Citizenship Education Project.

When men are free : premises of American liberty online

. (page 13 of 14)
Online LibraryCitizenship Education ProjectWhen men are free : premises of American liberty → online text (page 13 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


complicated. The courts can do this,
however, only when cases are brought
to them.

Of course, government itself re-
strains trade in a sense. It does this
when it passes laws to keep businesses
harmful to the public from operating.
For instance, the Food, Drug, and Cos-
metic Act of 1938 prevents the uncon-
trolled manufacture and sale of drugs
and narcotics. Such restraint of trade is
necessary to protect the public.



Oovernment, representing all the
people, has to see that business organ-
ized into groups and laborers organized
into big unions observe some responsi-



bilities along with enjoying privileges.
We have many laws for this purpose,
laws summarized in the one Premise,
"Neither business nor labor may im-
peril the health or safety of the na-
tion." The Food and Drugs Act of 1906
which requires manufacturers to make
products that meet certain standards is
one such law. The body of laws requir-
ing airlines to observe safety precau-
tions and prevent a few irresponsible
operators of airlines from endangering
lives is another example.

The striking United Mine Workers
were accused of imperiling national
safety in 1947, when they went on strike
for higher wages. Officials of the Na-
tional Government, who had already
taken over the mines when the owners
and workers couldn't agree, got an in-
junction and forced the miners back to
work. Union officials said stopping the
strike by injunction was a violation of
the Norris-LaGuardia Anti-Injunction



Technicians in laboratories of a manufacturer of soaps, cosmetics, and like items check quality of one
product and materials that go into others. Responsible business concerns make sure that their products
are safe for consumers, up to company standards, and at least as good as competing products.




Act. The Supreme Court, which finally
had to settle the issue, decided that the
government officials had acted correctly;
that in this case the Anti-Injunction Act
had not been violated because the min-
ers were striking against the Govern-
ment, not against private employers.

The example above, of a responsi-
bility conflicting with a privilege, illus-



trates an important point about our
democracy. It shows that while we have
definite principles to guide us, we are
not able to make absolute and unchang-
ing rules. Rather, rules often have to
be interpreted for individual instances,
and the interpretation changed in an-
other similar instance when conditions
are different.



THINGS TO TALK ABOUT, AND DO



1. Corporations produce and distribute by far
the biggest part of the goods and services we use.
One high school class started a business of its own
to get a better understanding of how corporations
operate. Graduation time was approaching and
the students decided on the sale of school banners
as a good money-making enterprise. A local
lawyer helped the class set up the organization,
including the writing of a charter which class repre-
sentatives negotiated with the principal. The
group elected a board of directors, and printed
and sold stock at $1 per share. The manager, a
student, placed an order with a banner company
and a crew of students went to work making sales.

Discuss business possibilities in your school, then
form a corporation and start a student enterprise.
It might be a refreshment shop or a store to sell
student supplies. Get help from a local business-
man or lawyer and make the corporation as real
as possible.

2. Why are difficulties between labor and man-
agement of importance to all citizens?

3. Appoint three or four members of the group
to do research and make a report as a panel on
the likenesses and differences between the Wagner
Act and the Taft-Hartley Act. They might also
include information on any current changes in



the nation's labor law. Invite representatives of
labor and management to visit the class and take
part when the panel makes its report.

4. For a real appreciation of the meaning of the
expression "free and uncoerced unions" in the
first Premise discussed in the preceding section,
find out what happened to labor unions when
Hitler came to power in Germany in the 1 930's.
Look also for information on the role labor unions
play in Soviet Russia or other countries ruled by
dictatorship. Ask the librarian to help you locate
the information.

5. Select one person in your group to do research
and give a report on the work of the National
Labor Relations Board.

6. Discuss as a group the things you think are es-
sential to bring about more harmony between
business and labor unions. Could any of the things
suggested be included in the nation's labor law?
If so, you might write your suggestions to your
congressman or to the committee concerned with
labor legislation. One high school class that had
thoroughly analyzed the Taft-Hartley Act wrote
to several congressmen and senators to suggest
changes the students thought good.



