WAR INFORMATION SERIES
No. 3 A August, 1917
CHARLES D. HAZEN
PROFESSOR OF EUROPEAN HISTORY
Published by COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION, Washington, D. C.
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I see the boys of summer in their ruin 5
When once the twilight locks no longer. 8
A process in the weather of the heart 10
Before I knocked and flesh let enter .11
The force that through the green fuse drives
the flower 13
My hero bares his nerves along my wrist .14
Where once the waters of your face 15
If I were tickled by the rub of love 16
Our eunudh dreams, all seedless in the light 18
Especially when the October wind .20-
AMERICAN INTEREST IN POPULAR GOV-
By EVARTS B. GREENE, T. "Cssor l' HiStory, *': :" ; of
TN IN i memorable message to (''" -,.--- of April 2, 1917,
T':- .i.l ;- W ilson, .. "' ., at some ,-;! the recent
pi .. .:di--, of the 4, .. (.- .i nn t. declared that "in
ih.- : ;...,, ,e of its organized .'., ; always : in wait
il .,-.1i.-h we know not what purpose, there can be no
i-u ii -.city for the .: ... v, i. governmniits the
1-. 1.i We are : .,1 he continues, "to fight thlus for
I, i!d',,-, peace t*-' the world and i. the ; w. - its
i ..i l. German ..- .. ; included; i., the rights
i....... .. and small, and i- privilege i. men eveTy-
St. 'oose their way .f' li t and of obeditmce. The
.1.1 el mia'.- be made -.. democracy; its must be
I ';it i ,. .,: the tested foundations of E.&":" "- liP)erty."
; .' ,- ... the Precsidiett has asserted ir and
'i:. I, ...t ent of which ie is the ,1::i....ized spokesman two
i.I...!i, propositions: The r,-r is that sympn:thy with
i .ith governmentt of th! .. ;'. ,. by the -ile,
., : :l ''e," may properly be expressed not only in the
,i .' "-ances of individual Americans, but even in the
.. i ,: 1 utterances u Vour (OVernmenlll ut; t.it t1ese
.i n.... .. deals of the American ,.. i may 1 be
S.. i. eeount in the 1t. t of their i latins.
it, .. . i principle clearly implied is that this associi-
S. demoerany at home with .1.:.. 1 . .. rests not
I' upon settimeut but upon ;in essential] leenCiit
t ., 'terest--a common "'. i A *"'. ,. aus
I. I I ,,,. proitetion against states Iwhose antlPil
S . .i argely by nilitry .... in the hands heredi-
S' ith the : interdependence all tie
S, ,ii. n, i each other, dominiane of one
i I ir t ohe ter is a matter .' vital Ieonlern to Ith
S: .; I .. T I: .- who think ,... worth
'. ierie its i, in Europe -. Asia can no i]( i,
S., .. i .,, m matter. ,( corld must be made sa';fe for
i 1 i. .. of these I-:-r ples, the Ameriaen
.' -i ,. I in a great, war ''... demands upon us no
D i.n . M' in Nsure; and when dijl it,,.o. takes the .
war we shall have new problems hardly less perplexing. As
we assume these larger responsibilities we may naturally ask,
as the President himself has done in his Flag Day speech,
whether we are making a radical departure from the historic
traditions of the Republic, or whether we are seeking to
secure for these old ideals a new and more complete realization.
In trying to answer this question it seems best, so far as possible,
to let the fathers speak for themselves.
Going back to the first days of the Republic, we must
remember that the leaders in our struggle for independence
themselves appealed to the sympathy of European liberals
not only in France and Holland but even in England itself.
