I am the friend of peace and mean to preserve it for America so long as I am able. . . . No course of my choosing or of their (nations at war) will lead to war. War can come only by the wilful acts and aggressions of others.
The westward march has stopped, upon the final plains of the Pacific; and now the plot thickenswith the change, the pause, the settlement, our people draw into closer groups, stand face to face, to know each other and be known.
And while you bring all countries with you, you come with a purpose of leaving all other countries behind you - bringing what is best of their spirit, but not looking over your shoulders and seeking to perpetuate what you intended to leave behind in them.
No thoughtful man ever came to the end of his life, and had time and a little space of calm from which to look back upon it, who did not know and acknowledge that it was what he had done unselfishly and for others, and nothing else, that satisfied him in the retrospect, and made him feel that he had played the man.
Be militant! Be an organization that is going to do things! If you can find older men who will give you countenance and acceptableleadership, follow them; but if you cannot, organize separately and dispense with them. There are only two sorts of men to be associated with when something is to be done: Those are young men and men who never grow old.
We forget that there is much more patriotism in having the audacity to differ from the majority than in running before the crowd; we forget that in the resistance of the minority some of the biggest things in our own history have been accomplished, and the man who looks on the Stars and Stripes and doesn't hold a right to say nay to his neighbor, even if the neighbor is of the larger party, has forgotten the history of his country.
No man ever saw the people of whom he forms a part. No man ever saw a government. I live in the midst of the Government of the United States, but I never saw the Government of the United States. Its personnel extends through all the nations, and across the seas, and into every corner of the world in the persons of the representatives of the United States in foreign capitals and in foreign centres of commerce.
Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise. Once and again one of those great influences which we call a Cause arises in the midst of a nation. Men of strenuous minds and high ideals come forward.... The attacks they sustain are more cruel than the collision of arms.... Friends desert and despise them.... They stand alone and oftentimes are made bitter by their isolation.... They are doing nothing less than defy public opinion, and shall they convert it by blows. Yes.
Once lead this people into war, and they'll forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance. To fight, you must be brutal and ruthless, and the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the very fiber of our national life, infecting Congress, the courts, the policeman on the beat, the man in the street.
...it would be a mistake...to ascribe to Roman legal conceptions an undivided sway over the development of law and institutions during the Middle Ages... The Laws of Moses as well as the laws of Rome contributed suggestions and impulse to the men and institutions which were to prepare the modern world; and if we could have but eyes to see... we should readily discover how very much besides religion we owe to the Jew.
If you would be a leader of men you must lead your own generation, not the next. Your playing must be good now, while the play ison the boards and the audience in the seats.... It will not get you the repute of a good actor to have excellencies discovered in you afterwards.
The greatest embarrassment of my political career has been that active duties seem to deprive me of time for careful investigation. I seem almost obliged to form conclusions from impressions instead of from study.... I wish that I had more knowledge, more thorough acquaintance, with the matters involved.
But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts--for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.
Our object now, as then, is to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power, and to set up among the really free and self-governed peoples of the world such a concert of purpose and of action as will henceforth insure the observance of those principles.