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The Hindrances to Good Citizenship

By the Right Hon. James Brtce
(Third printing.) 138 pages, index, 12mo, $1.15 net
postage 10 cents.

Conditions of Progress in Democratic
By Hon. Charles Evans Hughes
123 pages, 12mo, $1.15 net, postage 10 cents.

American Citizenship

By the late David J. Brewer, Associate Justice of
the Supreme Court
131 pages, 12mo, $1.15 net, postage 10 cents.

The Citizen in his Relation to the Indus-
trial Situation
By the late Right Rev. Henry C. Potter, D.D.,
248 pages, 12ino, $1.15 net, postage 20 cents.

Freedom and Responsibility

By Arthur Twining Hadley, LL.D., President of
Yale University
175 pages, 12mo, $1.15 net, postage 10 cents.

The Citizen's Part in Government
By Elihu Root, formerly Secretary of State
123 pages, 12mo, $1.15 net, postage 10 cents.

Four Aspects of Civic Duty
By Hon. William H. Taft
111 pages, 12mo, $1.15 net, postage 10 cents.








Copyright, 1911


Yale University Press

First Printed April, 1911, 1500 Copies

Printed in the United States




My object in this course of lectures is practical
rather than scientific, and, in the broad sense of
that term, religious rather than secular. As I
follow gentlemen who possess an international
reputation as scholars and statesmen, it would
have been folly for me to attempt to compete
with them in the realm of political scholarship or
practical politics. I must approach the American
problem from that which is, and throughout my
life has been, my point of view. That point of
view will appear more clearly as I proceed, but it
may be foreshadowed in two sentences: I accept
Matthew Arnold's statement that "there is a power
not ourselves which makes for righteousness"; that
this power works in and through humanity to a
predetermined end, a divine ideal; and that social
and political evolution can be understood only as
we understand in what direction mankind is moving
under this divine direction. I assume also that the
clearest interpretation of that ideal which history


affords us is that furnished by the teaching of the
prophets of the Old Testament and of Jesus and
his apostles in the New Testament; that to under-
stand these principles and to know how to apply
them to the complicated problems of modern life
is to work with the divine Power for the divine end.
It is because I gladly welcome the opportunity to
point out to the men of Yale University what are
some of these principles, what are some of the
obhgations which they lay upon us, and in what
direction we must move and in what spirit we
must act to accomplish a real success in life, that
I welcomed the opportunity which the invitation
of this University gave to me.

Lyman Abbott.

The Knoll,

Cornwall on Hudson, N. Y.,
January, 1911.



I The America of To-day 3

II Political Responsibilities 48

III Industrial Responsibilities 105

IV Responsibilities to Dependent Peoples . 154
V Religious Responsibilities 194




In his interesting drama, "The Melting Pot,"
Israel Zangwill thus dramatically describes the
process going on to-day in the United States of
America. The conversation is between Vera, a
Christian girl, interested in social settlement work,
and David, a Jewish viohnist and composer, whose
aid she wishes:

(From "The Melting Pot," by Israel Zangwill,
pp. 36, 37, and 38.)

So your music finds inspiration in America?

Yes — in the seething of the Crucible.

The Crucible? I don't understand!


Not understand! You, the Spirit of the Settlement! {He
rises and crosses to her and leans over the table, facing her.)
Not understand that America is God's Crucible, the great
Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and
re-forming! Here you stand, good folk, think I, when I



see them at Ellis Island, here you stand {Graphically illus-
trating it on the table.) in your fifty groups, with your fifty
languages and histories, and your fifty blood hatreds and
rivalries. But you won't be long Uke that, brothers, for
these are the fires of God you've come to — these are the
fires of God. A fig for your feuds and vendettas! Germans
and Frenchmen, Irishmen and EngUshmen, Jews and Rus-
sians — into the Crucible with you all! God is making the

I should have thought that the American was made
already — eighty millions of him.