That is an outstanding fact in the correspondence of such
men as Franklin and Adams, who represented us in France
and the Netherlands, respectively. There is no question,
either, that this appeal met with a generous response and
that it was one of the factors, not the only one, of course, in
bringing about that French alliance which finally secured
American independence. The policies of the French minis-
ters were, indeed, mainly determined by considerations of
national interest. The Seven Years War had disturbed the
balance of European power; French support of the American
rebels would weaken England and restore France to some-
thing like its old prestige. But the French court was not
agreed on the soundness of this policy and in the delicate
balance of official opinions, the sympathy of liberal French
thinkers unquestionably helped to tip the scales in favor of
American freedom. Franklin felt this so keenly that he
deprecated the appeals frequently made to the French on the
basis of their economic self-interest. "This," he wrote to
Livingston in 1782, "is really a generous Nation, fond of glory,
and particularly that of protecting the oppressed."'
The great French economist and statesman, Turgot, was
not in favor of French intervention, but shortly after the
treaty of alliance was signed he expressed in striking lan-
guage the conviction shared by many forward-looking Euro-
peans that the significance of American liberty was not con-
fined to the New World. The American people, he said, "is
the hope of mankind. It must show to the world by its ex-
ample that men can be free and tranquil and can do without
the chains that tyrants and cheats of all garbs have tried
to lay on them under pretense of public good. It must give
the example of political liberty, religious liberty, commercial
and industrial liberty. The shelter which it is going to
offer to the oppressed of all nations will console the earth.
The ease with which men will be able to avail themselves
of it and escape the effects of a bad government will oblige
I Franklin, Writings (Smyth Ed.), VIII, 391.
governments to open their eyes and to be just."2 Thus Tur-
got, like other European liberals, thought of America as a
laboratory where a new political experiment was being
worked out not only for the western world but for Europe as
A few years later this idea found a partial realization in
the great French Revolution, many of whose leaders, espe-
cially in its earlier and more moderate stages, had seen service
in America. The first attitude of most Americans was one of
enthusiastic sympathy with the French reformers, but as the
movement became more violent the sympathies of our people
were divided. When the revolutionary Republic became
involved in a general European war our Government adopted
a strictly neutral policy and ultimately abrogated the old
treaty of alliance. The Farewell Address, in which Wash-
ington defended this policy, is frequently but not always
fairly quoted. It is -not usually remembered, for instance,
that Washington did not object to "temporary alliances for
extraordinary emergencies."3 In another formal public ad-
dress delivered in the same year, he expressed his own sym-
pathy and that of the American people with the cause of
popular government abroad. In accepting from the French
minister the colors of the new Republic Washington spoke of
having given his best years to secure the establishment of
political liberty in his own country, and added: "My anxious
recollections, my sympathetic feelings, and my best wishes
are irresistibly excited whensoever, in any country, I see an
oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom *
In delivering to you these sentiments I express not my own
feelings only but those of my fellow citizens in relation to
the commencement, the progress, and the issue of the French
The unhappy developments of the next few years disap-
pointed the hopes of democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.
The ideals of republican France were repressed and almost
forgotten in the ruthless militarism of Napoleon. Even
Thomas Jefferson, the most ardent friend of French ralical-
ism, was disillusioned-so much so that in 1802 his adminis-
tration was ready to "marry" the "British fleet and
nation," if necessary to prevent the spread of imperialism
to the New World. When, in defending ourselves against
aggressions on neutral rights, we finally fought with Eng-
land instead of France, in the War of 1812, we did so not
because of any special tenderness for Napoleon's govern-
ment, but largely because the dignity of American citizen-
2 Translation in Jusserand, Americans of Past and Present Day, 14.
'American State Papers, Foreign l:- 1. ri..i I, 37.
4Moore, Digest of International L i. 1 4-.. This passage was quoted by
Henry Clay in his speech of Mar. -'4, 1~l, ;n the House of Representatives,
on the emancipation of the South American States, Works (ed. 1904), VI-142.
ship and the sanctity of human life seemed to us then, as
they do now, more important than the mere infringement of
The War of 1812 had hardly come to an end when our
interest in popular government received a new test. After
the fall of Napoleon the great sovereigns of Europe under-
took to organize a mutual insurance society against militant
imperialism on the one side and revolutionary idealism on
the other. The most consistent defender of hereditary au-
tocracy was the Austrian house of Hapsburg, and its high
priest was the Austrian minister, Prince Metternich.
