Out of the Unknown, that Great Voiceless Multitude

Where Woodrow Wilson says below “we have got to organize a government whose sympathies…” he makes me think of what I tried to do with Writeindependent.org.

“A nation is as great, and only as great, as her rank and file.

“So, the first and chief need of this nation of ours today is to include in the partnership of government all those great bodies of unnamed men who are going to produce our future leaders and renew the future energies of America….The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it. The man who is in the melee knows what blows are being struck and what blood is being drawn. The man who is on the make is the judge of what is happening in America, not the man who has made good; not the man who has emerged from the flood; not the man who is standing on the bank looking on, but the man who is struggling for his life and for the lives of those who are dearer to him than himself. That is the man whose judgment will tell you what is going on in America; that is the man by whose judgment I, for one, wish to be guided.

“We have had the wrong jury; we have had the wrong group, –no, I will not say the wrong group, but too small a group, –in control of the policies of the United States. The average man has not been consulted, and his heart had begun to sink for fear he never would be consulted again. Therefore, we have got to organize a government whose sympathies will be open to the whole body of the people of the United States, a government which will consult as large a proportion of the people of the United States as possible before it acts. Because the great problem of government is to know what the average man is experiencing and is thinking about. Most of us are average men very few of us rise, except by fortunate accident, above the general level of the community about us; and therefore the man who thinks common thoughts, the man who has had common experiences, is almost always the man who interprets America aright. Isn’t that the reason that we are proud of such stories as the story of Abraham Lincoln, — a man who rose out of the ranks and interpreted America better than any man had interpreted it who had risen out of the privileged classes or the educated classes of America?

“The hope of the United States in the present and in the future is the same that it has always been: it is the hope and confidence that out of the unknown homes will come men who will constitute themselves the masters of industry and of politics. The average hopefulness, the average welfare, the average enterprise, the average initiative, of the United States are the only things that make it rich. We are not rich because a few gentlemen direct our industry; we are rich because of our own intelligence and our own industry. America does not consist of men who set themselves up to be political leaders; she does not consist of the men who do most of her talking, –they are important only so far as they speak for that great voiceless multitude of men who constitute the great body and the saving force of the nation.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 4/Life Comes from the Soil.” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 80-82. Print.

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