary for it to assert itself. On the contrary, I believe that 
it is quickened only when it is put under such stimulation as to 
feel the whip, whether of interest or of necessity, to quicken it. 
But the last crux of the whole matter comes here: I am not inter- 
ested in exerting myself unless the exertion, when it is over, brings 
me satisfaction. 

If I have to work in such conditions that, every night, I fall 
into my bed absolutely exhausted, and with the lamp of hope al- 
most at its last dying flicker, then I don't care whether I get up 
in the morning or not; and when I get up in the morning, I do not 
go blithely to my work. I do not go to my work like a man who 
relishes the tasks of life. I go there because I must go, or starve, 
and there is always the goad at my stomach, the goad at my 
heart, because those dependent on me will suffer if I do not go 
to my work and the only way I can go to my work with satisfac- 
tion is to feel that, wherever I turn, I am dealing with my fellow 
men, with fellow human beings. So that we must take the heart- 
lessness out of industry before we can put the heart into the men 
who are engaged in the industry. 

The employer has got to feel that he is dealing with flesh and 
blood like his own and with his fellow man, or else his employes 
will not be in sympathy with him and will not be in sympathy 

National Conservation Congress 315 

with the work, and a man who is not in sympathy with his work 
will not produce the things that are worth using. 

All the stories we tell to our children about work are told of 
such men as Stradivarius, who lingered in the making of a violin 
as a lover would linger with his lady; who hated to take his fin- 
gers from the beloved wood which was yielding its music to his 
magic touch. In all poetry and song since, Stradivarius has been 
to us the type of the human genius and heart that is put into the 
work that is done [with affection] and zest. 

We point to some of the exquisitely completed work of the 
stone carvers of the Middle Ages, the little hidden pieces tucked 
away unseen in the great cathedrals, where the work is just as 
loving in its detail and completeness as it is upon the altar itself, 
and we say this is the efflorescence of the human spirit expressed 
in [obscure] work. The man knew that nobody, except perhaps 
an occasional adventurer coming to repair that cathedral, would 
ever see that work, but he wrought it for the sake of his own 
heart and in the sight of God. And that, we instinctively accept 
as the type of the spiritual side of work. 

Now, imagine, ladies and gentlemen, imagine as merchants and 
manufacturers and bankers, what would happen to the industrial 
supremacy of the United States if all her workmen worked in 
that spirit. Would there be goods anywhere in the world that 
could for one moment match the goods made in America? Would 
not the American label be the label of spiritual distinction? And 
how are you going to bring that about? You are going to bring it 
about by such work as this Congress is interested in and the work 
which will ensue, because the things which you are discussing 
now are merely the passageways to things that are better. 

Just so soon as you make it a matter of conscience with your 
legislatures to see to it that human life is conserved wherever 
modern processes touch it, just as soon as you make it the duty of 
society to release the human spirit occasionally on playgrounds, 
to surround it with beauty, to give it, even in the cities, a touch 
of nature, and the freedom of the open sky, just as soon as you 
realize and have all of society realize that play enjoyment is 
part of the building up of the human spirit, and that the load 
must sometimes be lifted, or else it will be a breaking load, just 
as soon as you realize that every time you touch the imagination 
of your people and quicken their thought and encourage their 

316 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

hope and spread abroad among them the sense of human fellow- 
ship and of mutual helpfulness, you are elevating all the levels of 
the national life, and then you will begin to see that your fac- 
tories are doing better work, because, sooner or later, this atmos- 
pheric influence is going to get into every office in the United 
States, and men are going to see that the best possible instru- 
ments that they can have are men whom they regard as partners 
and fellow beings. 

I look upon a Congress like this as one of the indispensable in- 
struments of the public life. Law, ladies and gentlemen, does not 
run before the thought of society and draw that thought after it. 
Law is nothing else but the embodiment of the thought of so- 
ciety, and when I see great bodies of men and women like this, 
running ahead of the law, and beckoning it on to fair enterprises 
of every sort, I know that I see the rising tide which is going to 
bring these things in inevitably. I know that I see law in the mak- 
ing; I know that I see the future forming its lines before my eyes, 
and that, presently, when we come to an agreement, and wher- 
ever we come to substantial agreement, we shall have the things 
that we desire. So that, for a man in public life, an assemblage 
like this is the food of his thought, if he lend his thought to what 
his fellow countrymen are desiring and planning; and all the zest 
of politics lies, not in holding things where they are, but in carry- 
ing them forward along the lines of promise, to the place where 
they ought to be. 

You are our consciences, you are our mentors, you are our 
schoolmasters. The men in public life have only twenty-four 
hours in their day and they generally spend eight of the twenty- 
four in sleeping I must admit generally to spending nine and 
in what remains they cannot comprehend the interests of a great 
nation. No man that I ever met, no group of men that I ever met, 
could sum up in their own thought the interests of a varied na- 
tion. Therefore, they are absolutely dependent upon suggestions 
coming from every fertile quarter, into their consciousness. They 
are subject, or they ought to be subject, daily, to instruction. A 
gentleman was quoting to me today a very fine remark of Prince 
Bismarck's. He was taxed with inconsistency, with holding an 
opinion today that he had not held yesterday. He said he would 
be ashamed of himself if he did not hold himself at liberty, when- 
ever he learned a new fact, to readjust his opinions. Why, that is 

National Conservation Congress 317 

what learning is for. Ought any man to be ashamed of having 
accepted the Darwinian theory, because he did not hold it before 
Darwin demonstrated it? Ought any man to be ashamed of hav- 
ing given up the Copernican idea of the universe? Ought any 
man to be obliged to apologize for having yielded to the facts? 
If he does not he will sooner or later be very sorry, because the 
facts are our masters, and if we do not yield to them, we will 
presently be their slaves. I suppose if I chose to assert the full 
consistency of my independence I would say that I was at liberty 
to jump from the top of this building, but just as soon as I reached 
the ground nature would have said to me, "You fool, didn't you 
ever hear of the law of gravitation? Didn't you hear of any of 
the things that would happen to you if you jumped off a building 
of this height? Suppose you spend a considerable period in a hos- 
pital thinking it over," and it would be very impressively borne 
in upon me what the penalties of ignorance of the law of gravita- 
tion are. Now, it is going to be very impressively borne in upon 
the public men of this country if they ignore them what the 
laws of human life are. As Dr. Holmes used to say, "The truth is 
no invalid. You need not be afraid; no matter how roughly you 
treat her, she will survive, and if you treat her too roughly there 
will be a certain reaction in your own situation which will be the 
severest penalty you could carry." 

I come, therefore, to Indianapolis today to put my mind at your 
service, merely to express an attitude, merely to confess a faith, 
merely to declare the deep interest which must underlie all hu- 
man effort, for, when the last thing is said about human effort, 
ladies and gentlemen, it lies in human sympathy. Unless the 
hearts of men are bound together the policies of men will fail, 
because the only thing that makes classes in a great nation is 
that they do not understand that their interests are identical. 

The only thing that embarrasses public action is that certain 
men seek advantages which they can gain only at the expense of 
the rest of the country, and when they have gained them those 
very advantages prove the heaviest weight they have to cany, 
because they are then responsible for all that happens to those 
upon whom they have imposed and to those from whom they 
have subtracted what was their right. 

So that the deepest task of all politics is to understand one an- 
other; the deepest task of all politics is to understand everybody, 

318 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

and I do not see how everybody is going to be understood unless 
everybody speaks up, and the more independent spokesmen there 
are the more vocal the Nation is, the more certain we shall be to 
work out in peace and finally in pride the great tasks which lie 
ahead of us. 


Delivered at the Washington Baseball Park, Indianapolis, In- 
diana, October 3 

AT THE conclusion of his afternoon speech a committee of Demo- 
crats escorted Wilson to the Denison Hotel for dinner and then to the 
Indiana Democratic Club, where he joined a mammoth parade mov- 
ing towards the Washington Baseball Park. The air vibrated with the 
music of several bands as hundreds of marchers carrying red fire 
torches lighted the candidate's way. 2 One spectator remarked that he 
hadn't seen so many Roman candles and red lights since the fireworks 
factory burned down. 8 

When Wilson arrived at the park and mounted the speaker's plat- 
form on the baseball diamond, the crowd had almost completely filled 
the grandstand and temporary stands in front of it. Many sat on the 
grass or stood between the temporary stands and the speaker's plat- 
form. 4 

Thomas Taggart of French Lick Springs, well-known "boss" of the 
Democratic organization in Indiana, asked the meeting to come to 
order but was only partially successful. 5 Numerous leather-lunged 
Democrats in the enthusiastic crowd of between twenty and thirty 
thousand persons continued to yell and cheer. Then Senator John Worth 
Kern of Indiana introduced Wilson, but the candidate's opening words 
were almost completely lost. Some determined spectators were still 
noisily seeking choice seats in the grandstand; others shouted "Louder!" 
to the speaker until one man closer to the platform called out, "Never 
mind, Woody, old boy. If they can't hear, well tell them about it to- 
morrow." In the face of these handicaps Wilson showed the benefits 
of his campaign seasoning. By doggedly going ahead with his speech, 
he eventually restored order. Standing over the home plate of the 
diamond, he boldly faced the thousands in the grandstand, who sat 
almost shrouded in darkness, and delivered a fighting campaign 

"Conquest of a New Freedom" 319 

speech. 6 Notwithstanding his distaste for personalities, he launched into 
such smashing attacks upon Roosevelt and Taft that next day's Indian- 
apolis Star blossomed forth with the headline "WILSON DELIVERS 
FIRST REAL CAMPAIGN TUNCH.' " 7 But all of the speech was not 
loaded with thunderbolts for the opposition. Tucked away in one of 
those calm, eloquent passages that represent Wilson at his best were 
the words that epitomize the idealism deeply embedded in his aims. 
For all available evidence indicates that it was at this great rally, in 
the Indianapolis baseball park, that Wilson first applied to his program 
the name by which historians now know it the New Freedom. 8 

Mr. Chairman and fellow citizens: 

It would move any man very deeply, I think, to face a vast 
concourse like this, and certainly it constitutes for me one of the 
supreme privileges of my life. I cannot see you ( and, inasmuch as 
I am not boastful of my beauty, I trust you cannot see me) but I 
would, if I could, convey to you some of the thoughts that are 
suggested to my mind by this vast concourse of people. It is im- 
possible that a great body of people like this has come together 
merely out of curiosity, merely out of the habit of political rally, 
merely in order to show their interest in a political campaign of 
the ordinary kind. 

I believe that there is abroad in this country a very profound 
interest in the fundamental issues of this campaign. And I do not 
wonder that that interest is profound, for those issues are the 
issues of life and of death. I do not believe that any speaker can 
exaggerate for you the critical character of the present political 
situation. We talk, and we talk in very plausible phrases, indeed, 
about returning the government of this country to the people of 
this country (I can assure the gentlemen back there, there is 
nothing to [see]. Perhaps if everybody would sit down, there would 
be less disturbance.) I esteem it a great privilege, therefore, to 
have an opportunity to discuss even, with those of you whom my 
voice can reach, the fundamental things of our present national 
interest. Because, as I think of the great Democratic party which 
has entrusted me with the responsibility of leading it, I ask myself 
what is the thing that is expected by the people of the United 
States of this great party? 

The thing that we are proposing to do, ladies and gentlemen, 

320 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

is, as I have just now said, to restore the government of the 
United States to the people, and this issue has arisen because it is 
[sadly true] that the government of the United States has not 
been under the control of the people in recent decades. We have 
found something intervening between us and the government 
which we supposed belonged to us something intangible, some- 
thing that we felt we could not grapple with, something that it 
was impossible to tear away from the spaces that lay between us 
and the government at Washington. And the thing I want to im- 
press upon your thought tonight is merely this: The Democratic 
party is the only party that is now proposing to take away the in- 
fluences which have governed the administration of this country 
and kept it out of sympathy with the great body of the people. 

I want you particularly to notice that there are only two 
parties in the present campaign, or rather, that there is only one 
party and two fragments of another party. Because it is not Dem- 
ocrats that have got over into the new party. It is almost exclu- 
sively Republicans. And what we are facing, therefore, is two 
segments of a great disrupted party. And because two segments 
are made up in this way, you know that on the one hand are 
those who call themselves the regular Republicans and those on 
the other hand who try to arrogate to themselves entirely the 
name of "Progressive." But what I want you to realize is that those 
Progressives have not drawn to themselves the old force, the old 
insurgent force of the Republican party. 

You know that for a long time we have been seeing this split 
about to occur in the Republican party. For a long time there 
have been men showing their courage here, there, and elsewhere, 
who, though they still call themselves Republicans, protested 
against the [prevalent] policy of the Republican party. These 
men for a long time were called by different names. In New 
Jersey, we called them the "New Idea" Republicans, when being 
fair to the people was a new idea among Republicans. And in 
other parts of the country they were called by other designations; 
but presently we began to call them "insurgent [Republicans]. 9 ' * 

Now, what I want to call your attention to is the fact that the 
new party, the third party, has not drawn to itself the full strength 
or even all of the principal leaders of the insurgent Republi- 

* Wilson inadvertently said "insurgent Democrats/' according to the Swem 

"Conquest of a New Freedom" 321 

cans, because this circumstance appeals to every man who thinks 
the present situation over. The very things that we are protesting 
against, the very conditions that we are trying to alter, are condi- 
tions which were created under the two leaders of the two 
branches of the present Republican party; because it is true that 
these conditions were just as much created under Mr. Roosevelt 
as they have been created under Mr. Taft. There was a growth 
during his administration of the great monopoly which we call 
trusts, upon a scale never before dreamed of, and upon a greater 
scale than has been characteristic of the administration of his 

Some time ago, during the campaign which preceded the two 
Republican political conventions, you remember that there was a 
very interesting campaign between Mr. Taft and Mr. Roosevelt. 
And everything that anybody could say against Mr. Taft, Mr. 
Roosevelt said. Everything that anybody could say against Mr. 
Roosevelt, Mr. Taft said. And the Democrats were inclined to 
believe both of them. For the truth was that Mr. Taft was merely 
the successor of Mr. Roosevelt in the prosecution of the policies 
which Mr. Taft did not alter and merely sought to confirm and 

You have, therefore, this extraordinary spectacle of two 
branches of the Republican party, both of them led by men 
equally responsible for the very conditions which we are seeking 
to alter. And the reason that some of the insurgent Republicans 
are not following Mr. Roosevelt, the reason that men like Mr. 
La Follette, for example, are not following Mr. Roosevelt, is that 
they have already tested Mr. Roosevelt when he was President 
and have found that he was not willing to cooperate with them 
along any line that would be efficient in the checking of the evils of 
which we complain. So that the leader of the very movement 
which is proposed for our emancipation is a man who has been 
tried in this very matter and not found either willing or com- 
petent to accomplish the objects that we now seek. 

In order to confirm my view of the matter you have only to 
read Mr. La Follette's autobiography and I advise every man 
who can lay his hands upon the copies of the American [Maga- 
zine] * to read that extraordinary narrative. There in detail it is 
told how Mr. La Follette and others like him carried proposals to 

* "American Review" in the Swexn Notes. 

322 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

the then President, Mr. Roosevelt, which would have made this 
campaign inconceivable; and, after he had, following his first 
generous impulse, consented to cooperate with them, he subse- 
quently drew back and refused to cooperate with them under 
what influences I do not care to conjecture, because it is not my 
duty and it would be very distasteful to me to call in question 
the motives of these gentlemen. That is not my object or my de- 
sire. My object is merely to point out the fact that the very con- 
ditions we are trying to remedy were built up under these two 
gentlemen who are the opponents of the Democratic party. 

Therefore, to my mind, it is a choice between Tweedledum and 
Tweedledee to choose between the leader of one branch of the 
Republican party and the leader of the other branch of the Re- 
publican party. Because what the whole country knows to be 
true, these gentlemen deny. The whole country knows that special 
privilege has sprung up in this land. The whole country knows, 
except these gentlemen, that it has been due chiefly to the pro- 
tective tariff. These gentlemen deny that special privilege has 
been caused by the administration of the protective tariff. They 
deny what all the rest of the country has become convinced is 
true. And after they have denied the responsibility of the tariff 
policy for special privilege, they turn about to those creators of 
special privilege, which we call the trusts, those organizations 
which have created monopoly and created the high cost of liv- 
ing in this country, and deny that the tariff created them, not 
only, but deny that it is possible to reverse the processes by which 
that monopoly was created. Because in the very platform of the 
third party (if I had thought there would be light enough to 
read it to you I would have brought it to read it ) in the very 
platform of the third party, it is not said that they intend to cor- 
rect the conditions of monopoly, but merely that they intend to 
assuage them, to render them less severe, to legalize and moder- 
ate the processes of monopoly; so that the two things we are 
fighting against, namely, excessive tariffs and almost universal 
monopoly, are the very things that these two branches of the Re- 
publican party both decline to combat. They do not so much as 
propose to lay the knife at any one of the roots of the difficulties 
under which we now labor. On the contrary, they intend to ac- 
cept these evils and stagger along under the burden of excessive 

"Conquest of a New Freedom" 323 

tariffs and intolerable monopolies as best they can through ad- 
ministrative commissions. 

I find, therefore, that it is inconceivable that the people of the 
United States, whose instinct is against special privilege, and 
whose deepest convictions are against monopoly, should turn to 
either of these parties for relief when these parties do not so much 
as pretend to offer them relief. It is this system that puts me in a 
very sober mood. It is this process that makes me feel that great 
bodies of men of this sort have come together not in order to 
"whoop it up" for a party, not in order merely to look at a candi- 
date, but to show that there is a great uprising in this country 
against intolerable conditions which only the Democratic party 
proposes to attack and to alter. 

Only the Democratic party is ready to attack and alter these 
things. Do you see any breach anywhere in the Democratic ranks? 
Don't you know that, wherever you live, men are coming as vol- 
untary recruits into the ranks of the Democrats? Don't you know 
that everywhere that you turn men are taking it for granted that 
the country must follow this party, or else wander for another 
four years in the wilderness? 

There are some noble people, there are some people of very 
high principle, who believe that they can turn in other quarters 
for relief, but they do so simply because there is one of these 
parties that blows beautiful bubbles for them to see float in the 
air of oratory; men who paint iridescent dreams of uplifted hu- 
manity; men who speak of going to the rescue of the helpless; 
men who speak of checking the oppression of those who are 
overburdened; men who paint the picture of the redemption of 
mankind, and do not admit who they are who are preaching this 
doctrine. They are men whom we have seen and tested, and their 
conversion is after the time when they possessed the power to do 
these things and refused to do them. 

Is humanity burdened now for the first time? Are men in need 
of succor now who were not in need of succor ten years ago? Are 
men now in need of protection by the government who did not 
need protection when these gentlemen exercised the tremendous 
power of the office of President? 

Is it not true that when Theodore Roosevelt was President of 
the United States the people of the United States were willing 

324 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

to follow him wherever he led? And where did he lead them? 
When did he turn in the direction of this great uplift of human- 
ity? How long was the vision delayed? How impossible was it for 
him to see it when his arm was strong, to come to the succor of 
the weak? And now he has seen it when he wishes to regain their 
confidence which, by his failure to act, he had forfeited. 

And so, I say it is not as if novices . . . had come before us. 
It is not as if men had come before us who had seen these things 
all of their lives and waited waited in vain for the opportunity 
to do them. For we know the men we are dealing with, and we 
know that there are men in this third party who are following 
that leader, notwithstanding the fact that they do not believe in 
him. They simply want a third party because they do not yet find 
themselves ready to trust the Democratic party, and yet are un- 
willing to trust the regulars among the Republican party. So that 
they are hoping that something may happen, even under a leader 
whom they do not have full confidence in, that will enable man- 
kind to find opportunity to cast its masses against the gates of 
opportunity, and at last burst them open by the mere reason of 
their gathering multitudes. They do not look for guidance. They 
merely hope for the consummation of their united power in a 
blind effort to escape something that they fear and dread. Ah, 
gentlemen, shall they go under such shepherds? Shall they go 
deliberately unshepherded? Shall mankind follow those who 
could have succored them and did not? 

Now, on the other hand, what can we say in all honesty and 
truth of the Democratic party? Why, gentlemen, the Democratic 
party was preaching these doctrines and offering you leaders to 
carry them out before these gentlemen ever admitted that any- 
thing was wrong or had any dream of the hopes of humanity. We 
didn't wait until the year 1912 to discover that the plain people 
in America had nothing to say about their government. We have 
been telling you that for half a generation and more. We have 
been warning you of the very things that have come to pass, in 
season and out of season. We have kept a straight course. We 
have never turned our faces for one moment from the faith that 
was in us, the faith in the common people of this great common- 
wealth, this great body of commonwealths, this great nation. 

And now, what is happening? Why, with renewed hope, with 
renewed confidence, with renewed ardor of conviction, under 

"Conquest of a New Freedom" 325 

leaders chosen after the freest fashion that our politics has ever 
witnessed, chosen freely at Baltimore, chosen yesterday freely for 
the first time in our recollection, in the Empire State of New 
York,* untrammeled leaders, leaders that have no obligations ex- 
cept to those who have trusted and believed in them, are now 
asked to lead the Democratic party and along those paths of con- 
viction which these other gentlemen so recently found, which 
they have found only now that they find that these are the paths, 
perhaps, to a renewal of their power. 

I would not speak, I would not feel one word of bitterness, but 
I do utter my profound protest against the idea that it is possible 
to do these things through the instrumentality of new converts. 
I say that those who are rooted and grounded in this faith, those 
who have been willing to stay out in the cold as minorities 
through half a generation, are men tried to the bottom of all that 
is in them. Their stuff is tried out in the furnace, and they are 
ready now to serve, and they are ready as an absolutely united 
team. Where will you find any disinclination to take the signals 
from the leader? Where will you find any clefts in the Democratic 
ranks? Is it not true that this solid phalanx, now with its banners 
cast to the wind, is marching with a tread that shakes the earth, 
to take possession of the government for the people of the United 
States? This is what heartens the men who are in this fight. This 
is what quickens their pulses. This is what makes everything 
worth while that has to be done in the honest conduct of a frank 

For our object, as we call you to witness throughout this cam- 
paign, is to discuss not persons but issues; we are not interested 
in persons. I tell you frankly, I am not interested even in the 
person who is the Democratic candidate for President. I am 
sorry for him. I am sorry for him because I believe he is going to 
be elected, and I believe that there will rest upon him the carry- 
ing out of these fundamental tasks. And there will be no greater 
burden in our generation than to organize the forces of liberty 
in our time, in order to make conquest of a new freedom for 
America. It will be no child's play, but I believe that it will be 

* Wilson was referring to the nomination of Sulzer as the Democratic guberna- 
torial candidate in New York. He evidently did not realize that the convention at 
Syracuse had been far from open. For an account of Charles F. Murphy's switch 
to Sulzer when he saw that Dix's cause was lost, see Freidel, Roosevelt, p. 145. 

326 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

possible because a man is not as big as his belief in himself; he 
is as big as the number of persons who believe in him; he is as 
big as the force that is back of him; he is as big as the convictions 
that move him; he is as big as the trust that is reposed in him by 
the people of the country. And with that trust, with that confi- 
dence, with that impulse of conviction and hope, I believe that 
the task is possible, and I believe that the achievement is at hand. 

And you, in Indiana, have laid the foundations for the things 
that are to come. With a great Democratic governor and two dis- 
tinguished Democratic senators, you have already got into the 
game and made it certain what Indiana is going to do on the fifth 
of November. You have made it certain that that splendid man, 
free from every influence that should not control him, whom the 
Democrats have nominated for the governorship in this state, will 
succeed the great governor who is to be Vice-President of the 
United States. I want to express my great admiration for and 
confidence in Mr. Ralston, 4 whom I wish I might greet here in 
person, but who is very much better engaged in other parts of 
the state. And I want to say this to you: There are about one 
hundred thousand Democrats, as I understand it, in Indiana [A 
voice from the audience: "More than that."] who let me finish 
the sentence there are about a hundred thousand Democrats 
in Indiana who haven't registered. Now, you remember that 
on the seventh of October, next Monday, is your last chance to 
register, and I should hate to see the great state of Indiana lag 
behind in the procession because some men had forgotten to reg- 
ister. So that my advice to you is to register so distinctly that 
your signature can be heard all over the United States, so that 
you may get ready to release the great force that is lying ready 
in this state for the service of the nation, and release it entirely 
in its magnificent strength as a whole. I say this because I under- 
stand it is a new law in Indiana, and your first experience in 
registering, and I believe that some of you rather resent the 
necessity of registering, as if somebody doubted your authen- 
ticity as a voter in Indiana, as if you hadn't been voting time out 
of mind some of you. But it is a great deal better to be a regular 
voter than a questionable voter. 

You know we passed a law in New Jersey eighteen months ago 

Samuel Moffett Ralston was the Democratic candidate for the governorship of 

,5-4- -y . - < r<r~-? 

