Flower Power

Nowhere else in the book The New Freedom is Woodrow Wilson as lyrical or poetic as in this chapter, paraphrased below. Here, he describes the kind of power that rises from the soil, the roots, to produce the flower.

“Today, when our government has so far passed into the hands of special interests; today, when the doctrine is implicitly avowed that only select classes have the equipment necessary for carrying on government; today, when so many conscientious citizens, smitten with the scene of social wrong and suffering, have fallen victims to the fallacy that benevolent government can be meted out to the people by kind-hearted trustees of prosperity and guardians of dutiful employees,–today, supremely, does it behoove this nation to remember that a people shall be saved by the power that sleeps in its own deep bosom, or by none; shall be renewed in hope, in conscience, in strength, by waters welling up from its own sweet, perennial springs. Not from above; not by patronage of its aristocrats. The flower does not bear the root, but the root the flower. Everything that blooms in beauty in the air of heaven draws its fairness, its vigor, from its roots. Nothing living can blossom into fruitage unless through nourishing stalks deep-planted in the common soil. The rose is merely the evidence of the vitality of the root; and the real source of its beauty, the very blush that it wears upon its tender cheek, comes from those silent sources of life that lie hidden in the chemistry of the soil. Up from that soil, up from the silent bosom of the earth, rise the currents of life and energy. Up from the common soil, the quiet heart of the people, rise joyously today streams of hope and determination bound to renew the face of the earth in glory.

“…the need of the hour is just that radicalism that will clear a way for the realization of the aspirations of a sturdy race.”

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. 88-89. Print.

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