147



Tk

Free
World



the Free World is one in which each in-
dividual nation, like an indiuidual luithin a free
notion, Has the right to "Hue," and the obligation
to "let liue" and "Help liue." THis Kind of luorld
does not yet exist, but tHe United States and
otHer free nations are working toward tHis goal.

Under tHe Free World tue sHall discuss eigHt
Premises tHat guide our country in its relations
tuitli tHe rest of tHe world.

One Premise emphasizes tHe role United
States citizens play in influencing tHeir country's
relations u>ith other countries.

One Premise stresses the importance of main-
taining our independence as a nation luHile co-
operating with other nations.

THree Premises review freedoms Americans
belieue all people should Haue if the luorld is to
knom lasting peace.

Three Premises cite evidence of our efforts, as
an independent nation and as a member of the
United Nations, to take an actioe part in soluing
u'orld problems and to rid the loorld of luar.



149




Premises Guiding Foreign Relations



"No NATION'S SECURITY and well-
being can be lastingly achieved in iso-
lation, but only in effective cooperation
with fellow-nations."

This statement, from a speech by
President Eisenhower just twelve weeks
after he became President, reminds us
that the nations of the world are de-
pendent upon each other. Citizens
must, therefore, feel concern about what
is happening in other countries as well
as our own. Just as a flood in the Mid-
dle West or organized crime in New
York City may come to affect all Ameri-
cans, so may an election in Germany or
trouble between Japan and China.

Americans have come to feel this
only in recent years. Back in the 1930's,



for example, we read about what Hitler
was saying and doing in Europe. It was
"news" and interesting, but most of us
didn't feel concerned, or even that it was
really any of our business. Less than
ten years later the lives of all Americans
were greatly changed because our na-
tion was involved in World War II to
"stop Hitler."

Today most Americans believe that
just as we must work together on such
problems as providing schools, roads, or
better working conditions in our own
country, so must we work with other
countries to help find solutions to world
problems.

From its beginning our National
Government recognized the importance



150



of "doing business" with the govern-
ments of other nations. The Constitu-
tion makes "foreign relations" the duty
of our President, and the first cabinet
post George Washington set up was the
Department of Foreign Affairs. The
name was soon changed to Department
of State, the government agency re-
sponsible for carrying out our foreign
policies today.



/Although the Secretary of State is
appointed by the President and respon-
sible to the President, official relations
between the United States and other
national governments are not deter-
mined by these two officials alone. An
underlying Premise guiding our foreign
relations is that "The people influence
the making and carrying out of foreign
policy." This influence may be indirect.
The man who occupies the position of
Secretary of State has to be approved
by the Senate, whose members are,
like the President, elected by the people
of the forty-eight states. Persons who
represent our nation as ambassadors in
foreign countries have to be appointed
by the President and approved by the
Senate.

The Senate has to put its OK on all
treaties that the President and State De-
partment make with other nations be-
fore these treaties are binding. And, as
with other government agencies, the
people's representatives in Congress
control the appropriations of money the



State Department gets to carry on its
work. So the people influence policy by
objecting to, or approving of, what their
money is being used for.

In some instances the people show
very directly how they feel about a par-
ticular problem with a foreign country.
In 1844, for example, when our Govern-
ment and that of Great Britain were in
a dispute over the Oregon territory, the
people showed they wanted a "get
tough" policy by electing James K. Polk
President. He took the stand that the
boundary between the United States
and Canada should be just beyond the
fifty-fourth parallel, and his campaign
slogan was "Fifty-four forty or fight."

Evidence of citizens' attempt to influence foreign
policy. This demonstration, in 1938, followed
sinking of American ships in Chinese waters, after
our President objected to Japanese aggression.







151



By the time Polk was in office, the tem-
per of the people had changed, and they
were willing to accept a compromise
agreement that fixed the boundary at
forty-nine degrees.