Closely associated with the Hapsburgs, then, as now, was
the Prussian house of Hohenzollern; then, however, the
"great headquarters" of the combination was at Vienna
instead of Berlin. For 15 years after Waterloo the people
of continental Europe lived under a regime of Prussian-
Austrian-Russian military autocracy, which, with the help
of a most elaborate system of espionage, threatened to stifle
altogether the freer spirit of the revolutionary era. Popu-
lar movements in the German States, in Spain and Portugal,
and in the Italian States were ruthlessly put down with the
help of foreign troops. So far as the Continent of Europe
was concerned, the system of Metternich and his associates
seemed to be effective.
Europe was then infinitely farther away from America
than it is now, and yet not too far away to escape American
interest. President Monroe's annual message to Congress in
1822 contained several references to popular movements in
Europe. He did not propose American intervention; indeed,
any such right of intervention was specifically rejected.
Nevertheless, the President did not hesitate to express in
unmistakable language American sympathy with these lib-
eral movements. He mentioned the Greek struggle for lib-
erty against the Turks with special enthusiasm and referred
to "that great excitement anl sympathy in their favor which
have been so signally displayed throughout the United
States." The message also touched briefly upon the reform
movements in Spain and Portugal and praised the "extraor-
dinary moderation" with which they had been conducted.
Monroe went on, however, to express his anxiety about the
"menacing symptoms" then appearing in Europe. If a
"convulsion" should take place there, it would "proceed
from causes which have no existence and are utterly unknown
in these States, in which there is but one order, that of the
people to which the sovereignty exclusively belongs."
.Happy as the American people were in their isolation, he
feared that even they might be drawn in against their will
by some act of aggression.5
5 Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II, 193-195.
On these perplexing subjects Monroe carried on an active
correspondence with his two predecessors--Jefferson and
Madison. Jefferson believed that America should have a
separate system of its own, but he was willing to enter into
an agreement with Great Britain which would "bring her
mighty weight into the scale of free government" and so
prevent the extension of the European system to the New
World. Jefferson had in mind a proposal that the European
alliance should intervene for the purpose of suppressing
the revolutions in the Spanish-American colonies. Madison
was less cautious than Jefferson about confining American
interest to the New World. The British Government hav-
ing declared its disapproval of European intervention in
South America, Madison asked whether it might not be
"honorable" for the United States to invite Great Britain
to extend its "avowed disapprobation" to the action of the
European alliance in Spain, and even to join in some expres-
sions of sympathy for the Greeks. Even if such a declara-
tion should lead to war the United States would not be in
serious danger in view of the British power on the sea.
Madison expressed the same general idea in a letter to Jef-
ferson: "With the British power and navy combined with
our own we have nothing to fear from the rest of the world,
and in the great struggle of the epoch between liberty and
despotism we owe it to ourselves to sustain the former in
this hemisphere at least."6 "Monroe himself evidently
had a certain amount of sympathy with these suggestions of
Madison's, for the first draft of his famous message to Con-
gress contained, according to John Quincy Adams, an ex-
plicit condemnation of the French intervention in Spain
and a "broad acknowledgment of the Greeks as an inde-
pendent nation."' The determined opposition of his Secre-
tary of State, John Quincy Adams, forced him to confine
his annual message more closely to American affairs; but it
still contained a strong expression of sympathy with the
aspirations of the Greeks for independence. There was, he
said, good reason to suppose "that Greece will become again
an independent nation. That she may obtain that rank is the
object of our most ardent wishes." s
Monroe's sympathy for Greece as a small people trying to
gain liberty and self-government was shared by a number of
prominent public men. The great financier, Albert Gallatin,
proposed that vessels of the United States Navy should co-
operate with the Greeks, and when the matter was discussed
in the President's Cabinet two of its members, Calhoun and
Crawford, expressed some sympathy with the idea. Even
a T1.: r.e-rr i-..e 1.-'u.: Madison and Jefferson is brought together in Moore,
Il... .r t Ilij-,.ir ,r....! a..w, VI, 933.