Facsimile of a page of Charles L. Swem's shorthand notes, taken at the Indianapolis baseball 

328 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

which had a very interesting effect. It enabled us to find how 
many men long buried in the graveyards had been voting in New 
Jersey. We first had a definite and rigid registration. Then we 
sent out sample ballots to all the men who had voted in the 
preceding election, and in one city alone eighteen thousand 
sample ballots were returned because there were no such persons 
resident in the city. I dare say that a great many of them might 
have been found if the inscriptions upon the gravestones had 
been properly searched, because we had been largely governed 
in New Jersey by a "spook" population. And now we have the 
satisfaction of being governed by living men. Not all of them 
are a satisfaction to us, but most of them are. And when we tested 
them recently, most of them knew what they wanted. So that I 
simply cite this as an example so that you will be inspired to en- 
roll among the living, not be relegated to the classification of the 

For the business in hand, my fellow citizens, is very serious 
business, indeed. Any state which does not now get into the 
procession for the renewal of the rights of men will be sorry for 
it a generation from now. But if their vote is recorded on the 
right side on the fifth of November, they will sometime say to 
their children: "Yes, we took part in the re-emancipation of Amer- 
ica on the fifth of November, 1912." And I pray God that no man 
whom you trust on the fifth of November, 1912 will ever be 
coward enough to betray you to your enemies. Because, with 
this great people behind them, those who surrendered again to 
the malign influences which have been governing the administra- 
tion at Washington, would, indeed, be cowards and renegades. 

I beg that when you go to the polls on the fifth of November 
you will go with quiet minds and very sober thoughts; for you are 
then to make your choice whether you will live under legalized 
monopoly for the rest of your lives, or seek the ways of release 
which it is perfectly possible to find by seeing to it that those 
who have oppressed you open again the field of competition, so 
that new men with brains, new men with capital, new men with 
energy in their veins, may build up enterprise in America, and 
amidst a nation stimulated to every kind of new endeavor we 
shall find again the paths of liberty, the paths of peace, the paths 
of common confidence, and, therefore, the only paths that lead 
to prosperity and success. 

The Wealth of America 329 


Address Delivered at Kokomo, Indiana, October 4 

NEXT MORNING Wilson was hoarse from having attempted to make 
himself heard by all the great throng at the baseball park in Indian- 
apolis. But he was still aglow with the memories of that rally, and he 
was eager to talk about it to the newsmen and party dignitaries who 
crowded into the Federal as the campaign special sped through north- 
ern Indiana. "Last night's meeting," he told one correspondent, "was 
the biggest street political meeting I have had. It classes with the 
Boston and St. Paul receptions. I have addressed some meetings at 
state fairs and other gatherings at which I and others were side attrac- 
tions. But last night's meeting was solely political, and in that respect 
is the largest political meeting I have seen." 2 

Shortly after 9:00 A.M. Wilson left his train to address a crowd of sev- 
eral thousand people at Kokomo. Speaking from a platform in the court- 
house yard, he used Kokomo's prosperity, based mostly on home indus- 
tries, to illustrate the merits of regulated competition. 8 He praised 
Kokomo as one of those towns "of the old American pattern" that had 
resisted successfully the forces of monopoly, and in which native genius 
and vitality could grow, unhampered by artificial economic restraints. 
Nowhere is Wilson's faith in American individualism more clearly 
revealed than here. 

Mr. Chairman and fellow citizens: 

I would have to be a swivel gun to address this audience and I 
believe that I shall have to make my speech in sections, make it 
a double-back-action speech that will work in both directions. 
But I am, to speak seriously, very much honored, indeed, by the 
presence of so great a company as this. 

I have had the pleasure for a great many years of knowing 
your distinguished fellow citizen, Senator Kern, and therefore I 
am very familiar with the general character of Kokomo. I dare 
say that Senator Kern has painted Kokomo in very favorable 
colors, but I am willing to believe all that he has told me about 

330 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

I am particularly interested in this place because of what I 
have been told about the character and circumstances of its in- 
dustry. Kokomo is distinguished among manufacturing places by 
being of the old American type. There is only one great industry, 
I understand, here, which is connected with a great combination 
of factories extending over the United States. For the rest, I am 
informed that some eighty-five per cent of the industries of Ko- 
komo are locally owned and locally controlled. This is one of 
the old-fashioned American places, therefore, that has created its 
own prosperity, that has created its own industries. And, there- 
fore, you ought to be at the point of view, if anybody is in the 
United States, to understand the questions which we are now 
particularly engaged in settling. Because we are now face to face 
with this question: Shall Kokomo be typical of the United States 
or shall it be one of the singular exceptions to the development 
of the United States? Because all over this country there is being 
spread a net of combined industries which makes it practically 
impossible for any one locality to determine the character of its 
own industries or to manage its own affairs. 

One of the things that I deem most serious in our present de- 
velopment is that the old domestic competition has almost begun 
to disappear, has quietly begun to disappear. You know that the 
tariff question, my friends, is not the question that it was fifteen 
or twenty or thirty years ago. It used to be said by the advocates 
of the tariff that it didn't make any difference if there was a great 
wall separating us from the commerce of the world, because in- 
side America there was so enormous an [area] * of absolutely 
free trade that competition in America kept prices down to a nor- 
mal level; that as long, in other words, as Kokomo could compete 
with other places in the United States, and other places compete 
with Kokomo, then there would be only that kind of advantage 
gained which is gained by superior brains, superior economy, the 
better kind of plant, the better kind of administration all of 
those things that have made America supreme, [and] kept the 
prices in America down, because American genius was competing 
with American genius. I must say that so long as that was true, 
there was a great deal to be said in favor of the protective tariff. 

But the point now is that the protective tariff has been used by 
men who were gaining the advantage of the drawing together to 

* Mrs. Fuller's transcript has "array." 

The Wealth of America 331 

destroy domestic competition, to make it impossible that new 
men should come into the field, to make it impossible that local 
capital, as in this important center, should come into competition 
with capital in other localities, so that there should be made all 
through the United States a [lacework],* a network, of connected 
factories which in their connection could dominate the market of 
the United States and establish their own prices. Whereas, there- 
fore, it was once arguable that the high tariff did not create the 
high cost of living, it is now no longer arguable that these com- 
binations do [not] not by reason of the tariff, it may be, but by 
reason of the combinations settle what prices shall be paid. 
They settle how much the product shall be. They settle [inciden- 
tally] t what shall be the market for labor, and every one of the 
biggest combinations of this country has shown itself hostile to 
organized labor, because they know that they must be supreme 
in controlling the industries of the country or else they could not 
control the product and could not control the prices. 

I call you to witness, therefore, that the danger is that the 
shadow, the [blighting] \ shadow of these great combinations, 
will fall upon the industries of Kokomo. I am using Kokomo as 
an illustration merely, because there are a great many other com- 
munities in the United States in the same case with Kokomo, but 
I am using it merely because you will realize what I am talking 

You know that the conditions of industry in Kokomo have been 
normal. And I can tell you that the conditions of industry in 
other parts of the United States have been abnormal in recent 
years; and that American industry is not free, American enter- 
prise is not free. The little man with only a little capital is finding 
it harder and harder to come into the field, more and more impos- 
sible to compete with the big fellow. Why? That is the point I 
want to call your attention to, because the laws of this country 
do not prevent the strong from crushing the weak. That is the 
reason. And because the strong have crushed the weak, only the 
strong dominate the industrial and the economic life of this coun- 

I have been told by a great many men that the idea that I have, 

Mrs. Fuller's transcript has "meshwork?" 
t Mrs. Fuller's transcript has "unfortunately." 
} Mrs. Fuller s transcript has "blinding." 

332 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

that by restoring competition you can restore industrial freedom 
in this country, is based upon a failure to observe the actual 
happenings of the last decades in this country; because, they say, 
it is just free competition that has made it possible for the big to 
crush the little. I say it isn't free competition; it is illicit competi- 
tion. It is the competition of the kind that law ought to stop 
and can stop that has crushed the little man. For you know how 
the little man is crushed. He gets a local market. The big con- 
cerns come in and undersell him in his local market, and that is 
the only market he has; if he can't make a profit of it, he is killed. 
But they can make a profit all through the rest of the Union while 
they are underselling him in a locality and recouping themselves 
by what they earn elsewhere. And so their competitors can be 
put out of business, one by one, wherever they dare to show their 
heads. And inasmuch as they rise up only one by one, these big 
concerns can see to it that new competitors do not come into the 

That kind of thing can be prevented by law, and I stand, as the 
party behind me stands, for regulated competition of a sort that 
will put the weak upon an equality with the strong the thing 
that law was intended for. Because it is all very well to talk about 
a government for the people. These gentlemen are very willing 
to set up a government for the people provided they control 
the government and run it. They are eagerly volunteering to take 
care of us, but I say that what I believe in is government by the 
people and not for them. And these gentlemen are not willing 
that there should be government by the people, because they 
know that they are not conducting their great industries upon the 
principles of economy and efficiency. 

For this very interesting reason, you don't lose much by under- 
selling the little fellow in one market. But, if there is a big fellow 
with too big a market for you to undersell it, then you have to 
buy him out. And after you have bought him out, and found that 
he didn't sell out for less than three or four times what his busi- 
ness was worth, then you have got to pay the interest on the 
enormous price you have paid him for his business. You have got 
to tax the whole people of the United States in order to pay the 
interest on what you borrowed to do it, or on the stocks and 
bonds that you have issued to do it with. Therefore the trusts, 
the big combinations, are the most wasteful, the most <tm>eco- 

The Wealth of America 333 

nomical, and after they pass a certain size, the most inefficient 
way of conducting the industries of this country. If I thought 
they were efficient, I might be tempted to consider some of the 
suggestions made by other people. I say other people because I 
don't know whom I am talking about exactly when I am talking 
about my opponents. They are so variegated. There are such an 
extraordinary variety of them and they are grouped in such a 
whimsical fashion that I don't know them apart. 

The Democratic party is going to be trusted, let me tell you, 
by the voters of this country on the fifth of November, and it is 
going to redeem the trust by performance. And for my part, in 
all that I may have to do in public affairs in the United States, I 
am going to think of towns like Kokomo in Indiana, towns of the 
old American pattern. And my thought is going to be bent upon 
the multiplication of towns of that kind and the prevention of 
the concentration of industry in this country in such a shape and 
upon such a scale that towns that own themselves will be im- 
possible. You know what the vitality of America consists of. Your 
vitality does not lie in New York. Your vitality does not lie in Chi- 
cago. Your vitality will not be sapped by anything that happens 
in St. Louis. Your vitality lies in your own brains, in your own 
energies, in your own love of enterprise, in the richness of these 
incomparable fields that stretch beyond the borders of the town, 
in the wealth which you extract from nature and originate for 
yourself by the inventive genius characteristic of all free Ameri- 
can communities. 

That is the wealth of America, and if America discourages the 
locality she will kill the nation. A nation is as large as her locali- 
ties; she is not as large as her capitals. The amount of money in 
Wall Street is no indication of the energy of the American people. 
That indication can be found only in the fertility in the American 
mind and the fertility of American industry everywhere in the 
United States. If America were not rich and fertile, there would 
be no money in Wall Street. If America were not vital and able 
to take care of herself, the great money exchanges would break 

And I believe that I am preaching the very cause of some of 
the gentlemen whom I am opposing when I preach the cause of 

334 fart 6. Second Western Tour 

free industry in the United States, for I think they are slowly 
[girdling] the tree that bears the inestimable fruits of our life, and 
that if they are permitted to [girdle] it entirely nature will take her 
revenge and the tree will die. 

I do not believe that America is great because she has great 
men in her now. I believe that America is great in proportion as 
she can make sure of having great men in the next generation. 
I believe that she is rich in her unborn children; rich, that is to 
say, if those unborn children see the sun in a day of opportunity, 
see the sun when they are free to exercise their energies as they 
will. If they open their eyes in a land where there is no special 
privilege, then they will come into a new era of American great- 
ness and American liberty; in a country where they must be em- 
ployees or nothing, if they open their eyes in a land of merely 
regulated monopoly, where all the conditions of industry are 
determined by small groups of men, then they will see an America 
such as the founders of this great Republic would have wept to 
think of. 

They would never have set up these institutions to be made 
such use of as these gentlemen purport to make of them, for 
neither the regular nor the irregular Republican party even pro- 
poses to do away with monopoly in the United States. The only 
thing that either of them proposes is to accept monopoly and to 
regulate it, to consent to live under it, and then try to see if they 
can't keep monopoly from running over us and destroying us. 
If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of this 
government as it is sitting now; and I do not expect to see mo- 
nopoly restrain itself. If there are men in this country big enough 
to own the government of the United States, they are going to 
own it. For what we have to determine now is whether we are 
big enough, whether we are men enough, whether we are free 
enough to take possession again of the government which is our 
own. We haven't had free access to it. Our minds have not 
touched it by way of guidance in half a generation, and now 
we are engaged in entering into the recovery of what was made 
with our own hands and acts only by our delegated authority. 

At Plymouth, Indiana 335 

October 4 

AN HOUR later Wilson spoke at Peru, where a crowd had assembled 
on a vacant lot near the station. Many of his audience being workers, 
he declared, as he had previously done at Fall River, Massachusetts, 
that the right of labor to organize should be recognized formally 
through legislation. And he labeled as "humbug" the Republican argu- 
ment that workers benefited from the protective tariff. 1 One part of his 
speech was his answer to a workingman at Kokomo who in rejecting 
a Wilson button had said, "What do I want with that button? I'm a 
workingman." In his speech at Peru Wilson replied thus: "Now, things 
have come to a pretty pass when a workingman spurns the common 
people. It went straight to my heart to have a man say what I heard 
this man say. Because, when I hear a man styling himself a working- 
man, I wonder what I am. I do not want to belong to an insignificant 
minority. The United States consists of workingmen, and a party that 
cannot get the confidence of workingmen ought not to style itself a 
national party at all." Then he went on to warn, as he would again in 
Chicago six days later, of the great danger to the country in the failure 
to satisfy the fundamental needs of the people: a l believe that this 
man spoke the feeling which is making some men break away from 
all of the older parties, for the growth of Socialism is the growth of 
protest more than anything else." 2 

October 4 

IN THE EARLY afternoon Wilson spoke at Plymouth, after being 
escorted there from the train by a troop of cavalry from Culver Mili- 
tary Academy. 1 As at Kokomo, he praised the people of Indiana for 
possessing traits so characteristically American. He discussed the tariff 
and the trusts, emphasizing the injustices imposed on the farmers by 
governmental policies that favored a privileged few. And he declared 

336 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

that the heads of the great business combinations were all the more 
dangerous because they were sincere. 

For, ladies and gentlemen, while we ought not ... to permit 
passion to enter into our thoughts or into our hearts in this great 
matter, while we ought not to allow ourselves to be governed by 
resentment or any kind of evil feeling, we ought nevertheless to 
realize the seriousness of our situation. That seriousness consists 
not in the malevolence of men who preside over these great com- 
binations, but in their genius and in their honest thinking. These 
men believe that the prosperity of the United States is not safe 
unless it is in their keeping. And, therefore, while if they were dis- 
honest you might put them out of business by law, since most of 
them are honest we can put them out of business only by making 
it impossible for them to realize their genuine convictions. I am 
not afraid of a thief. I am not afraid of a rascal. I am afraid of a 
strong man who is wrong, and whose wrong thinking can be im- 
pressed upon other persons by his own force of character and force 
of speech. If God had only made all the men who are wrong also 
rascals, we could put them out of business very easily, because 
they would give themselves away sooner or later; but God has 
made our tasks heavier than that has made some good men think 
wrong. We can't fight them because they are bad. And we must 
overcome them by the force, the single, the splendid, the perma- 
nent force of better reason. 

In closing, Wilson said that the Democratic party, certain to win in 
November, would have the high privilege of recalling America to her 
ancient ideals: 

You know what is going to happen. And then after it has hap- 
pened ... do you realize what a responsibility that puts upon 
the Democratic party? The Democratic party has got to make good 
or go out of business for the rest of time. And if it doesn't make 
good, I, for one, hope it will go out of business for the rest of time. 
Parties and public men are now going to be tried out in the fire, 
and if they don't come out of the fire with their mettle improved, 
then they will be thrown on the scrap heap; and there won't be 
any historian born in our midst who will stoop to do them honor. 
They will be gibed at for the rest of time, hung as high as Haman 
to be gibed at by the free voters whom they ventured to deceive. 
So that when a man looks forward to the tasks of the Democratic 
party and thinks it possible that he will have any part of it, he 
prays God that He will strengthen his heart and clear his vision for 
the perfect service of a great people.* 

Armour Packing Plant 337 

October 4 

LATE IN the afternoon Wilson made his fourth speech of the day at 
Gary, the model town of the United States Steel Corporation. The 
steelworkers cheered him when he denounced monopoly and pre- 
dicted the Steel Corporation would go the way of all monopolies if it 
continued its existing policies. Furthermore, he charged that the heads 
of the Steel Corporation were supporting Roosevelt and said this was 
because the third party stood for the preservation of monopoly. 1 

The crowd also cheered when he complimented the steelworkers for 
campaigning to put a Democrat in the House of Representatives from 
their district. "Now, that is a wise thing," he said approvingly, "for a 
Democrat understands American industries better than a Republican 
does. American industry has always thriven, when it has thriven at all, 
on freedom. It has never thriven on monopoly, and there is no freedom 
in American industry now. For whatever you may say, it is a better 
thing to shift for yourselves than to be taken care of by a great com- 
bination of capital. I would rather starve as a free man than to be fed 
at the mere caprice of those who are organizing American industry." 2 

Delivered at Omaha, Nebraska, October S 

WILSON STOPPED briefly in Chicago during the early evening, but 
long enough to confer for two hours with Joseph E. Davies, in charge 
of the western headquarters of the Democratic Campaign Committee. 2 
Then he boarded his train for the overnight trip to Omaha a journey 
that almost cost him his life. At Tipton, Iowa, a freight train side- 
swiped the Federal at the rear, damaging the steel sides of the car and 
tearing away part of the brass railing on the rear platform. Fortunately, 
no one was hurt; and the Democratic nominee slept on, unaware of his 
narrow escape. 8 

338 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

At 9:10 A.M. he arrived at Omaha and found an eager crowd waiting 
for him. In fact, because of his visit two Democratic factions that had 
been at war with each other since 1910 one led by James C. Dahlman, 
the "cowboy mayor" of Omaha, and the other by Charles W. Bryan, 
brother of William Jennings Bryan had agreed to a reconciliation. 
These two rivals, along with Senator Gilbert M. Hitchcock, joined in 
welcoming Wilson at the station. 4 

The seven hours Wilson spent in Omaha were a test of his endur- 
ance. Within a few minutes of his arrival he was at the city hall receiv- 
ing an official welcome. Then he made two short talks: one to the 
Nebraska Woman's Democratic League at the Paxton Hotel; the other 
to the students of Creighton University. At noon he visited the Cudahy 
Packing House in South Omaha and spoke to the employees for about 
fifteen minutes. A few minutes later he visited the Armour Packing 
House and made the following talk to a group of workingmen. 5 

My friends: 

I am very obliged to you for coming out this hour, or rather 
for giving up your dinners completely this hour to hear my 
speech. What the mayor has just said is a recital of nothing, in 
my mind, extraordinary; because it ought to be regarded as ex- 
traordinary, in my opinion, if a party promises certain things and 
doesn't do them. Now, the Democratic party in the state of New 
Jersey promised to do the things that the mayor has mentioned, 
and as I was saying just a few yards from here, a few minutes 
ago, I wouldn't have come and looked you fellows in the face if I 
hadn't done them; because it was mere political honesty and it 
was mere right to do the things that he has mentioned. 

Now, you fellows work hard, and I happen to know how hard 
you do work. I dare say you often think and wonder if there is 
anybody who thinks about you in between elections. You know 
there are plenty of men who think about you at election. Then 
there are plenty of men who come around and are very much 
interested in you so long as the question is whether they are going 
to get your votes or not; but you must wonder in between elec- 
tions what happened to those men and why the things are not 
done which they talked about when they came to see you at elec- 
tion time. 

I, for my part, want to express this hope: If the Democratic 

Armour Packing Plant 339 

party breaks its promises to the rank and file of the people of 
this country, I hope it will never be trusted again. Because parties 
are not intended merely to put men in office; parties are not in- 
tended merely to keep their own organizations and maintain their 
own supremacy; parties are meant to do the services which they 
pretend to do when they put forward their platforms. Their plat- 
forms ought to be sacred engagements. 

Now you know it happens that there is one part of the Demo- 
cratic platform which, so far as the Democrats are concerned, has 
already been fulfilled. The Democratic platform promises a De- 
partment of Labor at Washington whereby the government of 
the United States will especially study for the purpose of espe- 
cially taking care of the interests of the working people of this 
land. The Democratic House of Representatives has already 
passed the bill and it is very likely that the Democrats in the 
Senate, along with the progressive Republicans of the Senate, 
will pass that bill in a day or so, and that the next President 
of the United States will have associated with him, in his Cabi- 
net, a Minister of Labor. 

Now that ought to mean this, it ought to mean that we should 
begin right now to apply the knowledge, much of which we al- 
ready possess, with regard to what the workingmen of this coun- 
try need. The question, for example, of short hours isn't merely 
a question of how much you want to work; it is a question of how 
much you ought to work, a question of how much you ought to 
work in the interest of the country at large. Because, if the coun- 
try depresses the energy of its workingmen, if it overtaxes them, 
if it does those things which decrease their energy and interfere 
with their hope and their elasticity in life, why it has done some- 
thing to injure the nation as a whole. 

The way men work is, of course, vitally interesting to them, 
but it is interesting to the whole country if they work under 
conditions which impair their health. That is just that much loss 
to the country. If they work under conditions that take the heart 
out of them, then they are taking the heart out of the country 
itself. For I would like to know whom this country consists of. 
The great majority of people in this country do daily work with 
their hands from morning to night under conditions of all sorts. 
When you speak about the United States and leave out the work- 

340 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

ing people of the United States, I would like also to know if the 
legislation of the United States is maintained for the minority 
that are left after you have subtracted the workingmen. 

For my part, questions of the interest of the workingmen are 
questions of the interest of the nation. I don't feel that the gov- 
ernment of the United States ought to be kind to you, ought to 
condescend to be gracious and liberal with you. Why, the idea of 
the government being liberal to you when you own the govern- 
ment, if you would only take possession of it! The whole process 
of our politics now is reversed. Some men who constitute very 
small groups control the government of the United States. I do 
not believe they have intended to control it dishonestly. I believe 
that they have tried to study the interest of the country, but they 
have looked at the country from the point of view of their own 
special occupations and their own special interests, just as any 
other human being would have done. And the object of this cam- 
paign is to bring the government back to the people themselves 
and find how we can connect the government with the people 
themselves; because we know that that is where the strength 
comes from, that is where all the great things in America have 
come from. 

The greatness of America is that nobody can predict from 
what family, from what region, from what race, even, the leaders 
of the country are going to come. The great leaders of this coun- 
try have not come very often from the established, "successful" 
families of America, because the trouble with the "successful" 
families is that sons of the "successful" families don't humble 
themselves and do very much. 

I remember speaking at a school not long ago where I under- 
stood most of the young men were the sons of very rich people, 
and I told them that I looked upon them with a great deal of 
pity, because, I said: "Most of you fellows are doomed to ob- 
scurity. You will never do anything. You will never try to do 
anything, and with all the great tasks of this country waiting to 
be done, [probably] * you are the very men who [will decline] t 
to do them. Some man who is "up against it,' some man who has 
come out of the crowd, somebody who has had . . . laid on his 

* Undeciphered in Mrs. Fuller's transcript. 

f The Fuller transcript has "are declining" instead of "will decline." Cf. Wilson, 
New Freedom, p. 84, 

At the Omaha Auditorium 341 

back the whip of necessity, will emerge out of the crowd, will 
show that he understands the crowd, understands the interests 
of the nation, united and not separated, and that having come 
through the multitude, he knows what the pulse and the thought 
of the multitude are and he will stand up and lead us." 

It has happened again and again and again, and that is the 
greatness of America that you can't predict out of what families, 
what regions, what sorts of people the men who rule and govern 
America are going to come. If we can't predict where our rulers 
are coming from, we had better make sure that the whole stuff 
of the race is sound from one end to the other, and that the great 
body of the people are taken care of according to the laws of 
health, particularly the laws of hope. So that what I ask you men 
to do is not to vote for me, for that is not the principal question, 
but to think about these things, to make up your mind in which 
direction, by the election of which set of men, you are likely to 
get the interests of everybody best understood and best served; 
and then, having thought it out, go and vote the way you think 
on the fifth of November, because if you will vote the way you 
think, then you will vote like an American and I am willing, for 
one, to take the verdict. 

