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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Country and People
By Hamilton Wright Mabie (1846–1916)
From ‘American Ideals’

MUCH confusion of thought has been caused by the habit of speaking of peoples as if they were all cast in the same mold. We are so accustomed to the use of the phrase “the Japanese,” “the English,” “the Americans” that we have come to think of these words as definite and exact characterizations. Nothing could be more misleading; these peoples have certain physical characteristics which are the results of race and climate; they have certain racial forms of thought and speech; but they present differences of character and culture as marked as those which exist between alien races. It has taken Europe a long time to learn that there are Americans and Americans; and that the London cockney is not further removed in intelligence from the Englishman of university training than is the ignorant American from the man who, like Lowell, has the knowledge of the Old and the wit of the New World. In France the men of Normandy and of Brittany are Frenchmen, but in temperament and habit of thought they are farther apart than some Frenchmen and Italians.  1
  America, like Japan, has several climates. In the Far North deep snow lies on the ground almost half the year; in the woods of Maine and Michigan the winter has an arctic severity. In the Far South the roses bloom in every month, and sea bathing is a recreation in January. On the New England coast when fogs and east winds are making men ask whether life is worth living, the everglades of Florida are brilliant with tropical flowers, and the sky of Southern California is cloudless.  2
  And in these different environments different types of men have been bred. The New England type and the Southern type have been specially definite in their diversities and exceptionally influential in shaping the affairs of the country. New England was settled by men and women of resolute will, strong convictions, self-denying frugality and industry, with a great regard for education. The climate was rigorous and the soil exacting full payment in toil for every ounce of product. Family life was singularly pure and unworldly; integrity, self-reliance, and the habit of work were fundamental in the education of children. Independence of judgment was carried to an extreme, and no section of the country has bred so many reformers and rebels against conventions, ready to stand alone if need be for a principle. In almost every New England village there will still be found a recluse, who lives by himself because he cannot make the compromise with absolute freedom which living with others would involve. The New Englander has been the founder of colleges, the organizer of churches, the leader of ethical movements.  3
  In the South, on the other hand, the climate is milder, the soil more responsive. There is far more activity in the saddle and with the gun, and social life has filled a much larger place in the sum total of living. There has been less seriousness of spirit, though no less power of sacrifice. Manners have been more gracious, though they have expressed no greater readiness to help than the more restrained New Englander has felt. A more relaxed temper has made life less strenuous than in New England; and while religious faith has been more conservative its pressure on social habits has been more lightly borne.  4
  The people of the West bear the impress of both sections, but have developed types of their own; they have the New England faith in education, but they have shaped their universities with a free hand to meet their own conditions; they stand together in all times of need and in all enterprises for the common benefit with uncalculating loyalty and generosity; they have the strong social instinct of the South, but they are far more democratic in spirit and habit. The somewhat rigid outlines of the New England type are blurred in the West, while the easy-going Southern habit is re-enforced by fresh energy and the passion for success. Manners are unconventionally cordial.  5
  The landscape of the country is on a vast scale and presents certain broad divisions which have played their part in the development of the nation. The Atlantic seaboard is a long stretch of comparatively level and arable country from Maine in the North to Florida at the South. In this belt are the older cities and communities; the stubborn but well-worked farms of New England; the broad fertility of New York and Pennsylvania; the garden-like fruit farms of Delaware and Maryland; the naturally productive soil of Virginia, and the rice and cotton fields of South Carolina. At the back of this long stretch of comparatively level strip of country rises a range of mountains running from North to South, and in the earlier days forming a formidable barrier to the growth of the colonies westward. From the western slope of these mountains there stretches a vast tract of country which the Mississippi and its tributaries first opened to the world; an empire within the continent; a thousand miles and more of fertile soil which was once largely prairie country and is now a vast community of farms with large and intensely active cities as distributing centres. Where the prairies—level, fertile, and, in the spring, radiant with flowers—end the plains begun, at a much higher altitude and with a colder and dryer climate. They were formerly ranges over which wild cattle roamed; later domesticated cattle were driven hither and thither over a great stretch of unoccupied country which is now made fertile by irrigation and divided into great cattle farms. This tract of country still in the early stages of development ends at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which traverse the continent from North to South, and slope westward to the Pacific.  6
  An American artist of distinction has said of the noble figure of Buddha at Kamakura: “It is not a little thing made big, like our modern colossal statues; it has always been big, and would be so if reduced to life size.” The figure, in other words, is not simply large; it is great. It was conceived on a great scale and was executed with a commensurate boldness and power. Size of itself is not significant, it may be mere extension of surface, a vast landscape without composition.  7