J. Q. Adams, Diary, VI, 194.
8W. C. Ford in American Historical Review, VII, 676 ff.; VIII. 28 ff.; Mes-
sages and Papers, II, 217.
Adams himself; in a note sent to the Greek agent Luriottis,
in 1823, explaining that the United States could not take part
in the war, spoke of "cheering with their best wishes the
cause of the Greeks." In Congress, Daniel Webster and
Henry Clay were in favor of following up Monroe's declara-
tion of sympathy by some more definite action.
In January, 1824, Webster made a long and impassioned
speech in support of a resolution authorizing the President
to appoint a commissioner to Greece, with the avowed pur-
pose of giving congressional endorsement to the President's
views.o1 He maintained that such an expression of sym-
pathy involved no essential departure from the established
policy of the United States.
That policy, "springing from the nature of our Government and the
spirit of all our institutions, is so far as it respects the interesting
questions which agitate the present age, on the side of liberal and en-
lightened sentiments. * As one of the free States among the
nations, as a great and rapidly rising Republic, it would be impossible
for us, if we were so disposed, to prevent our principles, our senti-
ments, and our example from producing some effect upon the opinions
and hopes of society throughout the civilized world the
great political question of this age is that between absolute and regu-
lated Governments whether society shall have any part in
its own government our side of this question is settled for
us even without our volition our place is on the side of free
Webster did not advocate armed intervention by the United
States in support of Greek independence, but he insisted
that such moral support as could be given by a public decla-
ration ought not to be withheld. Two paragraphs of this
speech have a peculiar interest in this present crisis of our
It may now be required of me to show what interest we have in re-
sisting this new system. What is it to us, it may be asked, upon
wl.at principles or what pretenses the European Governments assert
a right of interfering in the affairs of their neighbors? The thunder,
it may be said, rolls at a distance. The wide Atlantic is between us
and danger; and, however others may suffer, we shall remain safe.
I think it is a sufficient answer to this to say that we are one of the
nations of the earth; that we have an interest, therefore, in the pres-
ervation of that system of national law and national intercourse
which h s heretofore subsisted so beneficially for us all. *
The enterprising character of the age, our own active, commercial
spirit, the great increase which has taken place in the intercourse
among civilized and commercial States, have necessarily connected us
with other nations and given us a high concern in the preservation of
those salutary principles upon which that intercourse is founded.
We have as clear an interest in international law as individuals have
in the lai s of society.l
*J. Q. Adams, Diary, VI, 173, 198; American State Papers, Foreign Rela-
tions, V, 257.
"OWritings and Speeches (Ed. 1903), V, 01-93. Cf. his Private Correspond-
ence, ibid., XVII, 328, 332, 338.
1 Writings and Speeches (Ed. 1903), V, 75.
Finally, Webster declared that this expression of sympathy
should be given at a time when it would do some good. "I am
not of those who would, in the hour of national peril, withhold
such encouragement as might be properly and lawfully given,
and, when the crisis should be passed, overwhelm the rescued
sufferer with kindness and caresses."