October 5 

THERE WAS lunch for Wilson at the Commercial Club but along with 
it came the obligation to make another speech. 1 He spoke, and then his 
hosts whisked him away to address a huge crowd, numbering between 
seven and eight thousand persons, at the Omaha Auditorium. Amid 
the cheers that followed Senator Hitchcock's introduction, a group of 
Princeton alumni in the audience let loose some yells for "Woodrow" 
that drew a laughing recognition from the candidate. 2 

The main theme of Wilson's address, which because of his strained 
voice he began with some difficulty, was that the domination of the 
government of the United States by a few men had created a situation 
which left unused a great many vital forces of the nation such as 

342 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

intelligent businessmen, workers, lawyers, and philanthropists so that 
the people of the country, on the whole, had no real control over the 
affairs of their own government. He indicted the regular Republican 
party as thinking in terms of a government by trustees rather than in 
terms of popular government; on the other hand, he condemned the 
Bull Moose party on the ground that it gave lip service to "govern- 
ment by the people" while offering no method for attaining it. Again he 
attacked the protective tariff, ridiculing as hypocrites those who 
claimed that it benefited the laborers. He again stated that private 
monopoly was "indefensible and intolerable" for a country where every 
man should be free. "There isn't any process," he said, "by which 
monopoly can be naturalized in America." In his opinion, the "real 
hope" of the campaign was "to summon the unused forces of politics" 
to join together in a general settlement of the difficult problems. To 
accomplish that end, he declared, the Democratic party was the logical 
instrument. 8 

October 5 

LEAVING OMAHA shortly after 4:00 P.M., Wilson arrived at Lincoln 
at 5:45. The stage was set for his meeting the first since the Balti- 
more Convention with William Jennings Bryan, who lived nearby 
at his farm, "Fairview." It took little effort for Bryan to draw a crowd 
in Nebraska, but this meeting of two great Democratic chieftains 
one from the East and the other from the West in the midst of a 
presidential campaign was enough to draw spectators from all of the 
South Platte country. Thousands of them were waiting in and around 
the Burlington station when the battered Federal rolled to a stop. 1 

Bryan, just back from a speaking tour through Kansas, was hastening 
down the crowded platform as his brother Charles and Wilson emerged 
from the Federal. The crowd became suddenly quiet, for a moment, as 
the leaders clasped hands. "Hello, Mr. Bryan," came from one. "Hello, 
Mr. Wilson," answered the other. As if these two orators had reached 
the heights of eloquence, the crowd burst into cheers, making further 
conversation impossible. 8 

With difficulty Bryan led his distinguished guest through the press 
of humanity to a car waiting to cany them at the head of a parade to 

At the Lindell Hotel Lincoln 343 

the Lindell Hotel, nine blocks away. At first Wilson sat rather calmly 
between the two Bryan brothers. Eventually in his excitement at re- 
ceiving such an ovation he stood up in the moving car and bowed to 
the cheering crowds that lined the streets. 8 

October S 

AT 6:30 P.M. Wilson and Bryan entered the banquet hall of the Lindell 
Hotel, where four hundred Democratic workers had assembled at a 
dinner in honor of their standard-bearer. 1 Quite naturally there were 
words of praise for the Great Commoner in the speech that Wilson 
delivered on this occasion. "We, gentlemen," he said, "are free to serve 
the people of the United States, and in my opinion it was Mr. Bryan 
that set us free." 

But the most interesting part of Governor Wilson's speech was the 
description of his initiation into national politics. "A great many peo- 
ple," he remarked, 

have regarded me as a very remote and academic person. They 
don't know how much human nature there has been in me to give 
me trouble all my life. And I have been perfectly aware that at 
first the crowds that gathered to hear me gathered in a critical 
temper to see this novel specimen, to see this newcomer into the 
national politics, to see what the animal looked like and what 
his paces were and what his tones and voice and attitude of mind 
were; and I am glad now to see the attitude changing. They have 
apparently adopted me into the human family. And I like to see 
the enthusiasm of the plainest sort of men as they approach me, 
for I consider that the deepest compliment that I can be paid. 
And when they call me "kid" and 'Woody" and all the rest of it, 
I know that I am all right. 2 

Then came Bryan's turn. He paid a tribute to Wilson for the "masterly 
manner" in which he had led the Democratic forces, and then asked 
the Nebraska Democrats who had shown such loyalty in the past "to 
do twice as much for Wilson" as they had ever done for him. "On 
election night," he declared, "[Mr. Wilson] and his wife will listen for 
the first news from the election, and when the wires bring the returns 

344 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

that assure him of his election, he will be happy, his wife will joy with 
him, and they will deserve that happiness. But out at Tairview' there 
will be a man and his wife who will be as happy as he and his wife." 8 

Delivered at the Auditorium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 5 

MEANWHILE people were crowding into the Lincoln Auditorium, 
where Wilson was scheduled to address a rally at 8:00 P.M. A full hour 
before that time all the seats were taken and hundreds of spectators 
were standing when the nominee arrived accompanied by Bryan and 
National Committeeman P. L. Hall. A thundering applause shook the 
auditorium when the Great Commoner introduced him. 2 The exuber- 
ance of the ovation and the candidate's strained voice probably account 
for the fact that the efficient Swem missed the first few paragraphs of 
Wilson's speech. The address, covering a variety of topics (with an 
emphasis on monopoly), was more inspirational than intellectual; but 
it set forth the issues of the campaign in strong, simple language, being 
particularly effective in describing the fear that chilled the small busi- 
nessmen who encountered the paralyzing effects of monopoly. 8 

Mr. Bryan, ladies and gentlemen: 

I shall have to ask you to be a little patient, if you cannot at 
first distinctly hear what I say, because I left the best tones of 
my voice in the state of Indiana, where I foolishly attempted, 
night before last, to make myself audible to thirty-five thousand 
people. But if you will only give this patient voice of mine time, 
it will come up, I believe, to the occasion. 

I want to say that I have been profoundly touched by the ex- 
traordinary reception accorded me by the generous-hearted peo- 
ple of Nebraska. I suppose that you would naturally imagine 
that a reception such as you have given me today would fill me 
with a sense of elation with a sense of enjoyment with the joy 
of a man who is riding upon the waves of popularity; but I want 
to assure you that the feeling predominant in my mind is one 
of serious responsibility. 

"The Only Way to Dispel Fear" 345 

It is no light matter to be received by a free people as you 
have received me, because you would not have received me in 
this way unless you believed in me, in the sincerity of my pur- 
pose, and in the rectitude of my intentions. And what this recep- 
tion means to me is that I am put under bonds to live up to the 
standard which you yourselves have created for me. 

Moreover, in coming to Lincoln, I am coming, as it were, to 
the Mecca of progressive democracy. I know that the standards 
to which you will hold me in Nebraska are the highest standards 
to which a Democrat can be held. The thought that must come 
into every man's mind who has any responsibility in public affairs 
now is that there are tremendous questions to be settled, and 
that the way to settle them is to make use of the incomparable 
force of great bodies of men and women like this; and yet I know 
that the force of men and women, such as this before me, can- 
not be made use of except by a free government, and the govern- 
ment of the United States during the last few decades has not 
been free. 

The parties of the United States have, in recent years, not al- 
ways been free. There have been forces at work forces [with] 
which I have come into personal contact fighting in such com- 
monwealths as New Jersey, for example, that had a grip also 
fastened upon the Republican party. 

These forces have again and again tried to assert themselves 
in the national councils of the Democratic party, and I am proud 
to come to Lincoln and render my tribute of respect and admira- 
tion to the great champion of liberty who set the Democratic 
party free at Baltimore. Mr. Bryan was not the champion of any 
candidate. Mr. Bryan, with the tact which ought to characterize 
a great leader, did not attempt to dictate what the choice of the 
Baltimore convention should be, but he did attempt and did 
splendidly succeed in preventing the control of that convention 
by those interests which are inimical to the rights of the people 
of the United States. 

If I, as the result of the freedom of that convention, was the 
man of their choice for leader, my responsibility is all the greater 
to live up to the standards to which he brought that great body 
of representative Democrats. I am proud to stand shoulder to 
shoulder with him. 

Now, ladies and gentlemen, what is there to do? ["Vote for 

346 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

Wilson," yelled a man well up in front and pandemonium broke 
loose. . . .] That I admit, ladies and gentlemen, is the proper 
first preliminary, but that is only a preliminary, because Woodrow 
Wilson, if elected, will only be as strong as the support that men 
and women like you give him. And therefore it is merely a pre- 
liminary to choose a President when we have got to mass the 
forces behind that President who know what the country needs 
and, thinking clearly, purpose irresistibly. 

It is therefore very important in this campaign that we should 
distinctly understand what we want to do, because you cannot 
choose the men to do it unless you know what there is to do. 
And I am afraid that some of my fellow citizens are inclined to 
choose gentlemen to do new things who are only in the habit of 
doing old things. You can't teach an old dog new tricks, and the 
Democratic dogs never knew the old tricks. But it is important 
that we should realize this very clearly because we wish to assist 
in the process of conversion which is now so hopefully in progress 
in the Republican party. I don't believe in emotional conversions. 
I believe in rational conversions; and I want to convince, if I 
may, some of the Republicans present, assuming that any Re- 
publicans have ventured into this place, that the only course they 
can pursue in this new age, if they entertain with us the new 
purposes, is to turn in a new direction for the instrumentalities 
by which those purposes are to be accomplished. 

For I want, in the first place, to call attention to the fact that 
there is now only one national party, that there was another but 
it is now so divided into many varieties that there are no single 
terms in which to describe it. I am going to speak of the third 
party as Republicans because practically all of them were Re- 
publicans. I am going to speak of the regulars backing Mr. Taft 
as Republicans because they still admit it. The third party has 
not recruited itself from the ranks of the Democrats, and I need 
not add that the other party has not hoped to recruit itself from 
that direction. It is a very serious thing to do when you choose a 
leader; because a leader is of no use to you unless he can translate 
a program into action. Therefore, the program that I believe in 
is the man himself. 

Now, we are not going to discuss tonight the sympathies, the 
susceptibilities, the enthusiasms of the several men who are seek- 

* From this point on the text is based on the Swem Notes. 

"The Only Way to Dispel Fear" 347 

ing your suffrages for President of the United States. I am per- 
fectly ready to believe and will admit for the sake of argument 
that Mr. Roosevelt's heart and soul are committed to that part of 
the third-term program which contains those hopeful plans of 
human betterment in which so many noble men and women in 
this country have enlisted their sympathies and their energies. 

I am not here to criticize anybody who has been drawn to that 
party because of that part of the program. But I want to call 
their attention to the fact that you can't have a program that 
you can carry out through a resisting and unsuitable medium, 
and that the thing that it is absolutely necessary for every candid 
voter to remember with regard to the third party is that the 
means of government, the means of getting the things that this 
country needs, are exactly the same on that side that they are 
on the side where Mr. Taft seeks the suffrages of the country. 
Because, while the party of Mr. Taft says in its platform that 
monopoly ought not to exist, the section of the Republican party 
that is following Mr. Roosevelt subscribes to the statement that 
monopoly ought to be adopted by the law, and by regulation 
should be the governing force in the development of American 
industry. So that all that the third party asks of the monopolists 
is that they should cooperate, and the only hope of a program of 
human uplift from that party is that the monopolists will co- 

Have you got any hopes in that direction? Don't you know 
what the Republican party has provided you with up to this time? 
I have taken special pains to clear from my own mind, at any rate, 
the Republican conception of government. That conception is 
that the people cannot organize their opinion in such fashion as 
to control their own government. And that, therefore, it is neces- 
sary constantly to consult those whose material interests in the 
development of the country are larger than anybody else's, and 
then through the hands of these trustees administer the govern- 
ment, not through the people but for the people. I am perfectly 
ready to believe knowing some of the men concerned as I do, 
I must believe that a great many men engaged in the promo- 
tion of monopoly in this country really wish to see the United 
States prosperous, and really desire to adopt the means that will 
make it prosperous. But they are not willing to let anybody else 
yield the means of prosperity except themselves. I wonder at 

348 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

the frame of mind which makes them believe that they are the 
trustees of political discretion in this country, but I am willing 
to admit for the sake of argument that that is their candid and 
deliberate judgment. 

What we have to fight, therefore, is not a body of deliberate 
enemies, it may be, but a body of mistaken men. And what I want 
to point out to you is that Mr. Roosevelt subscribes to the judg- 
ment of these mistaken men as to the influences which should 
govern America. That is the serious part of it. Mr. Roosevelt's 
judgment has been captured. Mr. Roosevelt's idea of the way 
in which the industries of this country ought to be controlled 
has been captured. He does not propose to set us free. He pro- 
poses to use monopoly in order to make us happy. And the project 
is one of those projects which all history cries out against as 

The Democratic platform is the only platform which says that 
private monopoly is indefensible and intolerable, and any man 
who does not subscribe to that opinion does not know the way 
to set the people of the United States free, and to serve humanity. 
All that Mr. Roosevelt is asking you to do is to elect him president 
of the board of trustees. I do not care how wise, how patriotic the 
trustees may be, I have never heard of any group of men in whose 
hands I am willing to put the liberties of America in trust. And, 
therefore, I am not in this campaign engaged in doubting any 
man's motives, I merely want to point out that these gentlemen 
are not proposing the methods of liberty but are proposing the 
methods of control. A control amongst a free people is intolerable. 

I have been very much interested the last day or two in having 
described to me the industries of some of these smaller western 
cities. I know in Indiana, for example, town after town was 
pointed out to me that still has the American characteristic, in 
which there are factories upon factories owned by men who live 
in the place independent enterprises still unabsorbed by the 
great economic combinations which have become so threaten- 
ingly inhuman in our economic organization and it seems to 
me that these are outposts and symbols of the older and freer 
America. And after I had traveled through that series of towns 
and met the sturdy people that live in them, I entered in the 
city of Gary, which is a little way outside of Chicago, and real- 
ized that I had come from the older America into the newer 

"The Only Way to Dispel Fear" 349 

America. But this was a town owned and built by a single mo- 
nopolistic corporation. And I wondered which kind of America 
the people of America, if they could see this picture as I saw it, 
would choose? 

Which do you want? Do you want to live in a town patronized 
by some great combination of capitalists who pick it out as a 
suitable place to plant their industry and draw you into their 
employment? Or do you want to see your sons and your brothers 
and your husbands build up business for themselves under the 
protection of laws which make it impossible for any giant, how- 
ever big, to crush them and put them out of business, so that 
they can match their wits here in the midst of a free country 
with any captain of industry or merchant of finance to be found 
anywhere in the world, and put every man who now assumes to 
control and promote monopoly upon his mettle to beat them at 
initiative, at economy, at the organization of business, and the 
cheap production of salable goods? Which do you want? 

Why, gentlemen, America is never going to submit to mo- 
nopoly. America is never going to choose thralldom instead of 
freedom. Look what there is to decide! There is the tariff ques- 
tion. Can the tariff question be decided in favor of the people of 
the United States so long as the monopolies are the chief coun- 
selors at Washington? There is the great currency question. You 
know how difficult it is to move your crops every year. And I 
tremble, I must frankly tell you, to think of the bumper crops 
that are now coming from our fields, because they are going to 
need enormous bodies of cash to move them. You have got to 
get that cash by calling in your loans and embarrassing people 
in every center of commercial activity, because there isn't cash 
enough under our inelastic currency to lend itself to this instru- 
mentality. And are we going to settle the currency question so 
long as the government of the United States listens only to the 
counsel of those who command the banking situation in the 
United States? You can't solve the tariff, you can't solve the 
currency question under the domination which is proposed by 
one branch of the Republican party and tolerated by the other. 

Then there is the great question of conservation. What is our 
fear about conservation? The hands that will be stretched out to 
monopolize our forests, to pre-empt the use of our great power- 
producing streams, the hands that will be stretched into the 

350 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

bowels of the earth to take possession of the great riches that 
lie hidden in Alaska and elsewhere in the incomparable domain 
of the United States are the hands of monopoly. And is this thing 
merely to be regulated? Is this thing to be legalized? Are these 
men to continue to stand at the elbow of government and tell 
us how we are to save ourselves from the very things that we 
fear? You can't settle the question of conservation while mo- 
nopoly exists if monopoly is close to the ears of those who govern. 
And the question of conservation is a great deal bigger than the 
question of saving our forests and our mineral resources and our 
waters. It is as big as the life and happiness and strength and elas- 
ticity and hope of our people. 

The government of the United States has now to look out upon 
her people and see what they need, what should be done for them. 
Why, gentlemen, there are tasks waiting the government of the 
United States which it cannot perform until every pulse of that 
government beats in unison with the needs and the desires of the 
whole body of the American people. Shall we not give the people 
access of sympathy, access of counsel, access of authority to the 
instrumentalities which are to be indispensable to their lives? 

When I think of the great things to be accomplished and then 
think of the danger that there is that the people of the United 
States will not choose free instruments to accomplish them, then 
I tremble to think of the verdict that may be rendered on the 
fifth of November. But when you look around when going 
through America, as I have recently been going through it, 
your heart rises again. Why, two years ago when I was running 
for governor in New Jersey I used to come away from public 
meetings with a certain burden on my heart, because I [knew] * 
I was not mistaken in feeling that I had seen in the faces and 
felt in the atmosphere of the great meetings that I addressed a 
certain sense of foreboding and anxiety as a people who were 
anxious about their future. 

But I haven't seen anything of that kind in the year 1912. The 
people of the United States now know what they intend to do. 
They intend to take charge of their own affairs again and they 
see the way to do it. Great outpourings like this are not in com- 
pliment to an individual; they are in demonstration of a purpose. 
And all I have to say for the Democratic candidate for the Presi- 

The Swem Notes have "know" but the context demands "knew." 

"The Only Way to Dispel Feaf 351 

dency is that I pray God he may be shown the way not to disap- 
point the expectations of such people. 

Only you can show him the way. You can't do it by proxy. 
You must determine the interests of your own life and then find 
spokesmen for those interests who will speak them as fairly as 
men have learned how to speak in Nebraska. The great emancipa- 
tion which has been wrought for you by the fight for progres- 
sive democracy which has gone on from splendid stage to splen- 
did stage in this state is that it has raised up for you men who 
fearlessly speak the truth. And that is not true of all parts of the 

Why, there are parts of the country where I am considered 
brave if I speak in words what every man and woman in the audi- 
ence knows to be true. Now, I have never known what it was to 
exercise courage when I knew that the stars in all their courses 
were fighting my way. Do you suppose a man needs be cour- 
ageous to speak the truth, to attach his puny force to the great 
voice of the country which is truth itself? A man would be a 
coward that wouldn't speak the truth. A man would be a fool 
who didn't see that the only puissance in human affairs was the 
irresistible force of truth itself, and men are weak in proportion 
as they are mistaken; they are weak in proportion as their judg- 
ments are misled; they are weak in proportion as they do not see 
the practical terms into which truth can be translated. But they 
are not courageous when they merely tell the truth, because, if 
they lie because they were afraid, do you suppose they would 
have very comfortable moments when they withdraw into the 
privacy of their own family? 

I wonder how some men sleep of nights because they deceive 
themselves and deceive others all day long, and then actually go 
home and go to sleep. I don't know what their dreams can be. 
And they speak the things that they know are not true because 
they are afraid of something. 

Fear is abroad in free America. There are men who dare not 
undertake certain business enterprises because they know that 
they would be crushed. There are men who dare not speak cer- 
tain opinions because they know that they would be boycotted 
in influential circles upon which their credit and their advance- 
ment in their business depends. 

Do you suppose that it is singular that men should rise up and 

352 fart 6. Second Western Tour 

fight through half a generation as your own champions have 
fought in order to dispel that fear? The only way to dispel fear 
is to bring the things that you are afraid of out in the open and 
challenge them there to meet the great moral force of the people 
of the United States. So that if these gentlemen will come out 
and avow their purposes, they will destroy all possibility of 
realizing those purposes. 

One of the fine things of our time is that the whole game is 
disclosed. We now know the processes of monopoly, and we 
therefore know the processes of law by which monopoly can be 
destroyed. They have shown their hands and we know how to 
stay their use of illegitimate power. 

Will we do them any damage? I tell you frankly that if I 
thought that any considerable portion of the enterprising men 
of America would be injured by the policies that I am interested 
in, I would hesitate. But I am clear in the conviction that to set 
the people of the United States free is to set the big enterprises 
free along with the little ones, because I have never heard of 
any business conditions which were dependent upon the sub- 
servience of great business, of enterprising businessmen. If you 
have to be subservient, you aren't even making the rich fel- 
lows as rich as they might be, because you are not adding your 
originative force to the extraordinary production of wealth in 

America is as rich, not as Wall Street, not as the financial cen- 
ters in Chicago and St. Louis and San Francisco; [but] it is as 
rich as the people that make its centers rich. And if those people 
hesitate in their enterprise, cowering in the face of power, hesi- 
tate to originate designs of their own, then the very foundations 
which make these places abound in wealth are dried up at the 
source; so that by setting the little men of America free you are 
not damaging the giants. You are merely making them behave 
like human beings. 

Now, a giant ought to have more human nature in him than 
a pigmy, and we want to reread the Decalogue to these big men 
who may not have heard it in some time. And by moralizing, 
we are going to set them free and their business free. 

It may be that certain things will happen, for monopoly in this 
country is carrying a body of water such as no body of men ought 
to be asked to carry. And when by regulated competition that 

"The Only Way to Dispel Fear" 353 

is to say, fair competition, competition that fights fair they are 
put upon their mettle, they will have to economize in their proc- 
esses of business and they can't economize unless they drop that 
water. I do not know how to squeeze the water out but they 
will get rid of it, if you will put them on their mettle. They will 
have to get rid of it, or those of us who don't carry tanks will 
outrun them in the race. Put all the business of America upon 
the footing of economy and efficiency, and then let the race be 
to the strongest and the efficient. 

So that our program is a program of prosperity, only it is a 
program of prosperity that is a little more pervasive [than] the 
present program and pervasive prosperity is more fruitful than 
that which is narrow and restrictive. 

I congratulate the monopolists of the United States that they 
are not going to have their way, because, quite contrary to [their 
own] * theory, the people of the United States are wiser than 
they are. The people of the United States understand the United 
States as these gentlemen do not, and if they will only give us 
leave, we will not only make them rich, but we will make them 
happy. Because then [their] t consciences will have less to carry. 
They are waking up to this fact, ladies and gentlemen. The 
[small] $ businessmen of this country are not deluded, and not 
all of the big businessmen of this country are deluded. Some men 
who have been led into wrong practices, who have been led into 
the practices of monopoly, because that seemed to be the drift 
and inevitable method of supremacy of their times, are just as 
ready as we are to turn about and adopt the processes of free- 
dom. Because American hearts beat in a lot of those men just as 
they beat under our jackets. They will be as glad to be free as 
we have been to set them free. And then the splendid force which 
has lent itself to the things that hurt us will lend itself to the 
things that benefit us. 

We are coming to a common understanding and only a com- 
mon understanding is the tolerable basis of a free government. 
I congratulate you, therefore, ladies and gentlemen, that you are 

* Mrs. Fuller's transcript has "the old theory" but the text in the Lincoln 
Star has "their own." See also Wilson, New Freedom, p. 263. 

t Mrs. Fuller's transcript has "our" but the Swem Notes have "their." 
| The context calls for "small." For a similar passage which has "small men" see 
Wilson, New Freedom, p. 261. 

354 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

now coming to that point of fruition of which you have dreamed 
and for which you have planned in Nebraska for more than half 
a generation.* 

What we propose, therefore, in this program of freedom is a 
program of general advantage. Almost every monopoly that has 
resisted extinction has resisted the real interests of its own stock- 
holders. And it has been very, very slow business convincing those 
who were responsible for the business of the country that that 
was the fact. After the fourth of March next, therefore, we are 
going to get together; we are going to stop serving special in- 
terests, and we are going to stop setting one interest up against 
another interest. We are not going to champion one set of people 
against another set of people, but we are going to see what com- 
mon counsel can accomplish for the happiness and redemption 
of America. 

October 6 

THAT NIGHT Wilson was Bryan's guest at Fairview. The two men 
sat up late discussing campaign strategy, particularly with regard to 
the mountain states, but they put politics aside next morning to attend 
the Westminster Presbyterian Church, in Lincoln, where Bryan was 
an elder. 1 

After the services Wilson went back to Fairview and continued his 
chats with Bryan until train time, in the middle of the afternoon. Nat- 
urally there were other visitors friends and relatives of the Bryans 
and political leaders, as well as newsmen and photographers eager to 
pick up any "inside" tips or human-interest stories. 2 

One photographer wanted a picture of Wilson and Bryan shaking 

* In the passage omitted below Wilson first told about his experience in dealing 
with the Public Service Corporation of New Jersey and then related his story about 
the remark of an Oregon paper that there were two governments in the state: one 
at Salem and the other under Mr. ITRen's hat. For a passage almost identical 
to the one about the Public Service Corporation, see Wilson, New Freedom, pp. 
283-5. For the story about Mr. U'Ren's hat, see above, pp. 256-7. 

Pueblo, Colorado 355 

hands, as at the station the day before, but drew a firm "That is too 
artificial" from Wilson. He did get a photograph of the two men stand- 
ing between the two metallic Korean lions that guarded the front 
steps of Fairview, with Bryan's small grandson between them. 8 

Wilson was glad to shift the attentions of the special correspondents 
to Bryan, to whom he presented them by saying, "These men have 
been my companions throughout the campaign." He introduced each 
by his name. 

"I only had four with me when I ran for office last," Bryan remarked, 
"and you seem to have a baker's dozen." 

