Save America

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Save America  (1920) 
by Nicholas Murray Butler
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In the approaching contest, the nation faces a crisis. Fundamental principles are involved. Shall the America of our fathers, with its republican form of government, its principles of civil liberty, and its whole democratic social and industrial order be maintained for a new period of constructive progress, or shall it be abandoned for some untried experiment? This is not the first crisis in the history of the republic. This is not the first time that the principles for which the Republican party stands have been called upon to save the country from its enemies.

There are elements in our population which teach doctrines that sound strange to the American ear. The present crisis is brought about by those who have lost faith in America — who no longer believe in, or who do not understand the principles of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution of the United States — who would turn their backs upon a republican form of government, in order to set up in its place a system of control by a privileged class. Such men frankly proclaim their preference for the political philosophy of Lenin and Trotsky to that of Washington, Hamilton, Webster, and Lincoln. Once let the American people understand the issue, and they will rise in their might to overwhelm the enemies of America. The issue is a preservation of the American form of government, with its incomparable blessing of liberty under the law.

The Republican party must lead the way. I like to recall the splendid acts, the stupendous achievements of America under the leadership of its constructive forces. Take the names that have interwoven their teachings and their lives with the name and the fame of our republic through the medium of the principles of the Republican party. Write them out and what becomes of American history? You can not take out of the story of America these names. You can not take out of the story of America their achievements. You can not take out of the story of America their record. It is our duty to strive to be worthy of their example, of their counsel, and of our opportunity.

The question to be settled by the people this year is whether the American nation shall remain upon its foundations of ordered liberty and free opportunity, or whether there will arise in its stead a social democracy — autocracy's best friend — to take over the management of each individual's life and business, to order his comings and his goings, to limit his occupations and his savings, and to say that the great experiment of Washington and Hamilton, of Jefferson and Madison, of Marshall and Webster, of Adams and Clay, of Lincoln and Roosevelt, has come to an end, and gone to join the list of failures in free government, with the ancient republics of Greece and Rome, and their later followers of Venice and of Genoa. Our nation will not divide under the leadership and guidance of the Republican party. It will become all American.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1947, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.