Eighty milhons ! {He smiles toward Vera in good-humoured
derision.) Eighty milhons! Over a continent! Why, that
cockleshell of a Britain has forty milUons! No, vmcle, the
real American has not yet arrived. He is only in the Cru-
cible, I tell you — he will be the fusion of aU races, the com-
ing superman. Ah, what a glorious Finale for my symphony
— if I can only write it.

God is making the American, but God works
through men. If the American is to be made, he
must be made by Americans. What can we do
to make the American of the future such that we
shall have a right to be proud of our handiwork?
The modem Jew sees in a vision all the races of
Europe melting and re-forming in God's crucible;
an ancient Jew saw men and women gathered out
of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and Nation,
and made to be unto God a Kingdom of priests, to


reign upon the earth. What can we do to trans-
form the vision of the modern Jew into the vision
of the ancient Jew, EHis Island into the celestial
city, democratic America into the Kingdom of
God? That is the question I shall ask you to
consider with me in this course of lectures.

Within our Territory are gathered men of all
races: the North American aborigines, the African
negroes, the East Indians, the Chinamen, the
Anglo-Saxon men of all nationalities; the Scandi-
navians, the Dutchmen, the Frenchmen, the Span-
iards, the Italians, the Austrians, the Hungarians,
the Germans, the Poles, the Russians, the Irishmen,
the Englishmen. All the languages spoken in the
civiUzed portions of the globe are spoken in America.
We are as polyglot as Europe with this difference:
Europe is like a great apartment house, the different
peoples live in different apartments; here we are
housed all in one room. We brush against each
other in the cars, meet each other in our ofl&ces,
share with each other our parks, museums, and
concert halls, and jostle against each other at the
polls. Men of all reHgions, not together, but in
close contiguity. Here is the polygamist Mormon,
the reverent Roman Catholic, the traditional Jew,


the emotional Methodist, the esthetic Episcopalian,
the conservative Presbyterian, the progressive Con-
gregationalist, the critical Unitarian, the ostenta-
tiously irreligious Agnostic. Worshipers in the
Jewish sjTiagogue, the Roman Catholic cathedral,
and the Quaker meeting-house can almost hear the
sound of each other's services. Here are men of
all classes and all temperaments mingling together.
The rich and the poor, the capitalist and the la-
borer, the superstitious and the rationalistic, the
idealist and the materialist, the visionary and the
executive. And we really mingle, reaUy interchange
our ideas and our ideals, and by the interchange
modify each other. Our memories of the past, our
ideals of the future, our understandings of the pres-
ent, our abilities, our temperaments, the means of
our intercommunication, are different.

But not only is the Nation composed of contrary
elements, the individual American is also composed
of contrary elements. There is a typical French-
man, a typical German, a typical Itahan, a typical
Englishman, a typical Irishman, but a typical
American? No, there is a typical American capital-
ist, a typical American mechanic, a typical American
farmer, a typical American miner, a typical Ameri-


can cowboy, a typical New Englander, a typical
Westerner, a typical Southerner, but the American
is a composite made up of many types. There is
no better portrait in literature of this composite
American than that by Rudyard Kipling:

Calm-eyed he scoffs at sword and crown,

Or panic-blinded stabs and slays:
Blatant he bids the world bow down,

Or cringing begs a crust of praise;

Or, sombre-dnink, at mine and mart.
He dubs his dreary brethren Kings.

His hands are black with blood — his heart
Leaps, as a babe's, at Uttle things.

Enslaved, illogical, elate.

He greets th' embarrassed Gods, nor fears
To shake the iron hand of Fate

Or match with Destiny for beers.

Lo, imperturbable he rules.

Unkempt, disreputable, vast —
And, in the teeth of all the schools,

I — I shall save him at the last!