"Apparently, it takes more to watch me," said the governor with a 
laugh. 4 

Bryan talked at some length with the reporters, telling them, among 
other things, that Wilson was "a first-rate campaigner, who adapts him- 
self admirably to his crowds." 6 


October 7 

WHEN WILSON awoke next morning, he could look out and see the 
snowy summit of Pike's Peak in the distance. He passed through Colo- 
rado Springs, to which he would return later in the day, and began a 
hard day of campaigning with a speech at the Opera House in Pueblo. 2 
In renewing his attack upon the Roosevelt plan to regulate monopoly, 
he made a remark similar to one he had made at Gary three days be- 
fore that "the United States Steel Corporation was behind the third- 
party program with regard to the regulation of the trusts." 8 This charge 
made headlines in next day's newspapers and brought an angry de- 
mand from Roosevelt that the Democratic nominee prove his statement 
or retract it.* 

* "As far as I know," replied Roosevelt, "the statement has not the slightest 
foundation in fact. Mr. Wilson has no business to make such a statement unless he 
has the proof, and if he has any proof I demand that he make it public immediately. 
If he has not, let him retract his statement as the only manly and honorable thing 
to do. 

"As far as I know, the only big man connected with either the Steel Corporation 
or the Harvester Trust who is supporting me is Mr. Perkins. As far as I know, all 
the others in both the Steel Corporation and the Harvester Trust are supporting 
either Mr. Taft or Mr. Wilson." Roosevelt's statement as quoted in the New York 
Times, Oct 8. 

356 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

The only principle involved in this campaign is: What are we 
going to do with our economic life? In order to do something 
new with it you have to have a new attitude with regard to the 
tariff, and neither of these sections of the Republican party has 
a new attitude with regard to the tariff. In order to make any 
change in the life of the United States you have got to have a 
new attitude towards trusts and monopolies, and neither branch 
of the Republican party has changed its attitude towards mo- 
nopoly. If you don't change the fundamental attitude, then you 
cannot go [on] the journey of liberty. If you don't face the sun, 
the sun will not shine in your eyes. You have got to face away 
from the ideals of monopoly or else you are not bound for the 
land of freedom. 

I have had this image in my mind all morning that the human- 
istic, the humanitarian part of the third party's program is a sort 
of chorus which Mr. Roosevelt is trying to teach the trusts to 
sing because the fundamental part of that program is that the 
trusts shall be recognized as a permanent part of our economic 
order, and that the government shall try to make those trusts 
the ministers, the instruments, through which the life of this 
country shall be developed on its industrial side. 

Now, everything that touches our lives sooner or later goes back 
to the industries which sustain our lives. I have often reflected 
that there was a very human order in the petitions in our Lord's 
Prayer. For we pray first of all, "Give us this day our daily 
bread/' knowing that it is useless to pray for spiritual graces on 
an empty stomach, and that, therefore, the physical part of our 
life the industrial part of it, the amount of wages we get, the 
kind of clothes we wear, the kind of food we can afford to buy 
is fundamental to everything else. 

Those who administer our physical life, therefore, administer 
our spiritual life, and if we are going to carry out the fine pur- 
poses of that great chorus which die third party is learning to sing 
almost with religious fervor, then we have got to find out through 
whom these purposes of humanity are going to be realized. It is 
a mere enterprise so far as that part is concerned of making the 
monopolies philanthropic, and I don't want to live under a 
philanthropy. I don't want to be taken care of by the government, 

Pueblo, Colorado 357 

directly or by any instruments through which the government 
is acting. I want to have right and justice prevail. So far as I am 
concerned give me the right and justice and I'll undertake to 
take care of myself. 

If you enthrone the trusts as the means of the development of 
this country under the supervision of the government of the 
United States, then I shall pray the old Spanish proverb, "God 
save me from my friends and I will take care of my enemies." 
Because I want to be saved from these friends. Observe that I 
said "these friends," for I am ready to admit that a great many 
men who believe that the development of industry in this coun- 
try through monopolies is inevitable intend so far as possible to 
be the friends of the people. But I say to them, "Though you 
profess to be my friends, you are undertaking the way of friend- 
ship which renders it impossible that you should do me the 
fundamental service that I demand namely, that I should be 
free and have the same opportunities that everybody else has." 

For I understand it to be the fundamental proposition of Ameri- 
can liberty that we do not desire special privilege, because we 
know special privilege will never comprehend the general wel- 
fare, and will therefore never serve it. It is a fundamental spiritual 
difference between the Democrats and both branches of the Re- 
publican party. They are so indoctrinated with the idea that only 
the big-business interests of this country understand the United 
States and can make it prosperous that they cannot divorce their 
thoughts from that [obsession].* And so they have put the gov- 
ernment into the hands of trustees, and Mr. Taft and Mr. Roose- 
velt are the [rival] t candidates to be president of the board of 
trustees. They are candidates to serve the people, but they are 
not candidates to serve them directly. They are candidates to 
serve them indirectly through the enormous forces already set 
up, which are so great that there is almost an open question 
whether the government of the United States with the people 
back of it is strong enough to overcome and rule them. 

We are going to decide on the fifth of November not whether 

* The Swem Notes have "concession" but the context seems to call for "obses- 
sion." Cf. Wilson, New Freedom, p. 200. 

t Mrs. Fuller's transcript has "rightful" but the context seems to demand "ri- 
val," which is very similar to it in Gregg shorthand. Gf . Wilson, New Freedom, 
p. 200. 

858 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

we will overcome and govern them but whether we will attempt 
to overcome and govern them; for neither branch of the Republi- 
can party proposes to set private monopoly aside, and unless we 
can set private monopoly aside, the enterprise of carrying the 
government back to the people is impossible. The Democratic 
platform says that private monopoly is in every case indefensible 
and intolerable, and I subscribe literally to that statement. I shall 
stand in any position that I may occupy, shall stand with all the 
strength that is within me, against every form of monopoly and 
private control. And I call upon the people of this country to 
beware of making a choice which will perpetuate private control, 
and I call upon them particularly in the interest of those fine 
sentences of the chorus that Mr. Roosevelt is trying to teach the 
trusts to sing. I believe in that chorus it stirs my blood. [But 
I do not believe it can be sung under such auspices.] * 

I believe that the time has come when the governments of 
this country, both state and national, have to set the stage and 
set it very minutely and carefully for the doing of justice to 
men in every relationship of life. It has been free and easy with 
us so far; it has been [go as you please; it has been] t every man 
look out for himself; and we have assumed that in this year when 
every man is dealing, not with another man, in most cases, but 
with a body of men whom he has not seen, that the relationships 
between capital and labor are the same that they always were, 
and that the relationships of property are the same that they al- 
ways were. 

Let me call your attention to one process of monopoly in this 
country. Certain monopolies in this country have gained control 
of the raw material, chiefly in the mines, out of which a great 
body of manufactures is carried on, and they now discriminate 
in the sale of that raw material between those who are rivals of 
the monopoly and those who submit to the monopoly. And we 
have got to come to a time, ladies and gentlemen, when we shall 
say to every man who owns the essentials of life that he has got 
to part with those essentials by sale to every citizen of the United 
States upon the same terms, or else we shall tie up the resources 
of this country under private control in such fashion as will make 
our independent development absolutely impossible. 

This is not in the Swem Notes but appears in the New Yorfc Times, Oct. 8. 
t These few words were undedphered by Mrs. Fuller. 

Pueblo, Colorado 359 

Then there is another way that monopoly acts. The monopoly 
that deals in the cruder products which are to be manufactured 
into the more elaborate manufactures will not sell those crude 
products except upon the terms of monopoly that is to say, 
the people that deal with them will buy exclusively from them. 
And so again you have the lines of development tied up and the 
connections of development knotted and fastened so that you 
can't wrench them apart. 

Not only so, but most of the big trusts in this country have 
been the professed, the avowed, the active opponents and ene- 
mies of organized labor. And they only have been the successful 
opponents of organized labor. 

And why has labor organized? Simply because capital or- 
ganized. And the law of this country does not yet recognize that 
labor has the same right to organize that capital has. Individuals 
cannot deal with an organization. Organizations must deal with 
organizations if there is to be any equality in the terms of deal- 
ing. And when I say that monopoly should be broken up in this 
country, I esteem myself a champion of the laborers of this coun- 
try because I know that monopoly is stiffening and closing and 
commanding the market of labor, just as much as it is stiffening 
and closing the markets for the products which the monopolies 
produce. Everything is falling into the lines which these gentle- 
men plan, for if you reduce the number of competitors, you of 
course eliminate the competition; and there is no competition 
for labor after you have eliminated this its rival. And, therefore, 
the prices, wages, can be fixed by the same sort of monopolistic 
agreements by which the prices of production are fixed, and I 
don't find the prices of production bearing any particular rela- 
tionship to the wages paid. 

Not long ago Mr. Taft was, perhaps I may permit myself to 
say, unfair enough to say that if the Democratic party came into 
power there would be a long series of rainy years for the working 
people of this country. Why, gentlemen, has it not begun to rain 
already for some of them? I could pick out places. The whole 
country now sees as in an imaginative vision those poor people 
in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Has the rain not begun to come 
down for them? They can't live on their wages, and they are 
living under the most highly protected industry in the United 
States. They are living under that infamous Schedule K; and if 

360 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

the crags of Schedule K cannot keep off the wet, nothing can. 
And the laborers in unprotected industry after industry in this 
country are receiving higher wages than the men in the pro- 
tected industries, which is not an argument for destroying the 
tariff, for the Democratic party doesn't stand for that; but it is 
an argument for displaying humbug and for absolutely refusing 
to be imposed upon by those who, because they enjoy favors 
from the government and could hand them on to the working- 
men, claim that they do and they do not. So that something 
stands between the workingman and the advantage he might get 
from the protective tariff. Now, that something, neither branch 
of the Republican party proposes to remove. That something is 
monopolistic control of the industries of this country monopolies 
which have been built up under the government a shadow, a 
protection of the special privileges, rather than the general sys- 
tem of the protective tariff of the United States. These gentlemen 
who profess to be the friends of labor certainly ride their friends 
to death. They are friends of labor in the same sense that I am 
a friend of the old mule that I used to own. He was a good 
servant and would always go under the whip; but the whip was 
mine, and he had no vote. Now, suppose some privileged power 
greater than myself should have argued with me about how I 
should use the whip that would have been regulated monopoly. 
And so it seems to me that every workingman, every thought- 
ful citizen in the United States, should realize that on the fifth 
of November next he is going to make a fundamental choice: 
life under monopoly or not; trust your monopolies to be good 
to you and benevolent, or see to it that you are good to yourselves; 
take charge of your own government or hand it over to a per- 
manent board of trustees. Some of these trustees are fine fellows, 
some of them are very honest men, but I never heard of a body 
of men who could act successfully and wisely as trustees for a 
free people. It isn't a question of character; it is a question 
of the fundamental character of government. You are going to 
choose the character of your government on the fifth of Novem- 
ber; and there is no escape from the alternative. It is easy to 
make the choice now. Four years from now, I tremble at the 
difficulties that may lie in the path of the people and, therefore, 
I am here to commend the Democratic party to you because it 

Pueblo, Colorado 361 

alone stands for the fundamental truths of American free life. 

It is a very interesting circumstance. Evidence of what I am 
about to say comes to me by way of corroboration every day in 
forms that I cannot question. It is a very interesting circumstance 
that the [United States] * Steel Corporation is behind the third- 
party program with regard to the regulation of the trusts. Now, 
I don't say that in order to prejudice you, because I am not here 
to indict anybody. I am perfectly ready to admit that the officers 
of the United States Steel Corporation may think that is the 
best thing for the United States. That is not my point. My point 
is that these gentlemen have grown up in the atmosphere of the 
things they themselves have created, and that the law of the 
United States so far has attempted to destroy the things that 
they have created, and that they now want a government which 
will perpetuate the things they have created. You, therefore, have 
to choose now a government such as the United States Steel 
Corporation, that is to say, such as the men who promote trusts 
and monopolies think the United States ought to have, or a 
government such as we used to have before these gentlemen 
succeeded in setting up private monopoly. You can tell the char- 
acter of a thing by the thought of the men who are behind it, 
not necessarily by the character of the men who are behind it. 

As I was coming out West, ladies and gentlemen, a friend of 
mine who was a westerner said: "Governor, you have been too 
polite. We western people like punch in our speeches. Now, give 
it to the other fellows. Don't spare them." But I tell you frankly 
I am not interested in hitting other people. Why, every man 
concerned in this great contest is a pigmy as compared with the 
issues. What difference does Mr. Taft's record make to me? What 
difference does Mr. Roosevelt's career so far make to me? What 
difference does my own character, what do my own attainments 
whatever they may be make in the presence of these tremen- 
dous issues of life? 

I tell you truly I can't afford to think about Mr. Taft or Mr. 
Roosevelt when I am thinking about the fortunes of the people 
of the United States. What is punch in a speech compared with 
that immortal vision that the American people once had of lib- 
erty and equality? What are men as compared with the stand- 

* According to the Swem Notes, Wilson inadvertently said "American/ 9 

362 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

ards of righteousness? What is this generation when measured by 
the standards that will or will not perpetuate the great polity 
set up in America? 

The only question about these gentlemen and myself is this: 
After this contest is over, when quiet historians sit down to write 
the chronicles of the United States, then they will say: "Who 
were these men who presided over this choice? Who was it that 
did not see which way America was facing? Who was it that 
did not utter the warning? Who was it that took the fatal re- 
sponsibility to say: "America has been mistaken. We must follow 
the old beaten tracks of power. We must give up our hopes of 
liberty and break our pledges to mankind?" 


October 7 

RETRACING forty-odd miles covered during his morning ride, Wilson 
delivered his next speech at the Temple Theater in Colorado Springs. 
Before an audience that included a large number of school children 
who had been dismissed from their classrooms for this occasion, Wilson 
again assailed both the Republican and Progressive parties for being so 
closely identified with the great business combinations by an intricate 
system of interlocking directorates. As evidence he cited the recent 
revelations of the Clapp committee, the Senate committee investigating 
presidential campaign contributions. And he repeated his charge that 
the business giants, like the United States Steel Corporation, were 
heartily in favor of Roosevelt's plan to regulate monopoly because it 
offered a new way for them to dominate the federal government. 1 "I 
was saying to some of my newspaper companions a little while ago," 
he added, "that if I were a cartoonist I would draw a picture of the 
biggest monopolies of the United States, drawn up in line, and in front 
Mr. Roosevelt trying to lead them in a hallelujah chorus." William 
Ireland, cartoonist of the Columbus Evening Dispatch, quickly adopted 
Wilson's suggestion and produced a successful cartoon. (See p. 363.) 
Wilson also made a good-natured acknowledgement of his recent 

Temple Theater, Colorado Springs 



U WMH. *WUT * ClMOf, COH- 

If I wtra cvtoentot I wouM draw picture of the Mnert monopolies of the United State* dnwn 
p hi UM and In front Mr RooMvdt tryini to load them in a hallelujah chorum." Woodro* Wtbtm. 

From Cartoons (Nov. 1912) 

election to Roosevelt's Ananias Club, by telling one of his favorite 

I am reminded of something that happened when I was a young 
man at the University of Virginia. You know what always happens 
when a man can't answer your arguments. What has happened to 
me when I have uttered an argument that could not be answered. 
I have been called academic, which I regard as a compliment to 
the universities. 

364 Part 6. Second Western Tow 

When I was a boy there were two factions in the Democratic 
party in Virginia which were having a pretty hot contest with one 
another. In one of the counties one of these factions had prac- 
tically no partisans at all, and there was a man named Massey, one 
of the chief spokesmen of the other party, who was a very re- 
doubtable debater. He was a slim, insignificant-looking man, but 
he had a very important manner, and when he began to talk it was 
very difficult to say anything on the other side. 

He sent a challenge up to this county I have alluded to, and 
challenged them to debate with him. They didn't quite like the 
idea, but they were too proud to decline, so they put up their 
best debater, a great, big, good-natured man whom everybody 
called Tom, and it was arranged that Massey should have the first 
hour. When the occasion came Massey began to get under the 
skins of the people he was talking to, and he hadn't more than 
half got through his speech when it was evident that he was 
getting the crowd with him; whereupon one of Tom's partisans in 
the back of the room, who saw how things were going, yelled out: 

"Tom, call him a liar, and make it a fight" 8 

"Apparently," Wilson added rather dryly after the laughter of his 
audience had died away, "the thing has reached that stage in this 
campaign." * 


October 7 

IMMEDIATELY AFTER his speech at the Temple Theater, Wilson ap- 
peared before another crowd at the Opera House. The main part of his 
address dealt with conservation a question closely connected with 
the vital economic interests of Colorado and other western states. His 
principal point was that monopoly had been one of the great obstacles 
to the formulation of a rational federal conservation policy that would 
encourage legitimate and intelligent use of the vast natural resources 
of the West. 

Opera House, Colorado Springs 365 

Your presiding officer has referred to one of the most difficult of 
these public questions I mean the question of conservation and 
the relations of the national policy of conservation to local de- 
velopment. I realize, ladies and gentlemen, even though I have 
not had personal contact with the administration of these grave 
matters, that there has been a comparative failure on the part of 
the government of the United States always to adjust its conser- 
vation policy to the needs of local development. And I believe 
that a little conference, a little frankness, a little care to see that 
everybody's needs are understood, will lead to a very different 
policy on the part of the authorities at Washington, and that we 
can safely promise that if the Democratic party is in control the 
conservation policy to which we are all deeply committed will 
not be so administered as to interfere with local needs and de- 
velopment. That ought to go without saying; that ought to go 
as a matter of course. But that is a mere matter of common sense. 

But <what> I want to call your attention to is that you can't 
have a conservation policy in which you yourselves are to have 
any voice whatever unless the present character of the govern- 
ment of the United States is changed. You know what has been 
the embarrassment about conservation. You know that the federal 
government has not dared to release its hold because not bona 
fide settlers, not men bent upon the legitimate development of 
great states, but men bent upon getting in their own exclusive 
control great mineral, forest, and water resources have stood at 
the head of the government and attempted to dictate its policy. 
And the government of the United States has not dared release 
its somewhat rigid policy because of the fear that these forces 
would be stronger than the forces of individual communities and 
of the public interest. What we are now in dread of is that this 
control will be made permanent. Why is it that Alaska has lagged 
in her development? Why is it that there are great mountains of 
coal piled up in the shipping places on the coast of Alaska which 
the government at Washington won't permit to be sold? It is be- 
cause the government isn't sure that it has followed all the in- 
tricate threads of intrigue by which small bodies of men have 
tried to get absolute exclusive control of the coal fields of Alaska. 
The government stands itself suspicious of the forces by which 

366 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

it is surrounded. And whatever other direction you turn in, you 
find the same situation. 

Turn in the direction of the great tariff question. There are in- 
terests, for example, in Colorado which will have to be safe- 
guarded, but who is going to safeguard them? The men who are 
establishing monopoly or the free choice of the people of Colo- 
rado? Do you want these things absolutely controlling your lives 
subordinated to that control, or do you want a real local voice in 
the development of your own resources and the use of your own 
soil and the variation of your own industry? So long as the govern- 
ment of the United States is chiefly influenced by the promoters 
of monopoly, you dare not stir in your development for fear of 
falling in their hands. 

Why, all this western country has written over the annals of 
monopolistic control! What are you going to do on the fifth of 
November? Relieve yourselves of the incubus, make yourselves 
free to settle conservation questions and tariff questions and cur- 
rency questions and questions of foreign commerce? Then to 
which of the competing candidates for your confidence are you 
going to turn? 

Delivered at Denver, Colorado, October 7 

IN THE Denver Auditorium the candidate faced a crowd of fifteen 
thousand waiting eagerly for a rousing campaign speech. 2 He realized 
what his audience wanted and expected, for he easily comprehended 
the cravings of these fervent Democrats who had been forced to con- 
tent themselves with the husks of defeat for four consecutive presi- 
dential campaigns. He launched an attack upon the system of monopoly 
which he said had spread its web around the governmental and eco- 
nomic activities of the United States, and he presented a more specific 
bill of particulars than ever before against the monopolistic practices 
which he felt should be outlawed. But he did not scourge his political 
opponents with the harsh criticism that a large portion of the audience 

Denver Auditorium 367 

wanted. In fact, as he continued, his speech became less political and 
more idealistic. 

Samuel Huston Thompson, Jr., 4 who listened to him intently, just as 
he had hung upon his words almost twenty years before in the class- 
rooms of Princeton, later explained in an article why Wilson did not 
deliver the "blood-raw attack" the listening Democrats wanted: "Some- 
how the thought that he [Wilson] was on the brow of the Continental 
Divide had caught his will in its grasp and set in motion a train of 
ideas that would not let him descend to political discussion. That night 
he was lifted up to the very heights of idealism for America and its 
place of service in the world." 8 After his speech, Thompson recalls, 
Wilson lamented that he had failed. 4 But it was surely the sense of 
failure that sometimes seizes the artist when he feels he has not given 
his public what it wants. 

In any event, the Democratic candidate's mood of despondency was 
soon dispelled. As his train pulled out of the station a tall ranchman, 
overwhelmed with admiration, grasped the governor's hand and groped 
for the words with which to bless him. He got the right tone but his 
tongue twisted and instead he said, with all the overwhelming benev- 
olence of his soul, "Goodbyl Governor Wilson, Goodby! G d you!" 
And so Wilson left Denver laughing. 8 

Ladies and gentlemen: 

What shall a man say in the presence of so splendid a welcome 
as you have given me? I need not tell you that it moves me very 
deeply indeed to have this evidence of your friendship and of 
your welcome. And I am the more moved because it seems to me 
that a great concourse like this is, as it were, a picture of the 
nation which we are attempting to serve. It, therefore, fills me 
with very deep emotion, as I think of the opportunity of address- 
ing to this vast assemblage some of the matters that are in my 
mind with regard to the future of the United States. 

As I approached your beautiful city today I had placed in my 
hands a copy of the Rocky Mountain News of this morning, bid- 
ding me a welcome that I felt I was not worthy to receive, and 
yet suggesting in the course of the editorial some of the thoughts 
which I wish most sincerely to present to you tonight. That edi- 

Thompson was president of the Rocky Mountain Wilson Club of Denver. He 
had graduated from Princeton in 1897, afterwards establishing himself as an at- 
torney in Colorado. He had gone to meet Wilson at Lincoln and had been with 
him during the tour through Colorado. See Newark Evening News, Oct. 10. 

368 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

tonal said that the time had come in the United States when the 
classes were arrayed against the masses. 4 And I asked myself, 
"Can it be true that we have come to a point of critical conflict?" 
Is it not rather true that the classes and the masses alike have 
learned in the United States to understand one another, to vie 
with one another in the service of a common cause? 

Who are the classes in the United States? I do not believe that 
it can be justly said that there are any distinctly marked social 
classes in the United States though there are, I am sorry to say, 
very distinctly marked economic classes in the United States. 

There is a social class in the United States but [it does] not 
count politically. It is that class which has been said to devote 
itself to expense regardless of pleasure; the class which I venture 
to say is negligible in weighing the forces in the field of politics; 
the class that merely spends and in turn is spent for nothing that 
is valuable in life. 

But there has been a process by which classes have been 
created in the United States, and that process the present year of 
politics is intended to check. I want, if I may have the indulgence 
of your attention for a little while, to describe to you what seems 
to me the choice that we have to make in the United States in 
this critical year. 

Some small bodies of men in the United States have in recent 
years developed a power which has threatened to control the eco- 
nomic and political fortunes of our whole great free population. 
And the processes by which that power has been created we our- 
selves have witnessed. We know that in the lobbies of Congress 
there have assembled men who have tried through the Ways and 
Means Committee of the House of Representatives and the 
Finance Committee of the Senate to obtain for themselves special 
and permanent privileges which would distinguish them in power 

* The passage Wilson had reference to was: "The affairs of mankind are in a 
transition period, and the new duties presented by new occasions are as vital and 
tremendous as those which the three great champions of democracy found at hand. 
The 'irrepressible conflict' of masses against classes is now on, and upon the issue 
hangs the fate of our free institutions. Old lies have lost their potency, tradition no 
longer commands fetich worship, our political system is in process of fundamental 
reconstruction, and not a hamlet but seethes with the discontent that can only be 
stilled by the equalization of justice and of opportunity." From editorial in the 
Denver Rocky Mountain 'News, Oct. 7. 

Denver Auditorium 369 

and influence from all the other men striving for mastery in 

We know that there is one name which we have learned to 
associate with this process by which mastery was [sought ] * to 
be created. I don't mention that name with any desire to bring a 
single individual into undeserved disrepute, but as we spoke of 
Cannonism in the House, we have spoken of Aldrichism in the 
Senate. And the gentleman who was until recently the senior 
Senator of Rhode Island was known to be the spokesman and 
the representative of those men who were seeking special privi- 
lege through the legislation of the United States. By the special 
privileges which were there built up it became possible for men 
by great sometimes secret combinations of capital to establish 
a domination over the economic development of the United 
States which we sum up when we speak of the trusts, when we 
speak of the monopolies which have been established amongst 

Now, what is very much in my heart as I face a great assem- 
blage of people like this is the question: Is there any political 
process which can set this great people free from the thralldom 
of monopoly? For if we cannot escape monopoly, we cannot set 
up a free government in the United States. I want to ask the gen- 
tlemen in this great western country who are interested in its de- 
velopment to ask themselves what has stood in the way of that 

You know that one of the critical questions in which you are 
interested is the question of conservation. You know that you are 
fretful and dissatisfied because great forest areas, great water 
courses, great mineral resources are held back from use by the 
government of the United States, and that your local develop- 
ment seems to be checked by the stiff policy of restriction ob- 
served by the government at Washington. 

