Freedom Not Thralldom

Shall we submit to a monopolistic culture, to an authoritarian government that rules by strong-arming the public into submission? Woodrow Wilson says we shall not, and yet, what is being done? He falls short on his call to action. It should have been stronger.

“America is never going to submit to guardianship. America is never going to choose thralldom instead of freedom. Look what there is to decide! There is the tariff question. Can the tariff question be decided in favor of the people, so long as the monopolies are the chief counselors at Washington? There is the currency question. Are we going to settle the currency question so long as the government listens only to the counsel of those who command the banking situation?

“Then there is the question of conservation. What is our fear about conservation? The hands that are being stretched out to monopolize our forests, to prevent or pre-empt the use of our great power-producing streams, the hands that are being stretched into the 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 hand of monopoly. Are these men to continue to stand at the elbow of government and tell us how we are to save ourselves,– from themselves? You cannot settle the question of conservation while 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 elasticity and hope of our people.

“There are tasks awaiting 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 authority, to the instrumentalities which are to be indispensable to their lives?”

Let us take authority, then! Let us rise up against these forces that mean to keep us down!

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 3/Freemen Need No Guardians.” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 77-78. Print.

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