Webster's resolution, though supported by the eloquence
of Henry Clay, was not adopted, but it doubtless helped to
stimulate interest in the Greek cause. Some Americans en-
listed in the revolutionary army and funds were sent over
by "Philhellenic" committees. European liberals were in-
clined to attach some significance in this connection to the
cruise of an American squadron in the Mediterranean under
the command of Commodore John Rodgers; but, though
there was some exchange of social courtesies between Rodgers
and the officials of the Greek revolutionary government,
there is no evidence of any departure from the rules of
neutrality.12 American interest in the Greek cause was suf-
ficient to bring out a letter of thanks from the President of
their National Assembly to President John Quincy Adams,
which he transmitted to Congress with his annual message of
1827. In this letter the Greek President declared that "In
extending a helping hand toward the Old World and en-
couraging it in its march toward freedom and civilization,
the New World covers itself with increased glory and does
honor to humanity." 13
The attitude of the United States toward the Spanish-
American revolutions was the outcome of various motives,
and there was at first sharp difference of opinion as to the
stand which the Government should take. Henry Clay
spoke for those who sympathized most strongly with the
South American Republics. He suggested the possibility
of intervention in their favor as early as 1816, and in the
following year he opposed a bill to prohibit the building of
ships in American ports for the Spanish-American insur-
gents. In some of his most impassioned oratory he de-
scribed "the glorious spectacle of 18,000,000 of people
struggling to burst their chains and be free."14 The com-
paratively conservative attitude of the administration,
guided by Secretary Adams, delayed our recognition of the
South American Republics until 1822, when it had become
reasonably sure that they would be able to maintain their
independence against Spain. After their independence had
been recognized, Clay and Adams were as one in opposing any
increase of European interference in the New World. When
'. Lrttr' ..f Lafayette, in Clay, Works (ed. 1904), VI, 245; in Webster,
XW ..r:. XL[I 404, 408; in Lafayette, Memoires, Correspondance, etc., VI.
-'', 2.; ,i'. Paullin, Commodore John Rodgers, ch. 13; Richards, Journals
and Letters of Samuel Gridley Howe, I, passim.
American State Papers, Foreign Relations, VI, 627, 636, 637.
"4 Clay, Works (ed. 1904), VI, 96; 100 ff., 140.
the Russian minister read to Adams a note extolling the
.principles of the European system of intervention against
revolutionary movements, our Secretary drafted in reply a
statement so aggressive in its defense of the republican
ideals of his own Government that Monroe asked him to
tone it down for fear of giving unnecessary offense to
the Russian Czar.16 In one passage, which was struck out
of this rough draft, Adams proposed to refer to "the great
satisfaction with which the President had noticed that para-
graph [of the Russian note] which contains the frank and
solemn admissions that the undertaking of the allies [against
liberalism in Portugal and Spain], yet demands a last apol-
ogy to the eyes of Europe."
What Adams stood out for in 1823 was the idea of
defending the western world from European aggression,
and that was, in substance, accepted by Monroe. Un-
doubtedly we feared the possibility of European conquests
in South America and in the West Indies; but the great
message of December, 1823, the starting point, if not the
complete expression, of our present Monroe doctrine, is
charged through and through with the idea that the funda-
mental difference between American policy and that of the
continental powers of Europe resulted from the nature of
their political institutions: "The political system of the
allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that
of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists
in their respective Governments"; therefore "we should
consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to
any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace
and safety."" In short, the American Government of 1823,
before the days of the steamship and the ocean cable not
to speak of the wireless telegraph, the submarine, and the
airship-at a time when America seemed a world by itself,
thought it sufficient to say that the Western Hemisphere
must be made safe for democracy.
Seven years after the Monroe doctrine was promulgated
the European revolution of 1830 materially weakened the
autocratic governments against which that doctrine was
directed; but a still greater upheaval came in the "earth-
quake year" of 1848. France returned for a time to re-
publican government, and German liberals joined in a prom-
isifig movement which seemed likely to transform, if not
to overthrow, the divine-right monarchies of Vienna and
Berlin. These hopes were for the most part doomed to
disappointment, and America became the refuge of those
German liberals who preferred liberty in a new home to
autocratic militarism in the old. Again Americans listened
V. I' Ford in American Historical Review, VIII, 28-46.
N' I- . g: and Papers of the Presidents, II, 217-219.
with the keenest interest to the great debate between abso-
lute and "regulated" government, between the advocates
of ultimate control by the people and those who, as Webster
said, believed "that all popular or constitutional rights are held
no otherwise than as grants from the crown."