But why does the government at Washington preserve this 
policy so stiff and rigid and inflexible? Because there are special 
interests which are stretching out their hands to monopolize these 
great resources which the people of this region ought to enjoy and 
ought to use. And the government of the United States dares not 

* The Swem Notes have "shown," but "sought," which appears in the text in the 
Denver Rocky Mountain News, seems preferable. 

370 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

release its grasp for fear these special powers that have been 
built up by the special legislation at Washington should become 
the masters of your development and of the nation's develop- 
ment itself. 

You are looking forward to a time when commerce shall change 
its course. You know, ladies and gentlemen, that just so soon as 
that great ship canal is opened through the Isthmus of Panama 
the blood in our veins will run in other directions. The great 
courses of commerce will be altered. Great ports will spring up 
which have hitherto had only little rivulets of commerce reach- 
ing their doors; new lines of railway will be necessary; a [thrill 
of] * movement will go through this western country such as it 
has never felt yet; and it will find itself near to some markets 
which are the markets of the world, and which have seemed only 
too remote from it. 

But the government of the United States is at this moment 
afraid that the whole benefit of that great change will come only 
to those who already control the transportation facilities of this 
continent. So that in every direction you turn, whether it be the 
question of the tariff, or the question of trade, or the question 
of conservation, there is some power that we fear. Shall a great 
people consent to be fearful lest there are powers springing up in 
its own midst which it cannot control? We are not free to move in 
the settlement of any one of these questions until we have settled 
this preliminary fundamental question: Is the government of the 
United States free or is it not? 

At the present the government of the United States is not free. 
It is dominated by those men who have set up an economic con- 
trol in this country. Some of the people in this country do not 
stand single and separate. They stand united in their force to 
resist all change. And this united force is all but too great for the 
government itself. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, you have to 
choose on the fifth of November next what the future develop- 
ment of the United States is going to be. 

There are two proposals before you. I am not going to discuss 
the proposals of die regular branch of the Republican party, be- 
cause I don't discover that it has any. But I do discover that there 
is a very frank and very explicit and very interesting proposal on 

* Mrs. Fuller's transcript has "tremendous," but ED reads this "thrill of," which 
also appears in the text in the Denver Rocky Mountain News. 

Denver Auditorium 371 

the part of the third party. [Applause.] (Wait until you under- 
stand it and then vote for it. ) 

You will observe that this is our problem all the world knows 
that this is our problem first of ail, to change the tariff laws of 
the United States so that no special privilege will find cover un- 
derneath it at any point. Neither the regular Republicans nor the 
irregular Republicans propose any fundamental change what- 
ever in the tariff. All the world knows that springing out of the 
tariff question is the great question of the trusts which is the 
question of established monopoly. And the only proposal with 
regard to that comes from the third party, which proposes to 
make monopoly permanent and legal and to regulate it in our 
interest [Laughter and applause and cries of "No."] to regulate 
it in our interest. If you say no, you haven't read the platform 

The platform states that their object is to accept the existing 
conditions and set up a commission which shall have without 
too much restriction of the law the right of "constructive regula- 
tion," that is to say discretionary regulation, over the exercise of 
these monopolistic powers. And all the newspapers that are sup- 
porting that program explicitly profess that purpose. Therefore, 
we have in this third party not even a proposal to change the 
existing partnerships between big business and the government 
of the United States. 

On the other hand stands the proposal of the Democratic party 
to do the thing which, if it had been done when the Democratic 
party first proposed it, would have prevented the creation of mo- 
nopolies, namely, the regulation of competition. 

What was it that made monopoly? [At this point a voice in the 
audience called out "Roosevelt."] * No, that isn't fair. He simply 
sat by helpless while it grew up. 

But we know the processes by which monopoly is created. Just 
let me mention a few of them. One is that a lot of gentlemen rep- 
resenting amongst them a majority of those engaged in a certain 
line of manufacture get together and agree that they will amongst 
them control the output and determine the price that is to say, 
they make a monopolistic agreement. They have an understand- 
ing which isn't necessarily a legal combination. Then, when they 
have the understanding, this is the way they carry it out. If any 


372 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

rival with brains enough and enterprise enough to make them 
uneasy arises in any locality in the United States, they go into 
his local market and undersell him so as to kill him before he 
gets big enough to be formidable, meantime selling at a profit 
through the rest of the Union and so recouping themselves for 
the losses which he cannot stand because he has only the local 
market. If anyone of you has tried it, you know that is the way 
you have fared. 

Then in the third place they agree among themselves that if 
any merchants refuse to ... buy exclusively from them they 
will cut them off entirely, and so make it impossible for them to 
afford to buy a portion of their supply from the competitor. 

Then in the fourth place they manage to get hold of so much 
of the raw material in the mines, or on the backs of the cattle of 
the country, or in whatever other source, that they can shut off 
the supply of raw material from those who dare to come into the 
field of manufacture against them. They set up a system of 
espionage throughout the country to find where new men are dar- 
ing to come into the field against them. 

Now, this unregulated competition has built up monopoly in 
the United States. And at any time that we had cared to step in 
and regulate the competition by stopping these practices, we 
could have prevented monopoly. And in the meantime what has 
monopoly entailed upon us? When these gentlemen could not kill 
a little rival, they bought a big one. And after they had bought 
the big one at three and a half times what his business was worth, 
they have had to pay interest and dividends on it four or five 
times what they would ultimately have put into their business 
by way of sound and legitimate capital; and the people of the 
United States have had to pay the price in order to enable them 
to carry the water. 

Just so soon as you regulate competition and oblige these gen- 
tlemen to depend upon efficiency, and efficiency only, you make 
it impossible for them to carry the water. I am not interested in 
squeezing water out myself. I don't know how. I am only inter- 
ested in making them carry it in a free market. 

If in a free market where we have made it possible for inde- 
pendent competitors to enter the lists against them they can carry 
this handicap, they are welcome so far as I am concerned to 
cany it; but I know how the competition of brains goes on well 

Denver Auditorium 373 

enough to know that the fresh competitor working on real capi- 
tal, economizing his processes, improving every invention that he 
uses, can beat the giant carrying the tank of water in any race 
he sets out upon. 

I challenge these gentlemen to come into a fair field against 
the weakest and beat independent competitors. They cannot do 
it. But they are going to have to try. I am not altogether hope- 
fully disposed to believe that we can teach the trusts to be pitiful 
and good and righteous. And knowing as I do, and as every 
thoughtful man in the United States knows, that these men have 
been masters of the government, I am not hopeful of making the 
government masters of them. 

Now there was applause a moment ago when I mentioned the 
third party. I think I know why. These people were not thinking 
about the perpetuation of monopoly. They were thinking of what 
the third party promises monopoly will do for us if we only give 
them a chance. If monopoly, forsooth monopoly, will shorten the 
hours of labor, will be regardful of the weakness of women, will 
be pitiful towards little children, will safeguard its machinery, 
will improve all its processes, will raise its wages and lower its 
prices, [I should be less harsh}* 

I am not of the sanguine disposition of the leaders of the third 
party. I have seen these giants close their hands upon the work- 
ingmen of this country already, and I have seen the blood come 
through their fingers. And I am not hopeful to believe that they 
will release their grasp and lift these victims into the hopeful 
heavens. Ah, ladies and gentlemen, when you are starting out on 
a program, when you are starting on a journey, look beneath you 
and see the beast you are riding. You cannot get to any goal by 
that vehicle. 

Why, I was saying today that I had an image in my mind of 
the great trusts of this country, impersonated as you please, 
standing up upon a great stage there will not be so many of 
them as there are on this stage and in front of them Mr. Roose- 
velt leading them in the hallelujah chorus, t I don't know whether 

4 There is a gap in the Swem Notes at this point, which the editor has filled from 
the text in the Denver Rocky Mountain News. 

f Five days later, in a forceful speech at Chicago, Roosevelt denied that there 
was a "hallelujah chorus" of the trusts in his favor and argued that he was drawing 
less support from the "trust magnates" than Wilson, who as governor of New 
Jersey had done "precisely and exactly nothing" to curb the trusts in that state. 

374 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

he thinks he can teach them the tune or not, but I think I see the 
cynical smile on their faces as they would try to learn it from him. 
Leave the government and the industry of the United States un- 
der the control and in the position in which it now is and the hal- 
lelujah chorus will sound like bitter mockery in our ears. 

This is not a campaign against individuals. It is a crusade 
against powers that have governed us, that have lamed our de- 
velopment, that have determined our lives, that have set us in a 
straitjacket to do as they please. This is a second struggle for 
emancipation. I could, if I chose, ladies and gentlemen, amuse 
you with the humors of this campaign. I could, if I thought it 
proper, simply lead your minds off, by way of illustration, into 
many a pleasant bit of discussion, but I tell you when I came into 
this room and felt the electrical atmosphere of this great as- 
semblage, I knew that I did not dare tell you anything but the 
solemn truth. It is an infinitely solemn truth. I wish that I hadn't 
left a reasonably good voice in Indiana so that I might have the 
strength and the lungs to make every man and woman in this 
assemblage understand the issues of life and death which turn 
upon the election in November; not because you are going to 
choose a particular man President, because, contrary to opinions 
in certain quarters, there is no indispensable man. 

I have the honor to represent for the time being the principles 
and the purposes and the impulses of what I believe to be a 
majority of the American people. But I want to say to you with 
perfect sincerity that some other man could do it just as well, 
provided he had this passion, this passion for the right settle- 
ment of the question whether we are to be dominated by eco- 
nomic monopoly or not. 

There are a great many interesting things to discuss in this 
campaign, and I have tried to make speeches along other lines 
and my mind swings back to this line as if it were following a 
magnet. For whenever I see the great masses of uplifted faces like 
this, I know this: We are now going to determine what the hope 
and the opportunity and the achievement of the next generation 
in America is going to be. We are the trustees for our children, 

Furthermore, he stated that in 1911 Wilson had expressed opposition to the regu- 
lation of corporations by a federal commission and had even espoused a "new 
stateism" designed to make the states instruments of economic reform. See text of 
Roosevelt's speech in Chicago Daily Tribune, Oct. 13. 

Denver Auditorium 375 

we are the trustees of that great inheritance of American liberty 
which expresses itself not merely in song, not merely in flowers of 
rhetoric, not merely in emotional outburst, but in those stern 
principles and programs of action which only thoughtful men 
can work out in quiet, under the impulse of universal sympathy 
with the struggle of mankind. 

Suppose we depended upon these gentlemen who have the 
trusts in their control for the future development of the United 
States? Are nations, I ask you, developed from the top? Every 
nation is like a great tree. It may display a beautiful foliage to- 
day, produce excellent fruit upon its branches, but its strength 
lies down in the dark, hidden, and fertile soil; and the future mas- 
ters of America, if we are true to America, are coming from the 
unknown quarters. 

If this is a true democracy, no man can predict where the 
leaders of America are coming from. I suspect that it is harder 
for a leader to be born in a palace than to be born in a cabin. I 
suspect that it is harder for men at the top to understand the 
ardors, the hopes, the terrors of America than for men at the bot- 
tom. I suspect that men in the ranks who are struggling for a 
mere foothold, who are fearful lest their health should give way 
and their children should starve, know more of what America has 
to do than any other men in the country. 

A friend of mine told me this evening that he had recently met 
a very highly educated gentleman from China who had only been 
ten days in this country, and that he asked him after his ten days 
what was the thing he regarded as most remarkable in America. 
"Why," he said, "much the most remarkable thing I have no- 
ticed is the expression of hope that is upon the faces of the peo- 
ple." For you know in the Oriental countries, if you have traveled 
there, there seems to have settled upon the countenances of men 
and women a sort of acceptance of the inevitable. They are born 
into a certain stiff regime of life from which they do not hope or 
expect to be extricated. 

And as I think of that, I think: What are we to do for the hope 
of the average American man and woman? Are we to make these 
people look forward for permission to come into the field of 
activity? Are we to make them expect a monopoly the opposite 
of free enterprise? If America is not to have free enterprise, then 
she can have freedom of no sort whatever. 

376 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

Ladies and gentlemen, is it of no consequence in this discussion 
that the Democratic party is the only national party now con- 
solidated with a single purpose? I marvel that men retain such 
stiff traditions as not to see that the Republican party is now in 
absolute dissolution, and that the reason it is in dissolution is 
that men in its own ranks have revolted from the things from 
which we are now trying to escape. I am not expecting Republi- 
cans to vote for me in this election because of any special con- 
fidence in me but because they must see that if they want to es- 
cape from the things which their judgments condemn, there is 
only one team ready for the game. 

I don't see any team ready for the game except the great Dem- 
ocratic team. It understands the game; it is eager for it and it 
can beat any scrub team in existence. And what a splendid game 
it isl How fine it is to believe that we have an opportunity to vote 
the United States free again. 

I want to say as I say on every occasion that I am not indicat- 
ing or throwing any suspicion upon the character of the gentle- 
men whose judgments I am opposing. I have a great respect for 
the characters of the men, but if they were my dearest friends, 
I would feel myself obliged to set myself like steel against their 
purposes. They don't see the character of the age. They have 
despaired of meeting the forces with which we must contend. 
And therefore I stand before you not as a representative of the 
Democratic party merely but in my firm conviction as a represent- 
ative, however unworthy, of the new day, the new purpose, the 
new light of achievement in this great country which is devoted 
to disinterested achievement. 

I thought as I crossed these beautiful valleys today, how clear 
the air was and how it suggested the unimpeded view by which 
men might see the distant hills of achievement to which our great 
people have been struggling through all these hopeful years. And, 
as I, in imagination [look] * back down the slopes of the con- 
tinent to the great valley of the Mississippi and beyond to that 
eastern country where the great forces of the nation are in such 
hot and close and eager contest, I think to myself that this west- 
ern land lifted high to the heavens is a sort of coign of vantage 
from which one may look out and see what were the original pur- 
poses of America. We may here see the map of life spread be- 

* The editor has changed "looked" to look." 

Denver Auditorium 377 

fore us, see the weary roads that men have traveled in order to 
gain the vision which has been the inspiration of American pub- 
lic men time out of mind. And when I know that out of this 
western country has come so much of the progressive [senti- 
ment] * and progressive force of our day, and how that force has 
been thrown back to the release of privilege and the revival of 
hope in the eastern country, I feel as if here I stood not upon this 
little pulpit but upon a great pulpit of the Rockies, looking back 
and crying to my brethren in the East: "Here are these clear- 
sighted citizens of the West which are going to show you the 
way now, as they have oftentimes in the past, by which America 
may once again be liberated." The air will be tonic in that new 
land. We are coming yet to that land of promise towards which 
the feet of America have been pressing through all the ages. And 
then we can look our brethren of other peoples in the face and 
say: "We haven't broken our promises to you; we have not 
brought you here to be servants and slaves; we have brought you 
here to share in a great inheritance of liberty; we have kept our 
promise to ourselves and our promise to you." 

Who will volunteer for the great army of emancipation? Who 
will come to the polls in the spirit of soldiers of liberty and see 
to it that America never again faces so much as the fear of sub- 
jection on the part of all of her people to an insignificant group 
of her principal men? And our emancipation will include them. 
We will set them free from their own mistaken judgment. When 
they speak of the people, they do not include themselves. When 
we speak of the people, we are more generous and include them. 
When they have been set free, when they have been shown the 
dignity of service as contrasted with the disgrace of mastery, then 
they will for the first time find the zest of power, the zest of serv- 
ing their fellow men and reaping a reward which will be as sweet 
to their taste and give them such dreams at night as those who 
have care for little children and are mindful of the mercies of 
human life. 

And so my appeal is the old appeal, as old as the history of 
human life. When I look at this great flag of ours, I seem to see in 
it alternate strips of parchment and of blood. On the parchment 
are inscribed the ancient sentences of our great bills of rights, 

* Swem wrote "settlement," probably mistaking it for "sentiment." Cf . text in the 
Denver Rocky Mountain News. 

378 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

and the blood is the blood that has been spilt to give those sen- 
tences validity. Into the blue heaven in die corner has swung 
star after star, the symbol of a great commonwealth, the star of 
Colorado, along with the star of ancient Virginia. And these stars 
will shine there with undiminished luster only so long as we re- 
main the liberators of men and see to it that it is never again 
necessary to shed a single tear or a single drop of blood in their 

October 8 

WILSON'S NEXT major speech was scheduled to be delivered at 
Topeka. At 4:00 A.M. on the day following his speech at Denver his 
route across northern Kansas was blocked by the wreck of a freight 
train on the Rock Island Railroad at a point thirty miles west of Good- 
land, Kansas. Officials of the Rock Island, aware of the unfavorable 
publicity the railroads had received from reports of the slow progress 
Wilson's train had made on his first western trip, did their best to com- 
pensate for the delay. When a wrecker had cleared the track, they 
hurried Wilson eastward on a "bobtailed" special made up of a loco- 
motive, the two special campaign cars, and a single ballasted coach. 
Wilson's train covered the 106 miles from Goodland to Norton in 
110 minutes. Even so, he was two hours late for his scheduled speech 
at Norton, so that he could speak for only ten minutes. 1 

During the trip F. W. Hanchett, the engineer, invited Governor 
Wilson to ride on his "pony." Wilson accepted and acted as engineer 
for the twenty-two miles between Clyde and Clay Centre. On two 
short stretches he even drove the locomotive at the rate of a mile a 
minute, drawing a commendation from Hanchett for the smoothness 
with which he manipulated the controls. 8 

During that day of journeying across Kansas, Wilson made rear- 
platform speeches at Norton, Phillipsburg, Manakato, Clyde, and Man- 
hattan. 8 

Topeka, Kansas 379 

Delivered in the Topeka Auditorium, October 8 

AT 5:30 P.M. Wilson reached Topeka and hurried to the Auditorium. 
He was three hours late. A crowd had been waiting all that time for 
his appearance. Despite his tardiness they cheered for five minutes 
when he walked on die stage. 2 

Governor Wilson's speech was a renewal of his relentless attack 
upon Roosevelt and the Progressive party as advocating a program 
favoring big business and offering no means to check or destroy mo- 
nopoly. It also included a reply to the Bull Moose leader's demand for 
proof that the United States Steel Corporation was backing the Roose- 
velt plan to regulate the trusts. 8 

Mr. Mayor, ladies and gentlemen: 

It is very delightful indeed to find myself in Kansas again be- 
cause you know that Kansas has always been looked to by the 
rest of the country for leadership in things progressive. It is pleas- 
ant therefore to come and drink at some of the fountains of in- 
spiration which are to be found in this state. And I will confide 
to you this anxiety and the fear lest Kansas should not pick out 
at this time the genuine breed of the progressive. There are a 
great many breeds now. The variety is positively confusing. I 
want, if you will be patient with me (and you have been infinitely 
patient in waiting for me), to expound to you what it seems to 
me that Kansas ought to discriminate about in the approaching 
election. Because I have my very serious doubts whether the party 
that has labeled itself "Progressive" is really progressive at all or 

I have entertained a very warm admiration for some of the 
progressive Republicans in Kansas, and I have had the privilege 
of blowing some of them personally and knowing how sincerely 
their interest in the advancement of the public welfare was. It 
would distress me to see them ally themselves, as they seem about 
to ally themselves, with a party which cannot with its present 
program serve the progressive cause. I say with its "present pro- 

380 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

gram," because I want to be perfectly frank with every audience 
I face. I know the purposes of these men, and I sincerely feel that 
they are mistaking the method by which progressive measures 
can be put into operation in this country. Let us discuss for a 
little while, if you please, what it is that we are after, because in 
the little time that is left me I must omit preliminaries and plunge 
into the heart of my matter. 

What gave rise to the progressive movement in America? I will 
not stop now to pronounce a eulogy upon the Democratic party 
and to point out to you that the Democratic party has not re- 
cently adopted a program of progressivism. Ever since the mod- 
ern movement in economics, the Democratic party has warned 
you that the so-called protective policy was [fostering] a govern- 
ment having all sorts of special privileges, and that if you would 
not withdraw those special privileges they would sometime come 
back to haunt you and to dominate you. The Democratic party 
ever since the creation of the great trusts which are now mo- 
nopolizing some of the lines of industry and economic activity in 
this country has warned you that these men who now seem your 
servants might some day become your masters. 

When the progressive movement began in the Republican 
party, how did it begin? What were these new-line Republicans 
afraid of? The thing did not begin only in the West, though the 
West showed the most manifest signs of it. The beginning, though 
some people find it very hard to believe, was in the state of New 
Jersey. We had in the state of New Jersey a good many years ago 
a group of Republicans . . . who called themselves the "New 
Idea" Republicans, when the idea that the Republican program 
was not serving the country was a new idea. These gentlemen 
separated themselves, very decisively separated themselves, from 
their companions in the Republican party in the state of New 
Jersey. Then came the movement I am not stating them in order 
there came the movement in Ohio; there came that great move- 
ment in Wisconsin; there sprang up in that northern state that 
ridiculed but champion of progressivism, Robert La Follette. 

Robert La Follette has discriminated, has not followed the 
third party, because he sees deeper into the program of the third 
party than some gentlemen hereabouts have looked. And I want 
to warn of just the mistake which Robert La Follette avoided by 
knowing by intimate association just how close to and just how 

Topeka, Kansas 381 

far from the progressive temper and the progressive program the 
present leader of the third party stood. 

For the danger that these men were engaged against was the 
danger of the domination of our development by those who had 
taken special advantage of the financial policy of this government 
and had established monopoly in many lines of industry. La 
Follette has always said what Democrats have always said: These 
forces will overcome your government if your government does 
not overcome them. 

Therefore, the test of progressivism is that you see the danger 
of the tariff and that you see the menace of monopoly. I ask you 
which branch of the Republican party has seen either. They both 
stand pat on the tariff. They admit that some duties are too high 
and ought to be reduced, but they don't tell you upon what prin- 
ciple they are going to reduce them. They just have a notion that 
here and there somebody has been extravagant, and they are go- 
ing to try to reduce the extravagance of the claims that special 
interests have made upon us. But they don't intend to cut at the 
heart of the special interest. 

On the contrary, the utterances of Mr. Roosevelt with regard 
to the tariff are practically the same as the utterances of Mr. Taft. 
And if you look at the Saratoga program, the Saratoga platform * 
which Mr. Roosevelt himself endorsed, you will find there an un- 
qualified endorsement of the Payne- Aldrich tariff, just as unquali- 
fied as Mr. Taft made in his Winona speech, t And in recent 
months, in recent weeks, Mr. Roosevelt has brushed the tariff 
aside and has said the tariff is not what ails us. Now what has he 
done with regard to trusts? 

I suppose that there are a great many gentlemen here who are 
interested in currency reform. You know that the spirit of the 
country in general has rejected the plan of currency reform 
offered by the so-called Aldrich Monetary Commission. I am not 
sure that they have not turned from it purely because it bears 
Mr. Aldrich's name, but there are two parts to that plan: one part 
of which is a new basis for an elastic currency and the other pro- 
poses a method of control. The method of control confirms the 

* A reference to the platform adopted by the Progressive Republican party of 
New York. 

t In 1909 Taft had defended the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act in a speech at Winona, 
Minn., referring to it as "the best tariff bill that the Republican Party has ever 
passed." See Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, p. 530. 

382 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

present power of small groups of American bankers to dominate 
the new system. 

Now just as that plan proposes the control of those already con- 
trolled, so the plan of the third party with regard to regulation 
of trusts proposes ... to regulate private monopoly, so that Mr. 
Roosevelt cannot divorce his thought from the idea that the chief 
businessmen of this country are the only men who understand 
the business of this country. Now I absolutely dissent from that 
proposition. I believe that the rank and file of the businessmen 
in this country understand the economic conditions of the United 
States, and that this small group of men do not understand that 
condition. I understand . . . that Mr. Roosevelt was distressed 
by my suggestion the other day that the United States Steel 
Corporation was back of his plan for controlling the trusts. He in- 
terpreted my remark to mean that they were supporting him with 
their money. I wasn't thinking about money. I don't know 
whether they are supporting him with their money or not. It 
doesn't make any difference. What I meant was they are support- 
ing him with their thought and their thought is not our thought. 
I meant, and I say again, that the kind of control which he pro- 
poses is the kind of control that the United States Steel Corpora- 
tion wants. I am perfectly ready to admit that they . . . think it 
is best for the country. My point is that this is a method con- 
ceived from the point of view of the very men who are to be con- 
trolled, and that that is the wrong point of view from which to 
conceive it.* 

These gentlemen in Kansas, therefore, who are supporting the 
third party are supporting a party whose fundamental program is 
agreeable to the monopolies of this country. And yet these gentle- 
men, some of whom as I have said I know, have been fighting 
monopoly through all their career. How they can reconcile the 
continuation of the battle under the banner of the very men they 
are fighting, I cannot imagine. I challenge the program in its fun- 
damentals as not a progressive program at all. Now, gentlemen, 
this is a matter which you can judge for yourselves. Why did Mr. 
Gary propose this very method when he was at the head of the 
Steel Trust? Why is this very method commended here, there, 

* Speaking at Marquette, Mich., Roosevelt answered Wilson's rebuttal by saying, 
"Evidently Mr. Wilson is a mind reader." And he went on to say that if he were ever 
called to account, as he had called Wilson, he would not evade the issue "by saying 
I was speaking of the thought of the adversary." See Chicago Daily Tribune, Oct. 10. 

