Our Nation Called to War
Posted By: David W Sinclair (email)
Date: 3/11/2008 at 22:17:40
CALLS NATION TO WAR
Resolution Authorizes President To Exert All of Nation's Power In Conflict
Recent Acts of Imperial Government Declared To Be "Acts of War" Against the United States
A war of humanity and of justice, a war for the annihilation of autocracy and for the maintenance and extension of democracy. That is what President Wilson solemnly urged upon the Congress of the United States as America's response to the ruthless and inhuman methods employed upon the high seas by the imperial German government to the intrigues of that government against our internal peace and safety and to its attempts to stir up Mexico and Japan as enemies of the nation. It will be war not upon the German people but with the imperial German government. It will be war in which the United States will co-operate "in counsel and in action" with the countries fighting the central powers. It will be war in which the United States will exert "all its power and employ all its resources" to bring Germany "to terms and end the war." The Congress adopted the President's advice. Joint resolutions declaring the existence of a state of war, in fact verging upon an outright declaration of war and placing all the resources of the nation at the disposal of the president to carry on the conflict, were introduced in the Senate and House immediately after Mr. Wilson ceased reading his historic address. -Chicago Record Herald.
"Armed neutrality is ineffectual enough at best; in such circumstances and in the face of such pretensions it is worse than ineffectual; it is likely one to produce what it was meant to prevent; it is practically certain to draw us into the war without either of the rights or the effectiveness of belligerents. "There is one choice, we cannot make, that we are incapable of making. We will not choose the path of submission and suffer the most sacred rights of our Nation and our people to be ignored or violated. The wrongs against which we now array ourselves are not common wrongs; they cut to the very roots of human life. "With a profound sense of the solemn and even tragical character of the step I am taking and of the grave responsibilities which it involves, but unhesitating obedience to what I deem my constitutional duty, I advise that the Congress declare the recent course of the Imperial German government to be in fact nothing less than war against the government and people of the United States. "That it formally accept the status of belligerent which has thus been thrust upon it and that it take immediate steps not only to put the country in a more thorough state of defense, but also to exert all its power and employ all its resources to bring the government of the German empire to terms and end the war. "If there should be disloyalty, it will be dealt with a firm hand of stern repression; but if it lifts it head at all, it will lift it only here and there and without countenance except from a lawless and malignant few. "It is distressing and oppressive duty, gentlemen of the Congress, which I have performed in thus addressing you. There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. "It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful country into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance, but the right is more precious than peace and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts-for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free people as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free. To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America has been privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. "God helping her, she can do no other." -From the President's address to Congress.
Lineville, Wayne County, Iowa
April 5, 1917
Austin & Austin, Publishers
Wayne Documents maintained by Ann Selvig.
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