Governmental Systems Essay, Research Paper
The questions that need to be answered are complex. Shall the United States declare war and be the great and mighty defender of all nations? As a super power to we have an obligation to rid the world of hierarchies and tyrannical governmental systems? Or, should we focus on our internal problems on the homefront, ensuring that the freedom is ensured for all Americans before prancing the world in an attempt to save other nations? The differing viewpoints of President Wilson, as evidenced in his speech to Congress on April 2, 1917, will be compared with those viewpoints of Eugene V. Debs, in his speech at Canton, Ohio on June 16, 1918.
Woodrow Wilson is asking Congress to essential change its military practices, and put aside all restraints of humanity. He proposes to declare war against Germany, and fight as the Germans fight, without regard for human life or property. He says that this is not a war against the German people, because they had no part in the decisions of their government. But rather, this is a war against all nations. In order to ensure freedom for U.S. citizens, we must fight as the Germans fight. Armed neutrality . . . is impracticable. No longer should we be a nation of peace. He believes that the only solution is for the U.S. to exert all its efforts and resources to essential destroy the German government, including loss of life of innocent people.
Eugene Debs attacks the American government, and refers to it as Capitalist War Monger. He criticizes the American government and Woodrow Wilson in particular, and says essential that our government is no better than theirs is. Here in the U.S., since the early colonial days, Americans have fought to ensure their rights, first from England, and then continued to fight against the class systems within this country. The wealthy have historically controlled the working class. While the government calls us a great free republic, that our institutions are democratic; that we are a free and self-governing people. He refers to this concept of freedom as a joke. Eugene Debs states that socialist movement, will be the mightiest movement in the history of mankind. The socialist concept will prevail against capitalism. Capitalist landowners that control the American government reap its riches; the socialist working class pays the price. How can the American government go out and try to save all the nations of the world when it does not ensure the freedoms of its own countrymen?
In Wilson s speech he proposes that we unite with other nations to conquer Germany and its allies. He states:
that the object of this move is to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power and to set up amongst the really free and self-governed peoples of the world such a concert of purpose and of action as will henceforth ensure the observance of those principles.
These statements sound reasonable enough, don t they? We have power. We re a great nation. There are governments who exploit other countries as well as their own countrymen. It would be the logical and humane action to try and save the nations of the world, wouldn t it?
Eugene Debs refers to wars going back through the Middle Ages. Throughout history wars have been waged for conquest and plunder. When masters declared war on one another, the subject class has always fought the battles. . . the master class has all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain but all to lose. He compares that to what will happen if the country should heed to the proposal of Woodrow Wilson by saying,
the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, . . . who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace.
Debs focuses on the working class always ready to fight for freedom, although its country governmental systems and social class divisions have been unfair to its working class members.
Debs does not see declaring war on Germany as an obligation of the U.S. government. He does not have the view that there are any pure motives involved in this move. Instead, he criticizes the government for not taking care of its own issues here in the U.S. Here in this country, where poverty is prevalent, and people are treated unjustly, is where our government should place its focus. Yet, our government is prepared to use all of its financial and human resources to fight the battles of the world. Capitalist countries gain power while the countrymen lose precious lives.
Debs goes on to compare the illiteracy of the upper class Americans in the area of history knowledge. He states, give me a hundred capitalists and let me ask them a dozen simple questions about the history of their own country and I will prove to you that they re as ignorant and unlettered as any you may find in the so-called lower class. Here Debs is trying to make a point that the rich capitalists who make all the governmental decisions haven t a clue of the historical roots upon which freedom is based. Yet, they proclaim that they are ready to defend that freedom.
Although I believe that Woodrow Wilson s words and views have some merit. We cannot stand timidly by as other nations are exploited, when we have the internal powers to make a difference in the world and help others. But if those reasons for declaring war contain selfish motives of conquest, our nation should be ashamed. Debs, though quite radical, he has heart for the people and love of his countrymen. True patriotism is within the heart and soul of everyone who loves his fellowman. I believe Deb s statements are honorable and he is a true defender of the people. Many of those statements made in his speech were subsequently addressed by our government and are a part of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Wilson s comments strike me as being barbaric. His speech implies that the only way to have true peace and freedom is to become as the German s have become, without regard for human life. Is breaking all the rules the answer? It would seem to me that the U.S. does not have to lower its standards to achieve this means. I share most of Debs viewpoints.