The diplomatic correspondence of the United States for
that period shows that these popular movements in Germany
were given careful attention by our Government. The re-
ports of Mr. Donelson, our minister in Berlin, described the
progress of the movement to liberalize the Prussian Govern-
ment, then entirely without a constitution, and referred to
the interest shown by the popular leaders in the Federal and
State Constitutions of the United States. Finally, when
representatives from the various German States met at
Frankfort to organize a new federal government, based on
the authority of the German people rather than of the reign-
ing princes, Mr. Donelson was authorized by the President
"to proceed to Frankfort and there, as the diplomatic repre-
sentative of the United States, recognize the provisional
government of the new German confederation; provided,
you shall find such a government in successful operation."
These instructions were issued on July 24, 1848; and in
August of that year Donelson was appointed envoy extraordi-
nary and minister plenipotentiary to the Frankfort Govern-
ment. In March, 1849, Zachary Taylor became President, and
his Secretary of State, Mr. Clayton, took up the correspondence
with Donelson at Frankfort.17
Donelson's instructions of July 8, 1849 discuss the German
situation at length and, though urging the importance of
great caution on the part of our representatives abroad and
disavowing in particular any intention of intervening be-
tween the liberal and reactionary elements, nevertheless
emphasize the sympathy of the United States with the
popular movement. Donelson was informed that his mission
to Frankfort "originated in the strong desire of this Gov-
ernment to manifest a proper degree of sympathy for the
efforts of the German people to ameliorate their condition,
by the adoption of a form of government which should
secure their liberties and promote their happiness." It was
the cordial desire of the United States that a constitution
might be established "for all Germany, which will render
the nation great and powerful, and will secure to every
German citizen the blessings of liberty and order.
Should either a republican form of government, or that of
a limited monarchy (founded on a popular and permanent
basis), be adopted by any of the States of Germany, we are
bound to be the first, if possible, to hail the birth of the new
"1Ms. "Prussian instructions" in the archives of the Department of State;
Buchanan, Writings, III, 130, 152, 167, Sen. Ex. Doc., 31st Cong., 2d Sess., No. 1.
government, and to cheer it in every progressive movement
that has for its aim the attainment of the priceless and count-
less blessings of freedom." The following passage is worth
quoting as illustrating the official American view of the funda-
mental issues at stake:
Frcm what intelligence we have been enabled to gather on this side
of the Atlantic we understand that there are, at this time, two parties
in Germany, each seeking to establish a constitution for a Germanic
Empire; and that the essential difference between them consists in
this-that one of them desires to form a constitution, which has for
its basis a recognition of the principle that the people are the true
source of all power; and the other, a constitution based on the
despotic principle that kings hold their power by divine right, and
that the constitutions to be established under their auspices are
boons granted to the people, by them, as the only legitimate sources
of power. It is hardly necessary for me to say to you that all the
sympathies of the Government and the people of the United States are
with the former party.18
Americans learned of these things not merely by reading
the papers but from the lips of political exiles who found a
refuge in America. Republican idealists from Germany like
Carl Schurz, Friedrich Hecker, and Franz Sigel found
here a sympathetic hearing and gave to their adopted
country that spirit of free loyalty which was discouraged
in their old home. From Hungary, struggling to establish its
independence of the Hapsburg dynasty, came the ardent revo-
lutionist, Louis Kossuth.
Kossuth was a man of picturesque personality, and the
Hungarian revolt made a strong appeal to American sympa-
thies, which found expression even in the official utterances
of our leaders. The administration of President Taylor
showed its interest in the Hungarian revolution by appoint-
ing a special agent, with authority to recognize the independ-
ence of the new State "promptly," "in the event of her abil-
ity to sustain it." The language used in the instruction of this
agent, which later became public, was strongly resented by the
Austrian Government because Hungary was described as "a
great people rising superior to the enormous oppression"
that had "so long weighed her down." In his annual mes-
sage of 1849, President Taylor declared that he had thought
it his duty, "in accordance with the general sentiment of the
American people, who deeply sympathized with the M;,L'.y;r
patriots, to stand prepared, upon the contingency of the
establishment by her of a permanent government, to be the
first to welcome independent Hungary into the family of
nations." The hopes of Hungary had, he said, been de-
feated through the intervention of Russia, and the American
Government had not interfered in the contest; but "the
feelings of the [American] Nation were strongly enlisted
as Ms. "Prussian instructions" in the archives of the Department of State.