Topeka, Kansas 383 

and everywhere by the men who are interested in the mainte- 
nance of the present economic system of the United States? Why 
do the men who do not wish to be disturbed urge the adoption 
of this program? Why do men who wish to disturb them get back 
of this program? Why, it is because they read the rest of the pro- 
gram and forget.* What is at the heart of the rest of the pro- 
gram is very handsome. There is a great pulse beating in that 
platform of sympathy for the human race. But I don't want the 
sympathy of the trusts for the human race. I don't want their 
condescending assistance. I don't want their assistance which they 
give at the compulsion of the federal government, f 

I absolutely protest against being put into the hands of trus- 
tees. Mr. Roosevelt's conception of government is Mr. Taft's, that 
the Presidency of the United States is the presidency of a board 
of directors. And I say, for my part, that if the people of the 
United States can't get justice for themselves, then it is high time 
that they should join the third party and get it from somebody 
else. The justice proposed is very beautiful; it is very attractive; 
there are planks in that platform which stir all the sympathies 
of the human heart; they propose things that we all want to do; 
but the question is: Who is going to do them? Through whose 

I want to say to the workingmen here that platform proposes 
various measures of justice to the workingmen through some gen- 
tlemen who have dealt with the United States Steel Corporation. 
Don't you know that that corporation, and others like it, have 
been the most successful and implacable enemies of organized 
labor? Don't you know that they stand against the right of work- 
ingmen to organize? And all that they do for their workingmen 
by way of making them comfortable, by way of making them 
happy, they do in order that their discontent may not reach out- 
side the mills and organize the forces of labor against them. I do 
not mean that there are not public-spirited and philanthropic 
men among the directors of the United States Steel Corporation, 
for there are. But I do mean that these gentlemen are of the 
temper to control the laboring men of this country, just as they 

* This and the preceding sentence do not appear in Wilson, New Freedom, p. 204. 
f The passage omitted below was somewhat garbled. For a revised version of it 
see Wilson, New Freedom, p. 195, lines 7-18. 

384 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

are of the temper to control the markets of this country. And they 
want to get the whole economic development of the United States 
subject to the kind of control which they can suggest to the gov- 
ernment of the United States. 

If Mr. Roosevelt is willing to have Mr. Perkins suggest how 
the corporations should be regulated, why will he not be willing 
to take suggestions from the same quarter as to the detail of the 
regulation? Mark you, ladies and gentlemen, I am not discussing 
individuals. I know Mr. George Perkins. I have no quarrel with 
anything except his judgment and he doesn't look at these things 
the way men who do not wish to accustom their minds to mo- 
nopoly look at them. Now I take my stand absolutely where 
every progressive ought to take his stand on the proposition of 
the Democratic platform that private monopoly is indefensible 
and intolerable. And there I will fight my battle. And I know 
how to fight it.* 

And so I have come into Kansas, as into one of the homes of 
progressives, and to ask you to test your progressivism. Put it 
in the fire! Test it with fire! Don't test it by label! The third- 
term platform may be labeled "fireproof," but you put it in the 
fire and see. And if it will undergo the fire test in your con- 
sciences, in your knowledge of men, in your knowledge of the 
men who are backing that program, then by all means vote the 
third ticket. But if not, beware of voting the third ticket. I say 
the "third ticket" because there are so many they have to be 
numbered, and ever since I came into Kansas early this morning 
at six o'clock, I have been trying to understand the variety of ar- 
rangements which are either consummated or contemplated in 
Kansas. Because, after your political leaders have conferred and 
your courts have decided and people have withdrawn and others 
have been substituted and there have been new tickets and all 
that kind of thing, I don't know how you can tell where you are. 
The only safe thing is to give the conundrum up and vote Demo- 

* In the passage omitted below Wilson again described the ruthless ways by 
which the trusts choked off competition. For a passage very similar to this part, 
see ibid., p. 172, line 11, to p. 174, line 14. Wilson also attacked Roosevelt's plan 
to control monopoly, charging that the Bull Moose leader, having been fooled by 
the trusts on two occasions, was now trying to "patent the present processes of in- 

Kansas City, Missouri 385 

cratic. There is no doubt where the Democrats stand. They 
haven't the least doubt where they are bound, and they are going 
to get there. 

They are going to get there by the votes of Kansas, for I haven't 
come into Kansas for the first time. I have had the privilege of 
conferring with Kansans in their own homes more than once, and 
I have seen the rising tide in this redoubtable old commonwealth. 
Why, you were born in order to set some people free. Now, why 
not go on and set everybody free? You were born in order to 
make a territory into which human slavery couldn't come. Why 
not enact that economic slavery can't get into Kansas? Why not 
enact that monopoly shall never rear its head in this soil fertilized 
by the blood of martyrs in the cause of liberty? I challenge you 
to read the history of your state and make it impossible for any- 
body ever to ask again, "What is the matter with Kansas?" 

Delivered in Convention Hall, October 8 

As SOON AS Wilson finished his speech at Topeka, he left the Audi- 
torium and hurried on to Kansas City, Missouri, for his evening address. 
That he was uncomfortable and filled with forebodings was evident 
to one correspondent who heard the candidate say soon after his 
arrival at the station, "When I get back tonight I shall probably wish 
I had never heard of the Presidency of the United States." 2 

First of all Wilson met his obligation to attend the "peace dinner" at 
the Hotel Baltimore at which he, Champ Clark, and Attorney General 
Elliott W. Major, Democratic nominee for governor, were honored 
guests. Clark, being in his own state, was the object of much attention. 
In fact his coming to Kansas City to welcome the man who had de- 
feated him for the Democratic nomination made him something of a 
hero to some Missouri Democrats, who commented approvingly, 
"Champ has come to Kansas City to show that he can take his medicine 
gamely." Clark had words of praise for Wilson, who, still behind 
schedule, arrived near the end of the dinner, but he frankly reminded 
his listeners Governor Wilson was not his first choice for President. 8 

386 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

A little later, at Convention Hall, Clark introduced Wilson to an 
audience of twenty thousand persons as "a man of wide learning, high 
character, and splendid capacity" who would make "a great Presi- 
dent." 4 The audience was vociferous to the point of being unruly. It 
clamored for Wilson to begin his address as soon as he came upon the 
platform and then delayed proceedings by cheering for ten minutes. 
It is doubtful if Wilson's tired voice reached all of the vast audience, 
and to make matters worse the hall was extremely hot. Little wonder 
that the candidate cut his speech down to twenty minutes. 

f Mr. Speaker and ladies and gentlemen: 

I never imagined that a crowd as big as this would come to- 
gether merely to look at me. Evidently, you are not in the humor 
to hear a speech, but there are some things that I want to say to 
you. In the first place, I want to express my very deep gratification 
at meeting so many of my fellow citizens of Missouri. And I 
want to say to them what a profound satisfaction it affords me to 
find myself here on this platform shoulder to shoulder with the 
great Speaker of the House of Representatives, a man whom I 
have long honored and admired, and whom I consider myself 
specially fortunate to find myself in harness withy (Have I leave to 
print?) * I think that there is nothing that Democrats should be 
prouder of at the present moment than the extraordinary unity and 
solidarity t of their great forces. I do not wonder that when they 
see great outpourings like this they take heart to believe that a 
great conquest is in store for the conquering hosts. 

The distinguished Speaker gave a very interesting description 
of the characters of the several candidates for the Presidency. I 
believe that one of the most interesting circumstances about the 
third party is this: that it is a great body of personal followers 
rather than a great political party, because I cannot explain other- 
wise some of the followers that Colonel Roosevelt has drawn to 
himself. ... I find that he has drawn into his personal following 
a number of men who seem to have forgotten the objects which 
they have in view. They are men who for a great many years 

* An expression used by congressmen requesting extension of their remarks in 
the Congressional Record. 

f Mr. Swem, on re-examining his shorthand notes, has decided that he misheard 
at this point and wrote "solidity" instead of "solidarity," which the context demands. 
The editor is greatly indebted to Mr. Swem for assistance on this and other pas- 
sages in Wilson's speeches. 

Kansas City, Missouri 387 

have devoted themselves very intelligently and very energetically 
to the promotion of a progressive program of legislative reform, 
(^lis program of legislative reform has grown out of definite con- 
ditions which every man ought to understand in order that he 
may vote intelligently on the fifth of Novembejx Those conditions 
hinge upon two particular problems in our national life, prob- 
lems which we must face with the greatest possible frankness and 
the greatest possible independence of judgment. 

In the first place, there are the problems which connect them- 
selves with the so-called protective tariff. What must strike every- 
one who discusses the tariff at all is the fact that the third party 
does not even profess to be dissatisfied with the tariff policy of 
the government except in certain details. The program of the 
third party is a program of correcting certain excessive duties, 
but it is not a program of condemnation of any policy whatever 
connected with the tariff legislation of the United States. Our 
objection goes to the essence of the matter. We say that it has 
turned out to be not a policy of protection but a policy of special 
favors, and that under the cover of these special favors there 
have grown up great monopolistic combinations and undertak- 
ings in this country. Now, the third party, made up of men who 
banded themselves together originally to fight the tariff, is no 
longer fighting the tariff; made up of men banded together to 
oppose monopoly, is not any longer opposing monopoly. The 
third party proposes instead of abolition to adopt and regulate 
the monopolistic enterprises of this country; and, therefore, I ask 
any man who is genuinely progressive to examine himself very 
carefully and to ask whether this indeed be a progressive party. 

I am not going to waste very much argument on that because 
I know which side of the river I am on. I know how Missouri 
thinks. I know the ancient faith of this great commonwealth. I 
know how in instances such as their support of the great Speaker 
of the House of Representatives they have again and again shown, 
when they could see the right man, they would marshal them- 
selves behind the progressive forces of Democratic policy. There- 
fore, I have come here tonight not to make you an argumenta- 
tive speech, not to do anything except to declare to you that I 
stand ready to serve you in the spirit of these men who have al- 
ready shown that they can bear the test in any service. What I 
desire is to be their collaborator. It honors me to be spoken of 

388 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

as their leader, for the time being, in the great matters to which 
they have always been devoted. I know the whole Union. I have 
again and again thought of this central valley as the home of 
those who look forward in the policies of the United States, who 
are not content to walk with their eyes over their shoulders, who 
know that the country is to be served only by the shape of its 
policy from year to year. 

Men must keep their eyes open, open to the future, compre- 
hending the present, desiring to correct those things that are 
wrong, desiring to see that each generation as it comes on to the 
stage may come with a new hope and revived courage; so that 
the great Democracy now for the first time in our generation is 
going to have a chance to show whether it can return the govern- 
ment to the people or not. For this is the enterprise to which time 
out of mind the great Democratic party has been devoted. Ever 
since the great Jefferson spoke the immortal truths which are 
the foundation stones of our doctrine, this party has devoted it- 
self with singleness of heart through adversity of the most pro- 
longed sort to that cause which lies dear to every man's heart, 
which is upon every man's lips, but which only some serve in 
season and out of season. I mean the cause of the common peo- 
ple of the United States. For when I look forward to the future 
of the United States, I know that it is not going to be framed by 
the chosen and privileged faction, but that in proportion as the 
great mass of people in the United States are hopeful and happy 
and have their ambitions realized so is America to be great, so is 
America to realize the great ambitions of achievement which 
have always lifted her high to the view of the envious world. 

^And so I am here tonight merely to say to you that I feel pro- 
foundly honored that hosts of men who believe in the rights of 
man should stand behind the great party which has honored me 
as its standard bearer in this contest. Individual men rise and fall, 
individual men are of little consequence except as they voice, in 
all sincerity, the best aspirations of their fellow citizens^Mo Presi- 
dent of the United States,)as your great Speaker has just in- 
timated, (is any stronger than the people that are back of him) 
When I think of the two branches of the Republican party, 
neither of them proposing to separate that party from the special 
backing which it has had in those particular groups of men who 
are advancing the interests of combined capital, and then think 

Kansas City, Missouri 389 

of the great hosts of Democracy, I know that the thing to be 
decided on the fifth of November is this: Shall the people march 
to Washington, or will they leave Washington in the hands of the 
trustees? Shall they elect a President of the United States, or 
shall they elect a president of the board of trustees? 

Now, I, for my part, cannot dream of any doubt as to the choice 
the American people will make when it is clear-cut in their con- 
sciences that they are now choosing between two paths: Shall 
they live under the old regime of freedom of enterprise, or shall 
they live under the new regime of enthroned though regulated 

You cannot use monopoly in order to serve a free people. You 
cannot use great combinations of capital to be pitiful and right- 
eous and just. The judgments of justice, the standards of right- 
eousness, arise out of the conscience of great bodies of men 
enlisted, not in the promotion of special privilege but in the real- 
ization of human rights. When I remember those beautiful por- 
tions of the program of the third party devoted to the uplift of 
mankind and see noble men and women attaching themselves to 
that party in the hope that regulated monopoly may realize these 
dreams of humanity, I wonder if they have studied the instru- 
ments through which they are going to do these things. The 
man who is leading the third party has not changed his point 
of view since he was President of the United States. I am not 
asking him to change it. I am not saying that he hasn't a perfect 
right to retain it. But I say that no man who had the point of 
view with regard to the government of this country which he 
had when he was President should be President again. 

I said not long ago that Mr. Roosevelt was promoting a plan 
for the control of monopoly which was supported by the United 
States Steel Corporation. Mr. Roosevelt denied that he was being 
supported by more than one member [of that corporation].* He 
was thinking of money. I was thinking of ideas. I did not say that 
he was getting money from these gentlemen; it is a matter of 
perfect indifference to me where he gets his money; but it is a 
matter of a great deal of difference to me where he gets his ideas. 
He got his ideas with regard to the regulation of monopoly from 
the gentlemen who control the United States Steel Corporation. 
Now, I am perfectly ready to admit that the gentlemen who con- 

* Cf . Wilson, New Freedom, p. 205. 

890 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

trol the United States Steel Corporation have a perfect right to 
entertain their own ideas about this and to urge them upon the 
people of the United States. But I want to say right now that 
their ideas are not my ideas; and that I am perfectly certain that 
they did not promote any idea which interfered with the mo- 
nopolies of the United States Steel Corporation. Inasmuch as I 
speak an intention to interfere with monopoly just as much as 
possible, I cannot subscribe to these arrangements by which they 
know that it will not be disturbed. 

Therefore, we will fight out this thing, not a battle between 
persons but a battle between ideas, a battle between un-American 
and American ideas. (For Jefferson did not utter the creed merely 
of the Democratic party; he uttered the creed of the American 
people. ) Because I have agreed to put even standpat Republican 
orators to the test of doctrines that profess to agree with Abraham 
Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, who agreed with one another. 
But when it comes to practice, they forget their doctrine. I in- 
sist that the prestige, the greatness, the dignity of the Democratic 
party consists in this: that it has always tried to match its prac- 
tice with its principles. Now I see this great company, notwith- 
standing uneasiness in its unrest, not only that it is disquieted by 
the hot atmosphere of this hall and doesn't want any more hot air 
added to it, but that it is impatient to march to the polls and de- 
cide the verdict of the American people. I know just how you feel. 

When I spoke just now about the candidate of the third party, 
somebody over here said I needn't worry; and I am not worrying. 
This is not a meeting to make up our minds. This is a meeting to 
ratify our purposes. We know what we are going to do. We are 
going to get together in overwhelming numbers, and, by a tre- 
mendous majority of the American people, the future develop- 
ment of American policy is going to be settled. When I go away 
from this beautiful city tonight, I shall have an image in my 
mind of great gathering hosts of free American voters, each man 
with his eyes lifted to the horizon where he sees the light of a 
new day beginning to spread its blush along the heavens. I shall 
feel as if this whole mass in front of us were a type, were an em- 
bodiment, of the great American democracy; that I had seen 
democracy rise in its might and manifest its irresistible purpose. 

"The Issue of Life and Death" 391 


Speech Delivered at the Sangamon County Courthouse, Spring- 
field, Illinois, October 9 

ALMOST IMMEDIATELY after his address at Convention Hall, Wilson 
boarded the Federal to be ready for his trip to Springfield, Illinois. 
His private car was attached to the second section of a train on the 
Alton and Southern Railroad and, for some reason, left an hour earlier 
than originally scheduled. Attached to the same train was also the 
private car of Edward F. Goltra, St. Louis iron manufacturer and 
Democratic national committeeman, who had brought a group of 
prominent Missourians to Kansas City. Some hours after their departure 
from Kansas City, Wilson and the other members of his party dis- 
covered to their great consternation that Champ Clark was not on the 
train. He had missed it, owing to the sudden change in schedule. Clark, 
it turned out, had taken this mishap philosophically, and boarded a 
later train on the Wabash Railroad. 2 

Next morning Wilson reached Springfield in time to have breakfast 
at the St. Nicholas Hotel with the members of the Illinois Supreme 
Court and several Democratic committeemen. At 10:00 A.M. he de- 
livered a very short address from a platform in front of the Sangamon 
County Courthouse, which had been the State Capitol when Lincoln 
delivered his famous "house divided" speech there in 1858. 3 Wilson 
began with a gently satirical reference to the way the World's Series 
between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Giants was attracting 
more attention than the presidential campaign, but he soon became 
entirely earnest as he denounced those who would use Lincoln's name 
to justify the legalization of monopoly. 

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen: 

I feel that I owe an apology to the people of Illinois and the 
people of the United States for conducting a campaign during a 
week when the World's Series of baseball is on. And I am sure 
you would rather hear the score, and I am so confident what the 
score is going to be on the fifth of November, that I am very 
much interested in the score from day to day. Moreover, I would 


Part 6. Second Western Tour 

like you to understand that the Democratic battery is getting 
onto Mr. Roosevelt's curves and that they are knocking out a 
home run every time they go to the bat. 

In my innocent youth I used to play baseball, and I have pur- 
sued it with ardor ever since. And I believe that every college 




From Chicago Daily News 

man, at any rate, must understand me when I say that it is diffi- 
cult for me not to allow my own attention to be distracted from 
politics, because, after all, who wins that pennant is a very im- 
portant national question. 

I feel very much honored, ladies and gentlemen, to stand in 
this place because I know the association with which this place 

''The Issue of Life and Death" 393 

is connected. I know the extraordinary number of great men 
which in a particular generation Illinois contributed to the 
guidance of this nation. And I know that those men in their lives 
spoke a very important lesson which it is now imperatively im- 
portant that the people of the United States should learn, namely, 
that their wealth does not come from the top, but that it comes 
from the ranks of the people themselves. 

I feel profoundly impressed as I stand in this historic place, 
so near the spot where men have spoken of the issues of life and 
death for the great country which we love. And I hope that you 
will not think that I am speaking the language of exaggeration 
when I say that I believe we are again face to face with the is- 
sues of life and death not with the issues of life and death 
that turn upon sectional strife; not upon those issues which are 
explicitly based upon questions which threaten to divide a na- 
tion, but upon very much more subtle questions than that. Be- 
cause now we have to determine whether we are going to master 
the economic powers that have absolutely dominated our life, or 
whether we are going to control our own affairs directly through 
the voice of the people themselves. I say that that is the issue of 
life and death, for no nation can remain free, gentlemen, in which 
small groups of men determine the industrial development; and 
by determining the industrial development, determine the po- 
litical policy. Because the trouble with this country has not been 
that there has been "big business/' but that "big business" has 
closed its hand upon politics; and that the politics of this country 
has been dominated by the men who had the chief stake in main- 
taining those policies which afforded them special privilege and 
made us their bond servants in the development of the country. 
Because, when the greater movements of credit, when all the 
greater developments of industry, when all the currents of com- 
merce are determined by little groups of men, then the rest of 
us must look around between their legs to see what chance we 
may have, what outlook we may have upon life and enterprise 
and achievement and the initiation of great things. 

And so the people of the United States on the fifth of Novem- 
ber are going to choose the form of government they will live 
under. TTiey are going to choose whether they will live under a 
government which will take care of the weak, or a government 
where the strong will dominate the weak; and I for my part 

394 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

have not the least doubt as to what the verdict is going to be. 
I have not traveled from one part of this country to the other 
and failed to observe how the people of this country have awak- 
ened to the real circumstances of their life and of their govern- 
ment; and I know, if I know anything, that they are going to 
resume that sway which they resumed long ago when this govern- 
ment was set up. 

I know that I do not have to appeal to the men who have been 
Republicans in the city of Springfield and in the state of Illinois 
to absolutely repudiate those methods of government which the 
great founders of the Republican party would have been the first 
to repudiate. When gentlemen proposing to legalize monopoly 
profess to speak in the name of Lincoln, it is as if those who 
professed and intended to perpetuate human slavery should have 
dared to speak in the name of the Great Emancipator. We are 
going to repudiate this slavery just as emphatically as we re- 
pudiated the other, and we are not going to look to the gentlemen 
who established that slavery in order to accomplish our liberty. 

We know the voice the voice is the voice of Esau though 
the touch may be the touch of Jacob. But we are not going to 
be "touched." 

We have grown a little too familiar with the eccentric orbit 
of the gentlemen who are now trying to swing into the course 
of the people, to be misled. We are not gazers upon an empty 
heaven, for we know where the fixed constellations are, and we 
are going to follow the old stars of liberty. 


Address Delivered at the Coliseum, State Fair Grounds, 
Springfield, Illinois, October 9 

FROM THE Sangamon Courthouse Wilson went to the Oak Ridge Cem- 
etery and laid a bouquet at the tomb of Abraham Lincoln. Then in the 
early afternoon, in the company of Edward F. Dunne, Democratic 
nominee for the governorship of Illinois, and other prominent party 
leaders he rode to the State Fair Grounds. In delivering his address 

"Lessons from Lincoln* 395 

to a crowd of twelve thousand in the Coliseum, he was handicapped 
by the noise caused by the early departure of a large number of 
persons who had come merely to look at the candidate. According to 
the correspondent of the New Yorfc Times, the confusion was so great 
that Wilson's voice was inaudible fifty feet away. 2 

In his speech Wilson quite naturally appealed to the Lincoln tradi- 
tion, declaring that the people needed someone to speak for them in 
1912 just as much as they had in 1861. His reference to Roosevelt as 
"a very erratic comet now sweeping across our horizon" drew a laugh 
from that part of the audience close enough to hear. 8 It is interesting 
to record that, the same day at Houghton, Michigan, Roosevelt was 
lengthily attempting to prove by digging into Wilson's past that the 
Democratic nominee had only recently become a friend of labor. 4 

As Wilson was finishing his speech, Champ Clark much to the sur- 
prise of the audience walked up on the platform in time to endorse 
the candidate with a speech very similar to the one he had delivered 
the previous evening at Kansas City. 5 

Mr. Chairman and fellow citizens: 

It is with very genuine emotions that I face a great company 
like this, and your presiding officer has unwittingly touched the 
very nerve of my feelings in what he has said about the associa- 
tion of this place with the life and the career of the immortal 
Lincoln, because, gentlemen, we are face to face with a very 
profound change in American politics, and the career of Lincoln 
suggests to us just the sort of change that is going to take place. 

You know that in the time of Lincoln there were a great many 
men associated with the government of the United States, whose 
patriotism we are not privileged to deny or question, who in- 
tended to serve the people of the United States, but had so be- 
come saturated with the point of view of a governing class that 
it was impossible for them to see America as the people of Amer- 
ica themselves saw it. And then there arose in this great state 
of Illinois that interesting figure, that immortal figure of the great 
Lincoln, who stood up and said: "The politicians of this country, 
the men who have governed this country, do not see affairs from 
the point of view of the people of the United States/* 

When I think of that tall, gaunt figure arising in Illinois, I have 
the picture of a man freed, unentangled, unassociated with the 
governing influences of the country, ready to see things with an 

396 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

open eye, and see them steadily, see them whole, see them as 
the men he rubbed shoulders with and associated with saw them, 
standing up and facing men like Douglas and the others who 
were opposing him, with this message: "You are looking at the 
situation as another generation has looked at it; you are looking 
at rights, at human rights, as another generation has looked at 

I tell you that this generation looks at them with clarified 
vision. We are coming on. Then there came a day when the great 
hosts sang: "Yes, Father Abraham, we are coming on/' The great 
body of the American people, saying: "This man has our heart 
under his jacket. This man has our thought in his mind; this man 
has our vision in his eye." 