Other more recent instances of the
people influencing foreign relations can
be cited. When Japan invaded China
in 1937, many people boycotted that
is, refused to buy Japanese-made
goods. This showed our Government
what these Americans were thinking
about Japan's actions in China.

Another example of the people in-
fluencing foreign relations was what
happened when President Roosevelt
appointed Edward Flynn to be Ambas-
sador to Australia in 1943. A flood of
letters, wires, and telephone calls from
people objecting to this choice influ-
enced the Senate to reject Flynn for this
position. According to our Constitution
the Senate must approve such appoint-
ments, so President Roosevelt had to
make another choice.

One of the divisions in the Depart-
ment of State the Office of Public Af-
fairs exists for the purpose of keeping
the public informed about international
problems and finding out for the Depart-
ment what individuals and groups are
thinking on matters of foreign policy. In
a democracy where the power to govern
belongs to and comes from the people,
international as well as national prob-
lems have to be the people's business.

To a large degree our nation's atti-
tudes and actions toward other nations



are what the people want them to be.
But the question naturally arises
what do we want them to be?

In considering this question remem-
ber that not everybody in the United
States would have the same ideas as to
what our official agreements and deal-
ings with France, Brazil, Australia, or
some other nation should be on a par-
ticular matter. So our Government,
representing all of us, has to make
choices. These choices become our for-
eign policy in dealing with nations. But
our policy may change. It may change
because conditions in our own country,
in a foreign country, or perhaps in a
group of foreign countries change.

Foreign policy is always subject to
change. And in democratic countries,
where government officials listen to the
opinions of the citizens, the change re-
flects the wishes of the majority.



O,



ur acts toward other nations
haven't always been as good as our
words. However, our relations with
other nations have generally been based
on some very definite principles. One
of these principles is the Premise that
"We are a politically independent
nation, and we want to remain inde-
pendent."

The American Colonists declared
themselves "free and independent" in
the Declaration of Independence in
1776. The United States became a polit-



152



sas






U.S. troops in action in Korea in the spring of 1951. United Nations efforts to stop aggression by the com-
munists in northern Korea began in 1950. An armistice was worked out in 1953 and fighting ceased.



ically independent nation officially with
the signing of the peace treaty with
Great Britain in 1783. The nation's abil-
ity to maintain its independence, how-
ever, still had to be tested.

Making sure that we were respected
by other nations and were secure in our
independence was of a great concern to
our leaders for many years. We fought
Great Britain in 1812 in what is some-
times called the Second War for Inde-
pendence. Step by step, we made the
nation stronger and more secure by ex-
tending our boundaries through the
Louisiana Purchase, the acquisition of
Florida, and other territories to the



Pacific and to our present borders on
the North and South.

To maintain our independence as a
nation in the early days, our leaders
adopted a general policy of not taking
sides in wars and controversies outside
our borders. Our policy was: Hands off
we will keep out of your affairs and
you keep out of ours.

In the last fifty years our nation has
been drawn more and more into inter-
national affairs, although we tried to
play a hands-off role both before and
after World War I. Today the United
States takes an active and responsible
part in working with other nations on



153



international problems. Participation in
world affairs, however, has in no way
lessened our desire or determination to
remain an independent nation.



O,



'ne of the Premises that has
guided the United States in its relations
with other countries grows out of our
belief in the right of the individual to be
himself to think his own thoughts, use
his talents to make a better living, have
a voice in his government, come and go
as he wishes. It is expressed in the triple
statement: "We are a nation in which
the individual is allowed a large degree
of freedom; we desire to retain unim-
paired our individual rights and lib-
erties; we believe that a large degree
of individual freedom everywhere in
the world offers the best hope of last-
ing peace."

Our Constitution and the provisions
of our Bill of Rights, referred to again
and again in the preceding sections of
this book, are good evidence of our be-
lief in freedom for the individual: The
right of every citizen to think; to ask
questions; to disagree with the views
of others; to express opinions; to wor-
ship as he chooses; to be considered in-
nocent until he is proven guilty in a fail-
trial; to express a choice of public offi-
cials at regular elections; to criticize the
acts of government officials; to run for
and hold public office; to decide the oc-
cupation he will follow and to live and



work where he chooses; to own prop-
erty and make a profit from its use. The
list becomes a very long one.