in the cause, and by the sufferings of a brave people, who had
made a gallant though unsuccessful effort to be free." 19
After the collapse of the Hungarian revolution, Congre-c
passed a joint resolution, approved by President Fillmore,
March 3, 1851, declaring that "the people of the United States
sincerely sympathize with the Hungarian exiles, Kossuth and
his associates," and concluding as follows:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the
United States be, and hereby is, requested to authorize the employ-
ment of some of the public vessels which may be now cruising in the
Mediterranean to receive and convey to the said United States the
said Louis Kossuth and his associates in captivity.
An 'American ship was accordingly sent to bring the
exiles from Turkey. On his arrival in Washington, Kos-
suth was formally received by the President and by both
Houses of Congress, and was the guest of honor at a con-
gressional dinner presided over by the President of the
Against all this official and semiofficial recognition of a
revolutionary leader the Austrian Government protested
through its charge d'affairs in Washington. To this pro-
test Webster, then Secretary of State, made a vigorous reply
in the so-called Hiilsemann letter, which went somewhat
beyond the bounds of conventional diplomacy and has since
been severely criticized. It is nevertheless interesting be-
cause it contains another emphatic expression of American
interest in popular government abroad. The United States,
Webster declared, would not take a direct part in the strug-
gles of foreign peoples for constitutional government.
"But," he continued, "when the United States behold the
people of foreign countries without any such interference
spontaneously moving toward the adoption of institutions
like their own, it surely can not be expected of them to
remain wholly indifferent spectators." Not only the Ameri-
can people but their Government had, he declared, the right
to express their own opinions "upon the great political
events which may transpire among the civilized nations of
the earth." 21
Webster's ardent defense of American political ideals was
doubtless influenced by his desire to stimulate patriotism
and so check the rising tide of sectional feeling which had
developed out of the slavery controversy. A few years later,
the Government whose principles Webster had so eloquently
expounded was fighting for its own existence, and obliged to
look on helplessly while the same Napoleon who had over-
thrown the second French Republic proceeded to set up a
vassal monarchy in Mexico with an Austrian prince at its
M Moore, Digest, International Law, I, 72.
~0 Ibid., VI, 905; U. S. Statutes at Large, IX, 647.
1 Moore, Digest, International Law, I, 72.
head. Once more, as in the days of our struggle for inde-
pendence, a leader of American democracy appealed to Euro-
pean liberals for their sympathy and moral support. In his
great message of July 4, 1861, Lincoln declared that the war
for the Union was essentially a "people's contest." "This
issue," he said, "embraces more than the fate of these United
States. It presents to the whole family of man the question
whether a constitutional republic or democracy-a government
of the people by the same people-can or can not maintain its
territorial integrity against its own domestic foes." 22
In 1863, after the emancipation proclamation, Lincoln was
able to make a still stronger appeal to European liberals, and
this appeal met with a hearty response, especially from the
"plain people" of England. In one of the most notable let-
ters he ever wrote, he acknowledged a sympathetic address
from the workingmen of London and thanked them for the
"exalted and humane sentiments by which it was inspired." 23
He went on to declare his faith in the community of democratic
interests on both sides of the Atlantic:
As these sentiments are manifestly the enduring support of the free
institutions of England, so I am sure also that they constitute the only
reliable basis for free institutions throughout the world.
The resources, advantages, and powers of the American people are
very great, and they have consequently succeeded to equally great
It seems to have devolved upon them to test whether a government
established on the principles of human freedom can be maintained
against an effort to build one upon the exclusive foundation of human
bondage. They will rejoice with me in the new evidences which your
proceedings furnish that the magnanimity they are exhibiting is justly
estimated by the true friends of freedom and humanity in foreign
At a time when a strong section of the English ruling class
were ready to recognize the Southern Confederacy and so
prevent the restoration of the Union, the ability of the
British workingmen to recognize this solidarity of democratic
interests was a political fact of great importance.