I tell you, gentlemen, that progress comes in every great nation 
only by a complete alteration of the point of view, only by what 
I might call a shake-up and reformation, and the great shake-up 
comes when all the foundations of established authority are 
shaken by the moving mass of the irresistible people of great 

Now, the trouble with our present political conditions is that 
we need some man who has not been associated with the govern- 
ing classes and influences of this country to stand up and speak 
for us, a voice from the outside, calling upon the American people 
to assert again their rights and their prerogatives in the possession 
of their own government. 

My thought about both Mr. Taft and Mr. Roosevelt is a thought 
of entire respect, but these gentlemen have been so intimately 
associated with the powers that have been determining the policy 
of this government for almost a generation, that they cannot 
look at the affairs of the United States with the view of a new 
age and a changed set of circumstances. They are unable to 
speak. They sympathize with the people; their hearts no doubt 
go out to the great masses of unknown men in this country; but 
their thought is in close habitual association with those who 
have framed the policies of this country during all our lifetime. 
And those who have framed those policies have framed the pro- 
tective tariff, have developed the trusts, have coordinated and 
ordered all the great economic forces of this country in such 
fashion that nothing but an outside force breaking in can disturb 
their domination and control; and, therefore, the Democratic 

"Lessons from Lincoln" 397 

party stands up in the presence of these gentlemen and says: 
"We are not denying your integrity; we are not denying your 
purpose, but the thought of the people of the United States has 
not yet penetrated to your consciousness. You are willing to act 
for die people, but you are not willing to act through the people/' 

The Democratic party, time out of mind, has believed that 
every country is rescued from unfavorable conditions by a self- 
assertion on the part of the neglected portions of the community. 
The community in the United States has not been brought within 
the councils of the nation. 

It is impossible for me, ladies and gentlemen, with my impaired 
voice, that I have impaired in your service, to expound to you 
at any length today, and the circumstances render it unsuitable 
that I should explain to you at any length today the issues and 
the intricacies of the present campaign. But what I want to 
leave with you is this suggestion: You furnish the nation with the 
judgment, with the discrimination, to pick out a man from the 
ranks who would go in and give the government of the United 
States a new point of view, and I want to ask you if it isn't time 
that the government of the United States should be renewed 
with fresh blood from the outside. And I ask you if it isn't suitable 
that men who knew Lincoln, men of the same breed with Lin- 
coln, men of the same sympathies with Lincoln, should assert 
themselves in a declaration of independence which is necessary 
for this nation now to pronounce against the economic forces 
which have been governing it. 

I have come here touched with the spirit of the place, filled 
with a reverence for the associations connected with the great 
name. You gave the country this man. Now, can you not at this 
critical stage of the nation's history back the party which stands 
for the things which Lincoln loved and try to see things from 
the point of view where Lincoln stood? 

I do not for one moment believe that Lincoln would admit 
that the party which is seeking to legalize monopoly was the 
same party that he had belonged to. I won't pretend to say what 
a great man like Lincoln would have done in this day, but I have 
my own shrewd guess about the matter. And I believe that with 
that infallible instinct of his, that invariable sympathy with the 
general body of the people, he would have lined himself up with 
the men who are for a new order of things in the United States. 

308 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

We have a very erratic comet now sweeping across our hori- 
zon, but we have our eyes upon the stable constellations, and we 
are not going to follow the erratic course of an incalculable body 
even though it be heavenly. For we are going to reckon by the 
course of die stars and live in the light of the undying sun which 
shines alike upon all men, the just and the unjust, which uncovers 
the trusts and brings up the crops. And when the men who culti- 
vate the crops of this country, when the men who make the real 
bone and sinew of this country make up their minds that they 
are going to be the rulers of this country, then we won't need 
any erratic comet to lead us. We shall follow the old stars, and 
live with them in their eternal majesty and serenity. 

October 9 

AN IMPOSING array of prominent Democrats accompanied Wilson as 
he left the Illinois State Fair Grounds and boarded the train for St. 
Louis. In addition to the Federal and the car for the news corre- 
spondents, there were two other private cars attached to the cam- 
paign special. One was Goltra's, carrying such prominent Missourians 
as Champ Clark; State's Attorney General Elliott W. Major; and three 
former governors of the state David R. Francis, Alexander M. Dock- 
ery, and Joseph W. Folk. In the other private car, that of Charles 
Boeschenstein, Illinois Democratic national committeeman, were sev- 
eral prominent Illinois citizens and officials from the Democratic head- 
quarters in Chicago. 1 

Goltra, who headed the St. Louis reception committee, had made 
lavish preparations to celebrate Wilson's arrival. Thousands of persons 
were at Union Station when the campaign special arrived at 5:00 P.M., 
and the candidate hurried forward to the engine to shake hands with 
the train crew. Having made this gesture, he was escorted to the street, 
where he received the plaudits of the crowd and witnessed the most 
spectacular demonstration he had encountered during the campaign. 
Fifteen thousand men bearing torches marched through the city in his 
honor. Among the numerous bands accompanying them was a group 
of Scottish bagpipers. One section of marchers was made up entirely 

Welcome to St. Louis 399 

of Negroes, some of whom did fancy dance steps in time with the 
music of their band. Other marchers held signs aloft bearing such 


POVERTY." Wilson's tired face brightened as he rode along the wind- 
ing procession amid the cheers of the marchers. 2 

Soon after his arrival he was back at his speechmaking. First, he 
delivered two very short speeches; one at the City Club, where he 
described how the Democratic party's program would benefit business 
in general by forcing a change in the practices of monopolistic big 
business; the other in East St. Louis, a six-minute talk that was part 
of a "Wilson Day" celebration in front of the city hall. 8 Next the recep- 
tion committee escorted him to the Jefferson Hotel, where he spoke at 
a banquet of the Missouri State Democratic Press Association. 4 His 
opening remarks to the editors stressed the great responsibility resting 
on the newspapers in their work of molding public opinion for the 
welfare of the country. He noted that the revelations of the Clapp 
committee concerning contributions to campaign funds had not sur- 
prised the editors of the newspapers. "You know just as well as if it 
had been part of your familiar thought all along," he said, 

that these corporations, these great interests, were contributing to 
the success of the Republican party. I dare say that corporations 
have upon occasion contributed to Democratic funds but never 
in anything like the same proportion, never with anything like the 
same expectation with which they have contributed to Republican 
funds. You have known always, if you have known anything, that 
the big business interests of this country supported the Repub- 
lican party with the expectation and the exaction that the Re- 
publican party should take care of them. That is the system with 
a big "S" upon which the Republican party has been maintained. 
I am not saying this by way of indictment. I am not saying it by 
way of blame. It is merely an accepted and acknowledged fact. 
And now we are face to face with this problem: how to convince 
public opinion that a party based and supported upon that system 
can rescue the country from the very things which that system 
has set up. 

The rest of this talk, delivered as the music from the great parade 
drifted in through the open windows, criticized the positions of both 
the Bull Moose party and the regular Republican party on conserva- 
tion, the trusts, and monopoly; and emphasized the importance of set- 
ting the government of the United States free from the forces which, 
he felt, were restraining it. 

400 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

October 9 

THE ST. Louis Democratic leaders had planned to make Wilson's 
evening address at the Coliseum the climax of their celebration. And 
celebration it was, because it was now becoming clear to the country 
that Wilson was pulling further and further ahead of his two oppo- 
nents. Lloyd's of London had quoted him as a two-to-one favorite. The 
feeling of victory in the offing had communicated itself to the crowds. 
It was in the atmosphere. 2 

When the Democratic nominee finally walked upon the platform of 
the Coliseum arm in arm with Goltra, several thousand disappointed 
persons, many of whom had participated in the parade, had been left 
on the outside trying to gain entrance. Some of these when they heard 
the ovation that greeted Wilson inside the auditorium broke through 
the cordon of police and stampeded into the aisles. Former Governor 
Francis rapped vigorously for several minutes without restoring quiet. 
And when Champ Clark took Wilson by the hand and walked to the 
front of the platform to make the introduction, pandemonium broke 
loose again. Nor did Wilson himself succeed in subduing the animal 
spirits of the audience. "Show your face," yelled one man in the front 
row, "that's about all you can do with a crowd like this." 8 Wilson soon 
decided that that was good advice, for the audience was not so much 
interested in hearing him discuss the issues of the campaign as in show- 
ing its enthusiasm. Before ending his fifteen-minute speech, the candi- 
date called for a new approach to the problems of the day, for "a new 
freedom in the administration of the nation's affairs." 

. . . Whichever side we turn we are in search of some sort of 
liberty, economic liberty, political liberty, social liberty. Now 
whither shall we turn to get it? Shall we turn to the regular Re- 
publican nominee under whose administration these things have 
grown more and more firm in their control over the government? 
Shall we turn to the leader of the third party under whose ad- 
ministration more monopolies were built up than under any 
other administration that the country has had? Both branches 

A Bloodless Revolution 401 

of the Republican party stand pat both on the tariff and on the 
trusts. They do utter some mild protests against the trusts, but 
they offer no remedy which does not fasten upon us, as it has 
never been fastened upon us before, the very system of which 
we complain. 

And so I say that this war of emancipation is a war which we 
must undertake for ourselves. Fresh hands must undertake the 
administration of the government; men who have not been en- 
tangled by these things, parties that have not formed these alli- 
ances must undertake the government of the United States. A 
new day demands a new sort of administration, a new approach, 
a new vision, a new freedom in the administration of affairs. 

This great company has not come here to hear a discussion, it 
has come here to express a feeling, a great impulse an impulse 
which need not have articulate voice, which speaks in the cries 
of the people that they wish some leader somewhere to emerge 
who will show them a new way. Now if it should be my privilege 
to show them a new way, if it should be the privilege of the great 
party for which I speak to show the people of the United States 
the way to recover the ancient practices and liberties of their 
government, I should indeed be proud but I should also be over- 
whelmed with the sense of responsibility; for the Democratic 
party must now once and for all absolutely redeem its pledges 
or else never again seek the suffrages of the people of the United 

It is in this spirit that I greet you. It is with this sense of re- 
sponsibility that I look around upon this great company. I go 
away from here as if each one of you had put upon me a new 
bond to keep the promises of a great national organization. 


Address Delivered at McVicker's Theater, Chicago, October 10 

WILSON'S TRAIN reached Union Station in Chicago at ten o'clock the 
next morning. The weather was raw and foggy, but the citizens of the 
"Windy City" were out in force to greet him. The rival Harrison and 

402 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

Sullivan factions, having arranged a temporary truce, paraded the 
Democratic nominee through the business district where he was 
showered with ticker tape. 2 The correspondent of the Chicago Daily 
Tribune noticed that the sidewalk spectators cheered only occasionally 
but studied Wilson intently as if to determine what kind of a person he 
was. The candidate, in turn, paid special attention to the dandies of 
the parade, the members of the Cook County Democracy Marching 
Club, who were attired in Prince Albert coats and high hats and 
carried canes. 8 

On arriving at the Congress Hotel, Wilson was escorted to the presi- 
dential suite, where he chatted with newsmen for a few minutes. He 
then departed for a reception at the Southern Club. 4 

In acknowledgement of the introduction to two thousand "trans- 
planted Southerners" by the president of the club, Wilson said: "That 
makes me feel at home because I am a transplanted Southerner also, 
but I have lost my identity among the millions of American people. 
I am a transplanted growth not a flower; I am too old and faded to 
be a flower." 

At noon he began his speech at McVicker's Theater. Although the 
hall was packed, the audience was neither so large nor so boisterous 
as the crowds he had addressed at Kansas City and St. Louis. Relaxed 
by the feeling of being on intimate terms with his listeners, he spoke 
very effectively in what one newsman described, quite appropriately, 
as "a half -humorous and epigrammatic vein." 8 

Mayor Harrison presented Governor Wilson to the audience, and 
among the dignitaries sitting on the stage was seventy-seven-year-old 
Adlai Ewing Stevenson of Illinois, Vice-President during the second 
administration of Grover Cleveland. 7 

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen: 

If you will be very patient with this tired voice of mine, I can 
assure you that with a little coaxing it will grow. I esteem it a 
great pleasure to stand in this great city again and face an audi- 
ence like this, because I know that Illinois is now one of the 
battlegrounds upon which are to be determined some of the 
most vital national questions they have ever witnessed settled 
at the hands of the American people. Why, in Illinois you have 
a great deal to do. You have die chance not only of electing a 
great progressive governor whom I have the honor to know and 
the pleasure to support, but you also have an opportunity to send 
two Democratic senators to the Senate of the United States 

A Bloodless Revolution 403 

there to constitute part of the team that is going to put over the 
great new era upon which we have set out. Because, ladies and 
gentlemen, we stand in the presence of a revolution not a bloody 
revolution, America is not given to the spilling of blood but to 
a revolution of opportunity, a revolution whereby America will 
insist upon recovering in practice those ideals which she has 
always professed in the matter of an exceptional government, a 
government devoted to the general interest and not to special 
interests. And so it seems to me that we ought very carefully to 
think what we are about. 

I have been greatly exhilarated, as I have passed from one 
part of this great nation to another, by the generous cheers of 
the people who have greeted me, but cheers are not going to 
settle this contest. Steadfast principle, clear vision, fearless think- 
ing are going to save this nation and nothing else. Therefore it 
is my duty whenever I have the privilege of facing an audience 
to call their attention to the very serious issues which are at stake; 
for myself, they are nothing else for America than the issues of 
life and death. 

Why are we in the presence, why are we at the threshold, of a 
revolution? Because we are profoundly disturbed by the influ- 
ences which we see reigning in the determination of our public 
life and our public policy. There was a time when America was 
blithe with self-confidence. She boasted that she, and she alone, 
knew any of the processes of the popular government. But now 
she sees her sky overcast; she fears that there are forces at work 
which she did not dream of in her hopeful youth. 

There are cities in America, gentlemen, of whose government 
we are ashamed. There are cities in which we feel that, not the 
interests of the public, but the interests of special groups, of 
selfish men, are served; where contracts take precedence over 
the public interest. 

There are states in the United States whose people feel that 
they have no direct control whatever over the course of affairs. 
I live in one of the great states of the Union, which was at one 
time in slavery. Until two years ago I had witnessed with increas- 
ing concern the growth in New Jersey of a spirit almost of cyni- 
cal despair. Men said: "We vote; we are offered the platforms 
we want; we elect the men who stand on those platforms; and 
we get absolutely nothing." So they began to say: "What is the 

404 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

use of voting? We know that the machines of both parties are 
subsidized by the same persons, and therefore it is hopeless to 
turn in either direction." 

Have you not noted the growth of socialistic sentiment in this 
country, gentlemen? I stopped at a little town called Wymore, 
Nebraska about a year and a half ago. I met a very engaging 
young fellow on the platform, while my train lingered . . . 
who introduced himself to me as the mayor of the town, and im- 
mediately added that he was a Socialist. I said: 'Well, what does 
that mean? Does that mean that this town is socialistic?" "No, 
sir," he said, "I have not deceived myself; the vote by which I 
was elected was about twenty per cent socialistic and eighty 
per cent protest." I didn't have to ask him what it was eighty 
per cent protest against. It was against the treachery to the public 
of those who led both of the other parties in that town. 

We are dissatisfied with the course of our national government 
also. It isn't confined to some of the state governments and some 
of the cities. We feel that something intervenes between the 
people of the United States and the control of their own affairs 
at Washington. 

Every now and again we distinguish the spokesmen of these 
forces that hold us off from our own affairs. Until the recent senior 
Senator from Rhode Island retired because his weather eye ap- 
prised him that it was time, everybody who thought of the United 
States Senate thought of Mr. Aldrich as the spokesman of those 
interests from which the government of the United States found 
no way to escape. His leadership, his spokesmanship, was open 
I had almost said "avowed" and there were considerations 
governing the measure which he suggested to the Senate of the 
United States which he refused to disclose to his fellow senators, 
and the Senate of the United States voted schedules of the tariff 
which he refused to explain to them. The very members of the 
Finance Committee, if they were not in sympathy with Mr. 
Aldrich, could not have access to his information. And so, in 
whichever direction we turn, we find that something has control 
of the public affairs of this country with which we have not 
yet successfully reckoned. And now we are about to reckon with 

I want to say to you very frankly that I don't feel vindictive 
about it. Some of the men who have exercised this control are 

A Bloodless Revolution 405 

excellent fellows; they really believe that the prosperity of the 
United States depends upon them. They really believe that if the 
leadership of economic development in this country dropped 
from their hands, the rest of us are too muddle-headed to under- 
take the task. They not only comprehend the power of the United 
States within their grasp, but they comprehend it within their 
imagination. They are honest men. They have just as much right 
to present their views as I have to present mine or you to present 
yours, but it is just about time that we examined their views and 
determined their validity. 

That is the reason I was careful to explain something to Mr. 
Roosevelt the other day. I am very slow to explain anything. But 
when I said that the trust program of the third party had the 
support of the United States Steel Corporation, Mr. Roosevelt 
seemed to think that I had charged that he was pecuniarily 
supported by the United States Steel Corporation. Now, I don't 
know whether he is or not; and so far as the point that I was argu- 
ing is concerned, it doesn't make any difference to me whether 
he is or not. What does make a great deal of difference to me is 
that he is being supported by the ideas of the United States Steel 
Corporation. I don't believe that a trust program which would 
rob them of their monopolistic domination would be likely to 
meet with their approval. For there again we are dealing with 
many honest men who believe that if they didn't thread all the 
structure of the American economic system with their steel it 
would fall to pieces; whereas I am credibly informed that 
there are other people who know how to manufacture steel. I 
am credibly informed that where the competition lies they are 
not gaining but losing, and that they are gaining only where 
their monopoly lies; that is to say, in die cruder products of iron 
and steel. When they make their supremacy upon the basis of 
efficiency, I'll take off my hat to them; but until they do, I shall 
keep in the lists against every form of monopoly. 

But I have wandered from my theme. My theme is this: All 
over the United States we are saying there are certain things we 
have got to get rid of, and the first thing we generally mention 
is political bosses. Now, the bosses we want to get rid of are not 
political bosses, because the gentlemen who manage politics for 
the special interests are not politicians. They are the business 
agents of these special interests in politics. They are of that breed, 

406 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

the breed of the gentlemen who utter the celebrated question, 
"What is the Constitution between friends?" It is a basis of 
friendship, you say.* 

Here again, while I may have been a very innocent person two 
years ago, I have dealt with realities meantime. And I have been 
very much interested to observe that the chief supporters of men 
like Mr. James Smith, Jr., of New Jersey were not Democrats, 
but gentlemen engaged in certain large undertakings and con- 
trolling Republican newspapers Republicans, not because the 
rank and file of Republicans believe in that sort of thing. But 
until recently the rank and file of Republican newspapers sup- 
ported that sort of thing because some newspapers are owned by 
some people, some by others, and the owner has unusual influence 
upon the opinions of the editors. I knew who owned the papers 
that were supporting this gentleman. Therefore I knew that 
there was no party politics in them; that they were neither Demo- 
crats nor Republicans. They were banded together to see that 
nothing was done that they didn't want done, either in New 
Jersey or in the United States. Therefore don't lay up the sins 
of this kind of business to political organization. 

Organization is legitimate, is necessary, is even distinguished 
when it lends itself to the carrying out of great causes; and the 
men who lead organizations are not thereby bosses, but the men 
who use organizations to promote private purposes are bosses. 
You are not going to get rid of those bosses until you get rid of 
their masters and employers. And their masters and employers 
are the promoters of special privilege. The masters and employers 
are those who believe that there ought to be an inside to govern- 
ment as well as an outside to government; whereas I believe that 
if it is necessary to have any walls at all they should be made 
of glass. 

When I became governor, I found that there was a habit that 
I had to break up on the part of my callers, and that was the 
habit of talking behind their hands. When a man tried to draw 
me off in the corner of the room, I knew exactly what he was 
after. And I stood pat on that occasion. I didn't allow myself to 

This remark is reputed to have been made by Timothy J. Campbell, Tammany 
member of the House of Representatives, to President Grover Cleveland. See Bur- 
ton Stevenson, ed,, Home Book of Quotations (New York, Dodd, Mead, 1934), 
p. 307. 

A Bloodless Revolution 407 

be drawn away from the open door which to me was a symbol 
of my connection with the people of New Jersey. 

If you want to liberate your city governments, therefore, where 
they need liberation, if you want to set your state governments 
free, if you want to get at the government of the nation by the 
processes of genuine public opinion, don't remove the middleman. 
Remove the men back of the middlemen, and see to it that there 
are no special privileges which can be served by these secret 
and illicit processes. Because there are certain things that we 
ought to do. For example, we want pure food in the United 
States. As long as there are special interests at the ear of the 
government at Washington, we can't have pure food in the 
United States. And there are such influences; the evidences are 
too abundant to escape even casual notice. 

I want to say in this connection that the other day in speaking 
of pure food I did an unintentional injustice to a certain great 
industry in the United States by a mere slip of the tongue. I 
spoke as if the canning industry were engaged in preserving 
food by chemical processes. When I said "canning," it was a mere 
slip of the tongue; for, of course, I know that the chemical 
processes are the processes of preservation which are not prac- 
ticed by the great canning industry.* 

But now that I have made that explanation and apology which 
I have sought an opportunity to make, I want to say that our 
morals lie very close to the subject of chemistry. As a college 
man I am glad to see college subjects getting into politics. Perhaps 
if you will study a little more chemistry, you will be a little more 
squeamish as to what you swallow. And when you think that 
chemistry is a means of purifying the public conscience, it be- 
comes very interesting indeed. When the mere properties of a 
particular preservative have to do with the whole vigor of the 
people of the United States, then it becomes very important that 
we should memorize every process of preservation. 

It is also necessary that we should memorize every process of 
conservation. Here is this great central valley of the United States 
with innumerable engineering enterprises waiting to be under- 
taken, to develop all the great system of inland waterways. There 
are those great slopes to the west of us on which lie the forests 
so rapidly being stripped away, where lie the upper courses of 

* See above, p. 160. 

408 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

the rivers upon which we depend for the fertilization of our fields 
and for the driving power of our factories. There lie the mines, 
there lies that great treasure house of Alaska; and all the country 
waits on the government of the United States to develop its 
conservation policy. And why doesn't [the government] * develop 
it? Because there are men named Guggenheim f because there 
are men bearing this, that, and the other name who are stalking 
like specters in the background; and we are not sure that we 
have got law enough or firmness enough or intelligence enough 
in Washington to keep them from closing their hands upon the 
resources of the United States. We know that our mines are al- 
ready too nearly monopolized; and yet we turn hither and 
thither and do not know what to do because the gentlemen who 
own the mines are so persuasive and pervasive in politics. And 
so every way we turn, the road may start this way or that way; 
then it sweeps around. It sweeps around to a single thing. It 
sweeps around to this question: Who now exercises monopoly in 
the United States? And so we have to say: "Which way are we 
going to turn?" 

I have been very much interested in reading every day the 
platform of the third party. And at last I am beginning to under- 
stand it. A voice over here just now said "Hurrah for Teddy." 
Now wait a minute and let's see. Mr. Roosevelt has attached to 
his platform some very splendid suggestions as to noble enter- 
prises which we ought to undertake for the uplift of the human 
race; but when I hear an ambitious platform put forth, I am very 
much more interested in the dynamics of it than in the rhetoric 
of it. I have a very practical mind, and I want to know who are 
going to do those things and how are they going to be done. 

Let every man with progressive opinions and tendencies in 
this country examine himself and see where he can afford to 
make his alliances. Because, if there is any meaning in the things 
that I have been urging upon you, it is this: that the incubus 

The editor has substituted the bracketed words for "it" in the Swexn Notes. 

f In 1910 President Taft had issued an executive order granting 12,800 acres in 
Alaska to the Morgan-Guggenheim syndicate. Next year sensational charges were 
made in the press that this syndicate, with the approval of the Taft administration, 
was conspiring to monopolize the coal fields of Alaska by controlling the transporta- 
tion of that territory. In the end, the charges proved to be exaggerated since the 
Taft administration showed that it had done nothing illegal. Brandeis, however, 
questioned Taft's wisdom in making such a grant. See Mason, Brandeis, pp. 282-9. 

A Bloodless Revolution 409 

that lies upon this country is the present monopolistic organiza- 
tion of our industrial life. That is the incubus that lies upon us. 
That is the thing which certain men became "insurgent Republi- 
cans" in order to throw off; and now they have allowed them- 
selves to be so misled as to go into the camp of the third party 
in order to remove what the third party proposes to legalize. 