We want to keep our freedoms. Even
though we do not always live up to our
ideals, in few other parts of the world
is the individual so free as he is in the
United States. And, cherishing freedom
for ourselves, we are naturally sympa-
thetic with other people who desire it.

As a nation we have shown our con-
cern for freedom by taking part in the
defense of Korea. At the same time we
have sided with other free nations to
prevent the spread of communist ag-
gression in Europe and elsewhere. In
countries where communism has taken
over, freedom has ceased to exist. In
countries where people have taken to
communism, they have found not free-
dom, but tyranny. We try to prevent
the spread of communism at home and
abroad because we consider this way of
life a threat to us and the freedom we
possess.

History shows that sooner or later
people fight for some degree of freedom
a voice in their government, the lib-
erty to say and believe what they wish,
the chance to make a decent living.
Many Americans living today experi-
enced two world wars that were brought
on because people were denied these
things pushed around, frightened, and
brutalized. We believe there will be no
lasting peace in the world until people
treat each other with the respect due
human beings.



154



I he people of the United States
have always wanted to keep out of war.
Weariness with constant fighting and
paying for war led many immigrants to
come to this country from Europe. Abil-
ity to keep out of war was looked upon
as one of the fruits of independence
from Great Britain, one of the blessings
of being three thousand miles from
Europe.

Our hopes of living in peace have
not been realized, and many a page of
our history is Riled with war. But in
spite of this, and perhaps because of it,
peace is more than ever our goal: "We
are a peaceful people and we work to
rid the world o? war and the threat of



war.



About fifty years ago the United
States Government began cooperating
with other governments in efforts to set-
tle quarrels between nations without
war. For example, in 1899 the United
States joined with other countries in set-
ting up The Hague Tribunal, a court to
which nations could bring their legal
disputes for settlement by unprejudiced
persons.

In the 1920s the American Secre-
tary of State, Frank B. Kellogg, and
Aristide Brian d of France proposed a
plan to outlaw war. The plan consisted
of having nations sign an agreement to
settle their disputes by peaceful meth-
ods. The Kellogg-Briand Pact, as the
agreement was called, was signed by
sixty-two nations. But it turned out to
be only a gesture toward peace. It had



no "teeth" and did not even provide for
getting representatives of the member
nations together to iron out their diffi-
culties. It did, however, make Ameri-
cans think more about international
problems, and their nation's place in
world affairs.

Since World War II the United
States has taken more active steps to
help rid the world of war and the threat
of war. Many of these efforts have been
made in cooperation with other coun-
tries through the United Nations, which
is discussed on pages 162-164. One of
the most outstanding examples of this
kind of cooperative effort was our offer,
in 1946, to share atomic secrets with
the whole world and to turn our knowl-
edge of atomic energy to peaceful uses.

U.S. money helped to modernize this steel plant
in France, thus upping production some 500 per
cent. France's weakened industry after World
War II needed a great deal of rebuilding and
while this was being done there was much political
unrest and conflict in France.




President Eisenhower speaking to the General Assembly of the United Nations in December, 1953. He
suggested forming a new international agency to find ways to put atomic energy to peaceful use.



The offer was made on the condition
that all countries agree to international
controls and inspection to make sure
that all nations used atomic knowledge
for peaceful purposes only. Soviet Rus-
sia refused to agree to such control and
inspection.

In December, 1953, President Eisen-
hower made another proposal regard-
ing the sharing of atomic energy. He
suggested that a special international
agency be set up, and that nations pro-
ducing atomic energy turn over some of
their uranium and other fissionable mate-
rials to it. The agency would then work
out ways of using the atomic materials
for medical purposes, for improving
fanning, and for making electric power
available to "power starved areas of the
world."