Cartoon though it is, there is no better, because
in this cartoon the contradictory characteristics of
the unformed character are so clearly portrayed.
Not only the American Nation, but scarcely less
the American individual is in the making, and the
unfinished product is as much a problem to the


student of National life as is the half-made bo}- to
his completed parents. What the boy \\ill become
it is difficult to guess; what the American Nation,
what the American individual will become in the
future, it is even more difficult to guess.

And yet if we beheve T\dth Zangwill that America
is God's crucible, and that in it all the races of
Europe are melting and re-forming, we should be
able to discern in the history of the past and in the
hopes of the future some common faith which binds
us together and some goal of our hopes toward
which, consciously or unconsciously, we are moving.
For despite its contradictory elements the Nation
has a deffiiite character. And if j'ou are to do well
3'our work of making the America of the future, you
must understand the essential characteristic of the
America of the present.

Aristotle divides government into three classes:
government by the one, government by the few,
government by the many. Our fathers in the
founding of this Repubhc conceived a fourth, self-
government. Their experiment assumed three fun-
damental principles: First, that the mass of men
are better able to govern themselves than the few
are to govern them. All human government is


imperfect, but the perils from the selfishness of the
few are greater than the perils from the ignorance
of the many. Second, therefore that men should
manage their own affairs, and only their own
affairs. Out of this grew both the individualism
and the local self-government of the early days of
the Republic. Because men were better able to
govern themselves than the few wise and strong
were to govern them, each man should be left to
take care of his own individual interests, and each
locality should be left to take care of its own local
interests. Thus the individual should manage his
home, the town meeting should manage the town,
the people of the State should manage the affairs of
the State, and those matters which concerned the
people of the entire Nation should be left to the
National Government. To draw the line between
National and State interests, between State and town
interests, between town and individual interests is
difl&cult. The line changes with changes in National
development, but the principle remains always the
same; it is one of the three foundation stones of the
American Republic. Third, our fathers were not,
however, so unwise as to believe that all men are
inherently able to govern themselves as birds are


able to fly. They believed not in an inherited and
instinctive capacity for self-government, but in a
dormant and undeveloped capacity. They held
that men, and all men viith. only a few exceptions
that prove the rule, can be educated and must be
educated. Hence they incorporated in the life of
the Republic a public school system. It is true that
this public school system did not, in its modern form,
find a place in the Southern or slave States, but it
is also true that because it did not find a place in
the Southern or slave States, democracy, that is, self-
government, did not succeed in those States until
the abolition of slaver}' on the one hand and the
creation of a public school system on the other.

No poHtical principle is true, certainly no political
principle is successful, unless it is worth fighting for
and suffering for. Our fathers befieved that these
three principles — the possibility of self-government,
the resultant Federal system, and universal educa-
tion — were worth fighting for. Seven years of war
with what was then the greatest of the world powers
testified to the vitality of their faith and established
their right, because it established their power, to
attempt this new experiment in political organiza-
tion. The surrender of Comwallis at Yorktown


proved their ability to defend their faith on the
field of battle, and the formation of the United States
Constitution after long debate and by many com-
promises proved both their ability to rise superior
to local prejudices and their political wisdom to
apply to present and future conditions political
principles before undreamed in the history of the
world. Among these compromises was one which
threatened to prove fatal to the perpetuity of the
Republic. Slavery was left as a local form of
industry in one-half of the Republic, in the general
and then well-nigh universal belief that it would
be gradually abolished in the Southern States as
it had been gradually abolished in the Northern
States. This hope was not realized. Out of
slavery grew, by an inexorable law, a feudal system
— a society divided into three classes : a class of
great landowners and slaveholders, a class of poor
whites under the domination of the landed aris-
tocracy, and a class of slaves who performed nearly
all the manual labor of the community. Whether
the South was right in holding that under the Con-
stitution the supreme sovereignty resided in the
States and the supreme loyalty was due to the
States, or the North was right in holding that


the supreme sovereignty resided in the Nation and
the supreme loyalty was due to the Nation, is a ques-
tion needless for my purpose to consider. The Civil
War decided that question for the future and left
the historical question a purely academic one. It
established practically two principles by which,
after Appomattox Court House, the Republic would
be governed. First, that the principle of self-
government applies to all races, to the negro as
well as to the white man; that he also is better
able to take care of his own interests than a master
is to take care of them for him; that he also has
a dormant capacity that can be developed for
self-government. And, second, that a government
founded on self-government is not weak; by the
Civil War it proved itself strong enough to meet one
of the greatest revolts against National authority
the world has ever seen.

