Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]





HERE is a photograph elsewhere in this magazine of a column of American soldiers crossing the Thames with the Houses of the British Parliament in the background. These soldiers. are part of the American Army gone to Europe to fight for political liberty against autocracy. The British Parliament is the mother of modern political liberty, and the larger part of its history belongs as much to those American troops and to the rest of us as it does to the people who live in England. From the time of Magna Charta in 1215 to 1775 we worked out the advance of free institutions together. Since that time we have worked them out separately but along parallel lines. Both nations have considered political liberty as the most vital tenet of existence and both have struggled to increase it at home and extend it abroad. Great Britain has extended a helping hand to the liberal movements in Europe, and we have, under the Monroe Doctrine, guaranteed the opportunity for the people of the Americas to develop their own institutions free from attack by autocracy. In his celebrated pronouncement Monroe let it be known that any attack by autocracy on free institutions in this hemisphere would be met by the armed forces of the United States. When he told the world this decision Monroe knew that he could count on the coöperation of the British fleet in enforcing it. The exponents of autocracy at that time knew it, too. And since then every ambitious autocrat has known

that if he reached his hand toward the Western Hemisphere it meant the American Army and Navy in front of him and the British fleet behind him—and none has tried.

But in 1914 the Kaiser did not know that Great Britain and the United States would come to the defense of political liberty in Europe. He thought that England would stay neutral. He was sure that the United States was so afraid of entangling alliances that it would rather see him crush political liberty in Europe than move a hand to defend it. But he was wrong. Liberty is not an ideal that admits of geographical limitations, and autocracy is the kind of beast that must be killed in its lair if even distant regions are to be safe. But the Kaiser did not know that an attack on liberty in Europe meant war by all democracies. If there had been a doctrine of the immunity of liberty in Europe like the Monroe Doctrine here, announced with the same vigor and supported by the same liberal forces, it is doubtful if the Kaiser would have embarked on war. If after this war there is such a doctrine, it is doubtful if the Kaiser can have a successor. Such a doctrine-the common and immediate defense of political freedom by every liberal country-has not been announced in words; but when the American troops passed Westminster on their way to France they set the seal of action on a Monroe Doctrine of the Worlda union of the Anglo-Saxon and other liberal powers for the defense of democracy. Copyright, 1917, by Doubleday, Page & Co. All rights reserved

« AnteriorContinuar »