If Russia and all other countries
would cooperate, President Eisenhow-



er's suggestion might be the means of
gradually changing the use of atomic
energy from destructive to constructive
purposes. It could be a step toward
peace because stockpiles of atomic
weapons might be gradually reduced,
and because the use of atomic energy
would improve living conditions in the
poorer or less developed areas of the
world.

Widespread poverty and want tend
to breed wars. People who are hungry
and sick and cannot help themselves are
easy prey to dictators who promise them
a good life, who teach them to hate
other people as the cause of all their
hardships. Such leaders can easily take
their people into war on the grounds of
avenging wrongs and getting what
"rightly" belongs to them.

Poverty and despair helped Hitler
rise to power in Germany; Mussolini, in



156



Italy. Poverty and oppression by the
rulers produced the communist state in
Russia. Poverty, race conflicts, and a
desire for independence are back of the
unrest among many of the people in
Asia and Africa today.

Right after World War II the United
States sent large amounts of food and
other supplies to the countries that had
suffered actual destruction from the war.
We gave both military and economic
aid to Greece and Turkey where com-
munists were threatening to take over
the governments.

Later, under the European Recovery
Program or Marshall Plan, the United
States aided the countries of Western
Europe by sending them machines,
tools, factory supplies, seeds, fertilizers,
and farm implements. Here, too, the
purpose was to reduce the threat of
communism and war. With the help re-
ceived from the United States, the peo-
ple of Western European countries were
able to get many of their farms and fac-
tories back into production and to im-
prove their living conditions.

The United States has also raised
money to send armaments to Western
Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast
Asia, and to help some countries in these
areas produce armaments in their own
factories. Large sums have likewise
been used helping the defeated coun-
tries of Germany and Japan back onto
their feet.

Not all United States aid goes to
war-torn countries. Another indication



of our nation's effort to do away with
conditions that lead to wars is the "Point
Four Program," so called because it is
based on the fourth point in a speech
by President Truman. Under this pro-
gram the United States has been giving
technical and scientific assistance to the
less developed countries of the world
so that the people can help themselves
to a better life. For example, cotton pro-
duction in Nicaragua was doubled in
one growing season through use of in-
secticides demonstrated by American
advisers.



\Jeorge Washington suggested the
role that the United States should play
in its relations with foreign countries
when he was leaving the Presidency.
His advice was that we be friendly to
all peoples, but make no special "deals"
or secret alliances with any one nation.
It was his belief that "playing favor-
ites," as most leading nations did at the
time, made nations suspicious of each
other. Worst of all, a nation that made
secret alliances with another nation
often found itself involved in that na-
tion's wars whether it wanted to be or
not.

To a large degree the United States
has followed Washington's advice. It can
generally be said of our relations with
other countries of the world that "We
are a friendly people with no tradi-
tional enemies, and we want to have
friendly relations with all people."



157



This Premise applies even to Soviet
Russia, although the Russian Govern-
ment and our own have been in almost
constant disagreement since 1945. The
Premise applies because neither we nor
our Government look upon the Russian
people as our enemies. Americans do
consider communism an enemy of free-
dom. We consider the Soviet Govern-
ment's efforts to bring other countries
under its control a threat to freedom.
But it is this communist aggression
rather than Russia that we look upon as
"enemy." In fact, in 1951 Congress
passed a resolution expressing the
friendliness of the American people for
the people of Soviet Russia.



Evidences of our friendliness are to
be seen in the help given people of both
friendly and enemy nations following
both world wars. A friendly gesture of
a different nature was our return of a
portion of the "damages" payment made
by China to the United States following
the Boxer Rebellion of 1902. Still
another example is the assistance given
directly to the Netherlands by the
American people after the tidal floods
that ravaged the Netherlands in the
winter of 1953.

Good as is our record of being "a
friendly people," not all the acts of our
Government have been looked upon as


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13

Online LibraryCitizenship Education ProjectWhen men are free : premises of American liberty → online text (page 13 of 14)