The apprehensions with which the men of 1850
looked forward to the peril of the Civil War have
not been fulfilled. The calamity was great, the
wounds have not yet been healed; but the war,
which wise men thought would forever alienate the
South and the North, or would destroy self-govern-
ment by making one section subject to the other,



has had the effect both to enfranchise the South
and to unite the South and the North together in a
friendship more cordial than they had ever before
known. To a union of communities mutual respect
is essential. The South had despised the North as
a community of shopkeepers; the North had de-
spised the South as a community of braggarts.
The war proved to each its mistake. Hero fought
hero on many a bloody battlefield, and when, at
last, they clasped hands it was in a spirit of mutual
respect now happily developing into one of fraternal
affection and patriotic Nationalism.

Washington had counseled his fellow citizens to
avoid entangling alliances with foreign Nations, and
that counsel had been both wise and easy to follow,
but with the close of the Civil War the Nation
entered upon a new era. Steam bridged the Atlan-
tic Ocean; England was brought as near to America
as the Atlantic to the Pacific coast; Liverpool as
near to New York as New York to San Francisco;
and a stream of immigration began to pour across
this floating bridge. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln
urged the importance of doing something to encour-
age immigrants from foreign countries to come to
America to share our privileges and to co-operate


with us in the cultivation of our soil, the develop-
ment of our industries, and the making of our
Nation. Now all timid souls, and many who are
only rationally cautious, fear lest the stream of
immigration wiU corrupt our Nationality. Henry
Ward Beecher said, speaking on this immigration
question, that when a camel ate palm leaves the
camel did not become pahn, but the palm became
camel. We are beginning to fear lest the Amer-
ican camel will suffer, at least, a severe attack of
indigestion from over-feeding. With this change
in population came change in National interests.
Our newspapers became less provincial. The Irish
question, the Hungarian question, the Turkish
question, the far-off Eastern question, all became
objects for public debate and popular interest. A
province of Spain, lying less than 200 miles from
our shore, both appealed to our sympathies and
threatened our welfare. Nearly every year we
imported yellow fever from Havana, and Congress
could provide no prohibitory tariff to keep it out.
At length came the war between the youngest
democracy and the oldest autocracy. That we ever
doubted what the issue of that war would be seems
now almost unbeUevable, but, in fact, we entered


upon it with some apprehension, and European
powers anticipated for us a humiliating defeat. At
the end of it we found ourselves responsible for the
government of an Archipelago, which is almost a
continent, on the other side of the globe. Whether
we will or no, we are henceforth a world power.
Thus this self-governing Republic has passed
through three stages: first, it is born of long travail;
second, in its youth it struggles for its life with
incongruous inherited tendencies in its own Con-
stitution; and third, it proves itself a world power
by a conflict with one of the old world powers.

During this eventful history the self-governing
Republic has grown with unprecedented rapidity:
in territory from thirteen colonies, lying along the
Atlantic coast, to a Republic equaling in size the
ancient Roman Empire and covering the larger part
of a continent; in population from three or four
millions — not quite as many as are now crowded
together in the city of New York — to eighty
miUions; in wealth from the poorest to one of the
richest Nations on the globe; and in heterogeneity
of population, variety of production and industry,
and consequent complexity of National problems as
rapidly as in size, numbers, and wealth.