I ask you to read, and, if necessary, read as often as I have read 
it, the trust plank in that platform. It is very long, but it is very 
interesting. It doesn't anywhere condemn monopoly even by 
implication. It simply says that the trusts have been bad and 
must be made good. You know Mr. Roosevelt long ago classified 
trusts for us as good and bad, and he said that he is afraid only 
of the bad ones. Now he doesn't intend that there should be any 
more bad ones. He intends that they should be made good by 
discipline, directly applied by a commission of his own appoint- 
ment. Yet all that he complains of is lack of publicity and lack of 
fairness; not the exercise of power, for throughout that plank 
power is accepted as the inevitable consequence of the modern 
organization of industry. All that it is proposed to do is to take 
this under control and "constructive regulation" for such is the 
word of the national administration. Now, I am afraid that, the 
national administration having for sixteen years been under the 
"constructive regulation" of the trusts, it will be a family matter 
when the parts are reversed and the other member of the family 
exercises the regulation. For these persons whom it is proposed 
to regulate have dominated some of the greatest questions in 
America. You take the biggest of the trusts and what have they 
done? They, and they alone, have absolutely succeeded in crush- 
ing out organized labor, among other things. Yet these trusts 
which are to continue to administer our affairs under the mollify- 
ing influences of the federal government are the instrumentali- 
ties, if you please, by which all the humanistic, benevolent pro- 
gram, or the rest of the program, is to be carried outl 

I don't care to be treated benevolently by anybody. Justice and 
righteousness do not proceed from pity. They proceed from a 
clear and clean conscience; they proceed from a knowledge of 
human circumstances; they proceed from the compelling influ- 
ence of conviction. They do not come from condescension or pity 
or fear. Therefore I say that unless we can get justice in this 
country as if it were the very air, the very effluence of our own 

410 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

convictions, we shall not get it at all, except in the form of 
patronage and condescension and pitiful helpfulness. The trusts 
are our masters now, but I for one do not care to live in a coun- 
try called free even under kind masters. I prefer to live under 
no masters at all. And so the single thing in my thought, in my 
own thought,- which commends me to the consideration of the 
American people is that I have not been bred to that kind of 
subjection. I know that every man who is himself free in business, 
or in politics, is glad that I am free. Only those who are them- 
selves not free try to throw the nets of influence and of circum- 
stance and of suggestion around me. Fortunately, I am such a 
novice at politics that I don't even know when they are trying it. 
And so in this opening of a new age with a new age to realize 
as well as to dream of, with things to be done that America has 
attempted again and again to do and has found herself disap- 
pointed, in this age of growing and somewhat justified discontent, 
it is our duty to clear the air, to bring about common counsel, to 
say: "We are fighting no man. We are bringing all men to under- 
stand one another. We are not the friends of any class as against 
any other class. But our duty is to make classes understand one 
another. Our duty is to lift so high the incomparable standards of 
the common interest and the common justice that all men with 
vision, all men with hope, all men with the conviction of America, 
will crowd to that standard and a new day of achievement may 
come for the liberty we love/' 


Address Delivered in the Seventh Regiment Armory, Chicago 
October 10 

FROM McVicxER's THEATER Wilson was escorted to the Iroquois 
Club on La Salle Street, where he lunched with a group of supporters. 
Soon afterwards he attended a reception given by the Wilson-Marshall 
Woman's League of Chicago. Dr. Julia Holmes Smith, president of 
this organization, had announced in advance that there would be no 
shaking of hands with their honored guest, but Wilson overruled her, 

To "The Fighting Irish Seventh" 411 

with the result that he was almost swept off his feet by a wave of femi- 
nine admirers. 2 In a brief talk he thanked the members of the league 
for their moral support. "I am frank to admit," he added, "I like the 
nonpolitical part of politics better than the political side." 8 

In the evening he had to cope with another huge crowd of between 
ten and fifteen thousand persons assembled in the Seventh Regiment 
Armory. Fortunately the acoustics of the drill hall were fairly good and 
his audience was more in the mood for listening than the vast throngs 
he had addressed in Kansas City and St. Louis. But, not having re- 
gained the full use of his voice, he spoke very briefly, leaving it to 
Dudley Field Malone, his traveling companion, to delight the audience 
with a free-swinging, slashing attack upon Taft and Roosevelt and 
their parties. 4 

Wilson's speech was mostly a tribute to the immigrants, especially 
to the Irish, for their great contributions to American culture. It was 
obviously designed to counteract the recent publication by his op- 
ponents of parts in his History of the American People that gave an 
unfavorable picture of some of the "new" immigrants to the United 

Mr. Chairman, fellow citizens: 

I very warmly appreciate the generous introduction which I 
have just listened to, and I only wish that I could borrow my in- 
troducer's magnificent voice. I left the best tones of my voice in 
the state of Indiana. [Voice from audience: "Good place!"] (A 
very good place. ) When I came here this evening, I forgot where 
it was I was going to speak. When I was told that it was to be 
the armory of the Fighting Irish Seventh, then I knew that that 
was where I wanted to be. 

I have in me a very interesting and troublesome mixture of 
bloods. I get all my stubbornness from the Scotch, and then there 
is something else that gives me a great deal of trouble which I 
attribute to the Irish. At any rate it makes me love a scrap, and 
so I knew that if I was to be privileged to speak in this armory 
I would be forgiven for speaking in a somewhat militant manner. 

As I reflected upon the great bodies of people that have come 
to this great country of ours with the love of liberty in their 
hearts, not only the great Irish people, but the great liberty- 
loving men and women from every civilized country on the globe; 
the great people of liberty-loving Poland, where so much blood 

412 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

has been spent in the cause of human rights; the ancient Italian 
people, whose love of liberty runs back to the days of the Roman 
republic; the great Slavic people; the great peoples out of Sicily; 
the great peoples from every quarter of the globe who have come 
to America in order to be free, I reflected upon this question: 
What did they come to be free from? What was there that they 
wanted to get rid of in the countries which they left and hoped 
to find in the country in which they took refuge and made a 
new home for themselves? 

What was it that these militant people came to fight for? Why, 
they came to fight for a release from arbitrary power of every 
land, and of every degree; they came to fight against the arbitrary 
power of governments; the arbitrary control of aristocracy; the 
arbitrary privilege of classes that did not allow their privileges 
to be interfered with by the general interests of the people. And 
when I thought whether they had found what they came to seek 
or not, I reflected upon the presen* circumstances of our political 
life; and I was glad that I was to be with some representatives 
of the Fighting Seventh, because it seems to me that there is a 
great deal to fight for if we are to satisfy the expectations and 
the hopes of mankind. 

While these people have escaped the open and avowed tyranny 
of special classes and of arbitrary governments, they have not 
escaped in America the private power of privilege and of narrow 
and exclusive power. For in America we have found this: that 
privilege has crept upon us in the dark; that privilege has laid 
its hand secretly on the government; that men who grow power- 
ful because of the very freedom of the land in which we live, men 
who grow powerful because of the very opportunities which the 
world has sought to share with us, found presently that under 
the shadow of the government's patronage they could control 
the government itself, found that the secret ways of power were 
possible in America, where public ways of power would have 
been impossible in America. 

You know the system by which they have maintained their 
power. These men have found elections an inconvenience, but 
nevertheless not a bar to their power. They have gone through 
the forms of election because they knew they could control tick- 
ets. They knew they could control the personnel not only of our 
executive offices but of our legislative chambers, and sometimes 

To "The Fighting Irish Seventh" 413 

to our shame, be it said, even of our courts; and that all they had 
to do was to keep under cover in order to exercise the absolutely 
arbitrary powers of government. 

So that what I have to ask myself as I face the possible future 
of the United States is this: Do the people of the United States 
see distinctly what it is that they have to fight, and have they 
made up their minds that they are going to fight it to the finish? 
For my own part, it is perfectly evident what there is to fight 
in the United States. I am not one of those who believe that 
those who have maintained secret power in America are all bad 
men, who mean to do a malevolent thing and to change the char- 
acter of government in the United States. Many of them are men 
who have been bred in a system, now perfectly obvious and 
patent to the eye of every man, to which they have grown so ac- 
customed that they have honestly come to believe that the govern- 
ment of the United States is safe only under the aegis of their 
influence and of their guidance. You know what the system is. 
It is being uncovered every day at Washington. 

Nobody need be surprised, I dare say nobody was surprised, 
to find that the chief contributions to campaign funds had come 
from particular corporations; because it had become obvious that, 
whether these corporations intended to corrupt the government 
or not, they had grown in the habit of controlling the govern- 
ment, and that this was the recognized means by which they got 
influence over the councils, not only of the Executive at Wash- 
ington, but also of the committees of Congress. 

For a long time we knew these things and did not rise up in 
arms against them, and it is only now that we are beginning to 
realize how deeply significant the whole thing is. We are jealous 
now who makes contributions to political campaigns because we 
know that those who make contributions expect to get the chief 
consideration of the government, and that they levy tribute of 
special privilege in order as a guarantee that they will be justified 
in continuing to support the party to which they give their 

I dare say that corporations have contributed in times past 
to Democratic campaign funds, but they have done so only as 
an anchor to windward; they have done so only because, con- 
tributing a great deal to the one side, they thought they had better 
contribute a little to the other, and so hedge on their bets. 

414 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

They have done so, not because of the direct implication of 
the public leaders of the two parties, but because of the direct 
implication of the private managers of both parties; for we live, 
ladies and gentlemen, we have lived in too many parts of this 
country under a system of secret management and secret man- 
agement which was conducted through the astuteness, through 
the power, through the sleepless activity of men who acted as 
the go-betweens between politics and business. 

A great many businessmen in this audience will bear me wit- 
ness that they have been the victims of this system as well as 
the beneficiaries of it; that they have a tribute levied on them 
as the price of protection just as often as they have contributed 
money in order to get favors; that therefore the whole bad system 
is against the interests of all of us alike, is something that for 
the common benefit we ought all to unite against. 

Very well then, if we are to redeem the promises of America 
to mankind, we must redeem the government of the United 
States from private control. I know something of this business 
because about two years ago I was put at the head of a govern- 
ment which had been under private control. I know exactly the 
kind of forces that have to be fought, and I know also men glad 
to do that. 

Some of the men who exercised the control were very much 
ashamed of it and were glad to get rid of it. Because the general 
revival of conscience in this country has not been confined to 
those who were consciously fighting special privilege. The waken- 
ing of conscience has extended to those who have enjoyed special 
privileges, and I thank God that the businessmen of this country 
are beginning to see the economic organization of this country 
in its true light as an aristocracy of privilege which they them- 
selves must escape from if they are to exercise the real freedom 
of enterprise. 

And therefore when I began my speech by saying that I was 
glad to be in a place whose associations were with a fighting 
regiment, I wasn't thinking about the spilling of blood; I wasn't 
thinking about violence; I wasn't thinking about setting class 
against class; I wasn't thinking of any enterprise which ought to 
disturb the American system in regard to any of its sound founda- 
tions. I was thinking of that enterprise which every man of a 
clear, enlightened conscience must wish to take part in, in liberat- 

To "The Fighting Irish Seventh" 415 

ing the government which he loves, which he serves, and which 
must save him from every kind of private control and thralldom. 
It is a theme which ought to stir the blood and quicken the mind 
of any man who has the spirit of public service. 

I wish that I had a voice in which to express to you the great 
theme that is in my mind and my conscience and my imagina- 
tion. For, as I look forward to the future years of the United 
States, they seem to me to be years bursting with increase and 
abundance, years clarified by a better and better conscience in 
public affairs, years wherein the government will be set free, 
years in which enterprise will be set free, years in which all 
the various peoples of the United States will be welded together 
into one blood and kindred and thought and we shall have a 
renaissance of the rights of man, the rights of man heretofore 
conceived in the terms of selfish individual liberty. 

But in this later age we are conceiving the rights of man in 
the terms of united liberty; and, where we will bring together by 
common enterprise, understanding our own interests because we 
understand the interests of others, serving ourselves because we 
are willing to serve mankind. 

I stand here tonight merely to challenge the attention of this 
great audience to the purpose, to the hope, to the conviction of 
the great free Democratic party; because, if I may say so without 
any intentional aspersion upon any other candidate, I will say 
that the Democratic party is the only party [Applause] (you 
caught the sentence in the middle but you were about right) 
the only party which has no entangling alliances, the only party 
whose candidates have no bonds, either past or present, the only 
party of national proportions, the only team ready to serve the 
nation. Because you know that, whereas there used to be two na- 
tional parties, there is now only one. I do not know whether the 
pieces of the other will ever come together or not; but I do know 
that such dismembered pieces of national parties as are lying 
around belong to the Republican party. 

I do not anywhere find any division, any lack of unity, any 
lack of fighting courage and of fighting confidence, in the ranks 
of the Democrats of the United States. You only confuse your 
thoughts by turning to the Republicans. You can clarify them 
only by turning to the Democrats. I have been turning to various 
parts of the country in recent months, and it seems to me that I 

416 Tart 6. Second Western Tour 

am witnessing a great uprising of the people of the United States. 
And I know that they are turning their faces towards a new age 
under the leadership of a party which, more than any other 
party, has seen the light and the command of the new age; and 
that, in the time to come, men will look back and be glad that 
there was a united host which could take the leadership of the 
American people in a time of critical change, when old things 
were not to be forgotten, when old principles were to be revived, 
when old principles were to be suited to the conditions of a new 
age calling upon the common counsels of a whole people to unite 
in liberating the great government of the United States. 

October 11 

AT 2:00 the next morning Wilson left Chicago for Ohio. Although his 
private car was attached to a slow train, he at least had the satisfaction 
of knowing that he had a light stint of speechmaking before him. He 
was scheduled to make only two speeches: one about noon at Canton, 
the home of William McKinley; the other in the evening at Cleveland. 2 
At Canton he once more launched an attack upon the protective tariff 
but had some words of praise for McKinley, afterwards placing a 
wreath at the tomb of that Republican leader. 

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: 

When I see a great audience like this before me I again regret 
that I left part of my voice in the state of Indiana. But what re- 
mains of it I shall take up in using in order to pay a tribute of 
reverent respect to the great President of the United States whose 
name is most closely associated with the city of Canton in Ohio. 
It is very delightful to me to be able to visit the place which I 
have so often heard of as his home. And by the same token I 
know the character of the audience that is before me. 

I know just how great a prejudice and how great a majority Mr. 

Canton, Ohio 417 

Whitacre * has to overcome in order to go back to Congress. I 
know how many of the people in front of me must I will not say 
"be" but "must have been" Republicans, because I find that the 
tense is changing in regard to Republicans. It is changing from 
the present to the past. I believe that I can say with perfect frank- 
ness that I am very much more interested in what you do to Mr. 
Whitacre than in what you do to me because I know the tested 
stuff of which his progressive principles are made. And I believe 
that progressive principles in the field of economics, as well as in 
the field of politics, are the only things that can set matters right 
in this country and set the government free again. 

I appeal to this audience with the greater confidence because 
they live in the home of William McKinley; because the char- 
acteristic thing about William McKinley was that before he died 
he showed symptoms of adjustment to the new age such as his 
successors have not exhibited. You remember perfectly well what 
the utterances of Mr. McKinley 's last months were with regard 
to the policy with which his name is particularly identified; I 
mean the policy of "protection." You remember how he joined in 
opinion with what Mr. Blaine had said before him: that we had 
set up in this country too rigid a system of restriction on the 
movement of trade and the development of manufacture; that we 
must look forward to a time, which ought to come very soon, 
when we should enter into reciprocal relations of trade with the 
chief countries of the world which was another way of saying 
that we must substitute elasticity for rigidity, that we must sub- 
stitute trade for closed ports, that we must open the veins of the 
United States so that her blood might flow freely again. McKinley 
saw what his successors did not see. He saw that we had made for 
ourselves a straitjacket, and that we must alter its pattern and 
alter its fabric. And so I am encouraged to believe that the people 
in this congressional district who were once honored by being 
represented by him honor his memory by being equally thought- 
ful, by being equally willing to open their minds to the influences 
and to the facts of a new age. For the difference between one set 
of leaders in this country and another is merely that the one set 
recognizes that we are operating under absolutely new conditions 
and the other set does not [recognize] that a new age demands a 
new policy. 

* John J. Whitacre of Canton, member of the House of Representatives. 

418 Part 8. Second Western Tour 

When I reflect upon the "protective" policy of this country and 
observe, as every thoughtful man must observe, that it is the later 
aspects and the later uses of that policy that have built up trusts 
and monopoly in the United States, then I make this contrast in 
my thought: Mr. McKinley had already uttered his protest 
against what he foresaw, and his successor saw what [McKinley] 
foresaw, and [he] did not stop it.* His successor saw those very 
special privileges, which Mr. McKinley himself began to detect 
as part of the "protective" policy of this country, used by the men 
who had obtained them in order to build up a monopoly for 
themselves which made freedom of enterprise in this country 
more and more difficult. Therefore, I am one of those who have 
the utmost confidence that McKinley would not have sanctioned 
the later developments of the policy with which he stands identi- 

What do you think monopoly of enterprise means? It means 
the monopoly of political power. There is where the pinch comes. 
Unless you destroy your master, you will be permanently put in 
thralldom and the masters of the government of the United States 
are the combined capitalists and manufacturers of the United 
States. It is written over every intimate page of the records of 
Congress, it is written all through the history of conferences at 
the White House [that ] the suggestions of economic policy in this 
country have come from one source, not from many sources. 

Until the people of the United States are brought into the con- 
ferences, there is no free government in the United States. That 
is what 7 mean when I say, "Bring the government back to the 
people." I don't mean anything that is demogogic. I don't mean 
to talk as if we wanted a great mass of men to rush in and destroy 
something. That isn't the idea. I want them to come in and take 
possession of their own premises; for I hold that the government 
belongs to the people of the United States, that they have a right 
to that intimate access to it which will determine every turn of 

* The editor has revised this sentence because it was somewhat garbled. See a 
sentence with similar meaning in Wilson, New Freedom, p. 147. 

t In the passage omitted below Wilson attacked the stand of each of the other 
major parties on the tariff and monopoly, again making the point that it was 
significant that Perkins was back of the Progressive party's plan for the regulation of 
monopoly by an industrial commission. 

Canton, Ohio 419 

its policy, that we ought always in all circumstances to think of 
the majority and not of the minority because I know where the 
strength of nations comes from. 

Any man who has read history knows where the strength of 
nations comes from. It does not come from the top; it comes from 
the bottom. It comes from the mass of unrecognized men. Why, 
as a university president, I knew that these gentlemen who domi- 
nate our manufacturing processes couldn't conduct their busi- 
ness for twenty-four hours without the assistance of the experts 
with whom the universities were supplying them. Because mod- 
ern industry depends upon technical knowledge; and all that 
these gentlemen did was to manage the external features of great 
combinations and financial operations, which had very little to do 
with the intimate skill with which the enterprises were con- 
ducted. I know that men not catalogued in the public prints, men 
not spoken of in public discussions, are the very bone and sinew 
of the United States. 

When men state to me ask me what I think about the labor 
question and the laboring men, I know that I am being asked 
what I think about the vast majority of the people of the United 
States. And I feel as if I were being asked to separate myself, as 
belonging to a particular class, from that great body of my fellow 
citizens who sustain and conduct the enterprises of the United 
States. And so I say that until we get [away from] * this point of 
view it is impossible to have a free government 

I ask you to make the test that I have made. I have listened 
to some very honest and eloquent Republican orators. And I have 
always detected this in what they said: that when they spoke of 
the people, they were not thinking of themselves; they were 
thinking of somebody of whom they were commissioned to take 
care. They are always planning to do things for the American 
people, and I have seen them visibly shiver when it was sug- 
gested that they arrange to have something done by the people 
of the United States. They say, "What do they know about it?" 

The Republican theory of government I challenge you to dis- 
prove it is a theory of government through a board of trustees, 
through a selected number of the big businessmen of the coun- 
try who know a lot that you don't know, and who take it for 
granted that your ignorance would wreck the prosperity of the 

* Cf . Wilson, New Freedom, p. 72. 

420 Part 6. Second Western Tour 

United States. And as I have said again and again and again, the 
ambition of both Mr. Taft and Mr. Roosevelt is to be elected 
president of the board of trustees. I have been president of one 
board of trustees, and I don't care to have another on my hands. 
I want to be President of the people of the United States. There 
was many a time when I was president of the board of trustees of 
a university when the undergraduates knew more than the trus- 
tees did. It has been a symbol in my thought ever since that if I 
could have handled the people who constituted Princeton Uni- 
versity I could have carried it forward much faster than I could 
under a majority of the board of trustees. 

And so I believe that what we are discussing now, ladies and 
gentlemen, is a choice in the form of government; and that you 
can't change the form of government until you have weeded out 
every special privilege that you [may have and] can find in the 
schedules of die protective tariff; and that until you have done 
that, you can't cut at the root of trusts and combinations; and that 
until you have cut at the root of trusts and combinations you 
haven't got a free government. 

Now, if you make your choice, you have got to make it on the 
fifth of November. Here is the parting of the ways. Nobody on 
the Republican side offers to change the character of the govern- 
ment. Mr. Roosevelt offers to do a great many fine things through 
the government. He offers to be very benevolent to the human 
race through it. But I am not in search of benevolence. I am in 
search of right and justice. I don't want any man to grant it. And 
therefore you have to choose your form of government as you 
choose your party and your leadership on the fifth of November. 

That is the reason I said at the beginning of my remarks today 
that I was so deeply interested in what was going to happen to 
Mr. Whitacre. Mr. Whitacre belongs to the free party. His op- 
ponents do not. Point out any entangling alliances that the 
Democrats have. You will say they never had a chance. But I am 
not now arguing their faults. I am arguing the fact they have no 
entangling alliances. 

I can say this for the gentleman whom they have nominated 
for the Presidency: that he was so short a time in politics that he 
didn't know whether he was entangled or not. He is just simple- 
minded enough to suppose that he is absolutely free to follow his 
own thought and his own conscience. I can at least say of his 

Canton, Ohio 421 

opponents that they are more sophisticated in politics than he is. 
And I venture to assert that it is sophistication that we want to 
get rid of and return to simplicity. Therefore, ladies and gentle- 
men, my plea with you is not to vote for me that is, a man, an 
individual but to vote the way your eyes see that the absolute 
conclusions of public affairs lead you. 

Don't let any man deceive you. Don't let the charm of any 
man, don't let the prestige of any man, don't let the personality 
of any man, blind you. Look what is behind him. Examine his 
table of contents. See what it is that he conceives the govern- 
ment to be and how he intends to use it. Then vote! Remember 
that the year 1912 has nothing to do with the year 1860. In 1860, 
although I was too young to know it, you and I were on opposite 
sides, but in 1912 I don't see what that has to do with it. And the 
way your grandfathers and fathers voted in an age utterly [tm]- 
like our own oughtn't to have any weight on your consciences. 

Are you going to be such sentimentalists that you are always 
going to vote in the church? Are you going to be so tied to old 
shibboleths and so attentive to old labels that you are going to 
vote the way you were predestined to vote? Why, I knew an old 
lady who was a very staunch Presbyterian, and when the Boer 
War broke out in South Africa, she had a very simple way of 
settling [it]. She said she knew the Boers were right because they 
were Presbyterians and the English were Episcopalians. That is 
the way many people settle their politics; they vote Republican 
because their families have voted Republican. Why, I have had 
men tell me with a look of self-sacrificing piety on their faces 
that they had never in their lives voted the Democratic ticket 
and were now going to take a cold plunge and vote it. You would 
have supposed that they were violating a law of nature. You 
would have supposed they were saying to you: "I have always 
walked on my feet; now I am going to try to walk on my hands 
and turn the world topsy-turvy by voting the Democratic ticket. 
Think of itl" Well, the Democratic ticket is to all intents and pur- 
poses a brand-new thing. It is a ticket of interpretation. I mean 
a platform of interpretation. Haven't you noticed that the Demo- 
crats have known for sixteen years what it has taken the third 
party all those sixteen years to discover? Don't you think that 
men who have calculated their curve by sixteen years know their 
direction a little better than men who have just planted one post? 

422 Part Q. Second Western Tow 

You can't set two posts in a row, can you? You have to have at 
least three to make a row. Now the Democrats have sixteen posts, 
and they know which way the field lies. And the third party has 
one post and you can't tell what gyration is going to occur around 
it. And they may go east, west, north, or south. They don't know 

I venture therefore to believe that you will go according to cer- 
tain calculations; and that you will take it for granted that a 
party whose momentum is in the direction in which you intend 
to go is a good party to climb aboard and not because it is a 
band wagon, though it appears to be that, but because it is going 
the right way on a solid road made of the imperishable macadam 
of good hard thinking and bedded in the rocks of sympathy with 
the great impulses of the human race. 

October 11 

ON THE WAY to Cleveland, during the afternoon, Wilson made an 
impromptu speech at the town hall in Orrville, an appearance his 
managers had not scheduled for him. There he assailed former Senator 
Aldrich of Rhode Island as a successor to Mark Hanna in the manipu- 
lation of economic power for political advantage. 1 

When the Federal came to a stop in the station at Cleveland at 
5:30 P.M., Mayor Newton D. Baker was on hand to welcome the 
traveler and to whisk him away to dine with a group of supporters at 
the University Club. To conserve the tired Wilson's energy, the local 
Democratic committee had intentionally avoided subjecting him to the 
fatiguing excitement of a parade. 2 

Shortly before eight o'clock Wilson appeared in company with 
Baker at the Central Armory, where about eight thousand persons had 
gathered. The weary campaigner was not at his best, but now and then 
he exhibited flashes of his oratorical skill. 8 

He emphasized principally the reasons why the Democratic party 
should be entrusted with the responsibility of administering the powers 
of the federal government. He contended that the Republicans had 
been false to American ideals in allowing the government to fall under 
the influence of selfish private interests. 

At Cleveland 


He arraigned both Taft and Roosevelt for their attitudes regarding 
the tariff and mo