The closing years of this warlike decade brought some
notable victories for democracy in both hemispheres, despite
the military methods which made Prussia a world power.
The Federal Republic of the United States was saved from
disintegration and established on a more democratic basis.
Under pressure from the United States Napoleon III with-
drew his troops from Mexico in 1867, and the imperial gov-
ernment which he had set up there collapsed at once. Three
years later Napoleon's Empire at home also broke down under
the stress of war and the third French Republic was estab-
lished. This was also a victorious time for the British de-
22 Works (Nicolay and Hay ed. 1894), II, 57, 58, 64.
Works (Nicolay and Hay ed. 1894), II, 308, 309. See also a similar let-
ter to the workingmen of Manchester. Ibid., 301-302.
mocracy. In 1867 the voting privilege was given for the first
time to a large section of the working classes in the industrial
centers of England and in the same year Canada secured a
new constitution with almost complete freedom for the man-
agement of her own affairs. And with all these changes came
a better understanding between the United States and the two
great liberal States of western Europe.
The reestablishment of the French Republic gave the
United States an opportunity to illustrate one of the inter-
esting traditions of our diplomacy, namely, that of giving
prompt recognition to a new republican government.
Tp .-,ty-l-ii years before, in 14"-, the American minister in
Paris was the first to recognize the second French Republic,
and our Secretary of State, approving this step, declared
that if he had allowed the representative of any other nation
to precede him "in this good work it would have been
regretted by the President." When Napoleon III over-
threw this republican government our minister refused for a
time to attend his weekly receptions, because he did not
wish to give sanction to a step by which the safeguards of
civil and political liberty had been "trodden underfoot."
In 1870, when the present republic was founded, the trans-
Atlantic cable was already in operation, and in accordance
with telegraphic instructions from President Grant, the
American minister was again the first to recognize it and
extend congratulations to the French people on establishing
a government "disconnected with the dynastic traditions of
Europe." 24 When, therefore, during the past year our Gov-
ernment took the lead in recognizing the Republic of Russia it
was following definite American precedents.
A study of this record clearly establishes two features
of American policy during the life of our Republic: First,
that the traditional sympathy of the American people with
popular government abroad has repeatedly been declared
in the public utterances of our official representatives. We
have not felt bound to suppress even in the formal docu-
ments of our Government our inveterate prejudice in favor
of free institutions and our sense of the essential unity of
the cause of liberalism and self-government throughout the
world. Secondly, we have declared with special emphasis
not only our sympathy with, but our practical interest in,
the defense of other American republics against efforts to
extend the European system to this hemisphere. We have
done this, partly at least, on the ground that there was a
difference between our system and that of Europe, resulting
from the difference in our political institutions; that States
founded upon liberal or democratic institutions have a com-
24 Moore, Digest of International Law, I, 43.
mon interest as against those which atre based upon dynastic
and reactionary principles.
* Until recently we have limited our actual intervention in
defense of these principles to the American hemisphere. As
Mr. Olney said in his famous note to Lord Salisbury during
the Venezuelan boundary dispute of 1895, we have desired to
keep free from the system which has converted Europe into a
group of armed camps. We have believed in the possibility
of American isolation from the dominant forces of the Old
World. During the last quarter century, however, the world
has undergone enormous changes. The great military power
which has threatened to dominate Europe has extended its
formidable system of espionage to the New World; it has at-
tempted to draw one of our Latin-American neighbors into a
conspiracy against our territory; its submarines have at-
tacked American commerce within a few miles of our coast.
To the ocean steamship and the ocean cable have now been
added the airship and the wireless telegraph. It is these
hard facts which have put an end to the "splendid isolation"
of our earlier days. It is only in a world made safe for democ-
racy that America herself can be safe and free.