It is not merely, it is not mainly the wealth of our
mines, our prairies, and our forests that have drawn
the immigrant from the old world to the new. They
have been drawn by the fascination of freedom. In
the old world they had been children, in the new
world they would be men; in the old world they had
been cared for, in the new world they would care
for themselves; in the old world their place in the
social organization and their industries and its
rewards had been determined for them; they had
to travel through Hfe in the first, second, third, or
fourth class car in which they were born, in the
new world all cars were open to them. They could
find their own way, make their own place, perform
their own chosen industry, secure from the world
whatever reward they could make the world beheve
their service was worth. There they were the
passive instruments of a predetermined destiny;
here their destiny was put into their own hands.
There their careers were chosen for them ; here they
could choose their own careers. In the old world
they had rowed Hke the slaves of the Roman Empire
in the galley ships and went when and whither the
masters directed; here each man was to paddle and
steer his own canoe and go whither his inclinations


might carry him. This is what we mean by Hberty
in America. It is self-government. We assume
the abiHty and we assert the right of every normal
man to be the master of his own hfe, under no
other control from his neighbor than is necessary
to protect his neighbor's well-being.

In a characteristically eloquent passage, Mr.
Ruskin puts before his readers two conceptions of
liberty, neither of which accord with the American
ideal. "If," he says, "by liberty you mean chas-
tisement of the passions, discipline of the intellect,
subjection of the will; if you mean the fear of
inflicting, the shame of committing, a wrong; if
you mean respect for all who are in authority, and
consideration for all who are in dependence; vener-
ation for the good, mercy to the evil, sympathy
with the weak; if you mean watchfulness over all
thoughts, temperance in all pleasures, and persever-
ance in all toils; if you mean, in a word, that Service
which is defined in the liturgy of the English church
to be perfect Freedom, why do you name this by
the same word by which the luxurious mean license,
and the reckless mean change; by which the rogue
means rapine, and the fool equality, by which the
proud mean anarchy, and the malignant mean


violence? Call it by any name rather than this,
but its best and truest is, Obedience." ^ In America
liberty means obedience to the voice within, not to
the power without. If aristocracy means govern-
ment by the best, all good government is aristo-
cratic government. In America also we believe in
government by the best, but we do not believe in the
government of the poor in the community by the
rich, nor in the government of the weak in the com-
munity by the strong, nor in the government of the
ignorant in the community by the wise, nor in
the government of the worst in the community by
the better. We believe in the government of each
individual by the best that is in him. We assume
consciously, or unconsciously, as the very founda-
tion of our political economy, that in every normal
man there is dormant an ability which can be edu-
cated to understand his own interests and his own
duties; and that there is in every normal man a
power of will which can be developed which will
enable him to care for his own interests and to ful-
fil his own duties. We believe in obedience, but
the obedience we believe in is self-obedience.
Another writer, of a different temperament but

« Seven Lamps of Architecture, p. 186.


of the same school of thought, Thomas Carlyle, has
defined for us the old world conception of liberty.

"0, if thou really art my Senior, Seigneur, my
Elder, Presbyter, or Priest, — if thou art in very
deed my Wiser, may a beneficent instinct lead and
impel thee to 'conquer' me, to command me! If
thou do know better than I what is good and right,
I conjure thee in the name of God, force me to do
it; were it by never such brass collars, whips, and
handcuffs, leave me not to walk over precipices!
That I have been called, by all the Newspapers, a
'free man' will avail me little, if my pilgrimage
have ended in death and wreck. O that the News-
papers had called me slave, coward, fool, or what
it pleased their sweet voices to name me, and I
had attained not death, but life! — Liberty requires
new definitions." ^ This is not the American defini-
tion of liberty. The American wishes not that any
man, however wise and virtuous he may be, shall
force his fellowman by brass collars, whips, and
handcuffs to do the thing which the wise man
thinks wise and virtuous, or to abstain from doing
the thing which the wise man thinks foolish and
imvirtuous. Brass collars, whips, and handcuffs

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Online LibraryLyman AbbottAmerica in the making → online text (page 1 of 13)