  There is a radical difference between size and scale. America is not simply a large country; it is, speaking geographically, a great country, a country fashioned on a great scale. If the continent is studied in elevation, it will show diversities of structure—composition, as the painters would call it—as clearly as Japan, Italy, or England. It is not, as some people seem to imagine, a vast monotony of prairie and plain; it is a continent of manifold diversities of landscape.  8
  The scale on which the country is molded is an element which has deeply impressed the imagination of the people from the beginning and has deeply affected their history. Bryant, the earliest American poet of importance, gave his verse an elemental quality and conveyed a sense of the mystery which inheres in vastness. It may be that the tendency to moralization, which Dr. Nitobe has noted in the closing lines of the fine verses ‘To a Waterfowl,’ and which he rightly says no Japanese poet would have felt it necessary to add, was a refuge from the almost overwhelming sense of vastness on the American continent. In the presence of a landscape of such extent and majesty men of imagination are driven to offset the mass or weight of earth with assertions of the supremacy of the spirit. And it is a significant fact about American literature that its notes have been idealistic and altruistic; it has lacked so far the solidity and physical basis, so to speak, of the older literatures, but it has had notable purity of tone and elevation of thought. On the bleak New England coasts in the days of the first migration, on the level sweep of prairie country in the time of the second migration, on the edges of the Grand Canyon or in the lonely gorges of the Rocky Mountains or of the Sierra Nevadas to-day, men take refuge from the sense of insignificance in the assertion of their spiritual superiority.  9
  The scale on which the continent is molded has laid on Americans a task of almost crushing magnitude. The work of exploration and settlement, begun almost three centuries ago, is still incomplete. The transcontinental railways were constructed by men many of whom are still living, and the disappearance of the frontier is a matter of the last ten years; frontier conditions still continue in large sections of the country, and vast tracts of land are still to be settled and developed. The work of settlement has involved continuous toil and almost continuous danger; and the foundations of every new community have been laid in self-denial, self-sacrifice, heroic work, and indomitable hope. Americans have been criticized for the slowness with which their art has developed; but their critics forget the preoccupation of a task of colossal magnitude, the absorption of energy and strength involved in reclaiming a continent and converting it into three thousand miles of practically continuous farms; with the building of roads, making of tools, and creation of governmental, educational, and social institutions, which have been involved in this development.  10
  Emerson has said in effect that the most valuable product of a farm is not crops but character, and that men take out of the earth much more than they put into it. The conversion of a continent into a home has largely shaped American character and must be taken into account in any study of their life. It has exalted work into something like a religion; it has discredited the idler; it has awakened the active qualities and stimulated self-reliance, self-respect, and the passion for personal independence. In every country the owners of land have great influence; in America they form a very large proportion of the population, and the able men who are the managers of the business of the country from offices and banks in the cities are largely drawn from those who were born on farms. The productivity of the American farms for 1912 was nine billion five hundred million dollars, an increase of about one hundred and forty per cent. during the last fifteen years. And now that scientific methods of farming are being introduced, and the betterment of agriculture has become part of the business of the government, under the direction of experts, it is impossible to predict the wealth-producing capacity of American farms in the near future. The production of coal, iron, oil, copper, silver has shown a commensurate increase. Americans are often accused of boasting because they quote such stupendous figures in describing the resources of the country; but it is impossible to ignore these figures, because they are of great significance in the life of the country. They mean not only wealth but energy, ability, opportunity, a heavy tax on time and thought and strength.  11
  To the charge that he is vulgarly rich the American might plead his inability to escape wealth because he has inherited an estate which is so enormously productive; he has shown only the sagacity which other active races would have shown under the same conditions. Those conditions have laid a task on his shoulders which has absorbed his energy and strength for a century and has drawn from the direct service of the State many men of ability, who, in other countries, would have been political leaders. In America public life, as has been pointed out, is not synonymous with politics; it is shared by all men and women who contribute largely to the general welfare: heads of colleges, philanthropists, men of affairs, builders of railroads, organizers of industry. There are in America men of affairs who have shown the daring that in the sixteenth century would have made them great explorers and adventurers, the imagination that would have made them poets, the breadth of view and the sense of things to come that in other countries would have made them statesmen.  12
  It sometimes happens that the heir to a vast property is compelled to devote the earlier years of his possession to the organization and development of his estate; other interests may call him loudly and his heart may respond to their call, but for the moment his work confronts him with such urgency of demand that to leave it undone would be to turn his back on that which Carlyle declared has the supreme claim on a man—the duty that lies next him.  13
  The charge of materialism, which has become the stock in trade of many critics of American society, is largely made, as is most criticism of nations by foreign observers, from a very superficial knowledge of conditions. It may not be a matter of credit to America that it has become a very rich country, and it is certainly true that some Americans have obtruded that fact on the attention of the world too insistently; but it is a matter of simple justice to remember that if America had failed to develop the resources of the continent, the same critics would have put her among those races which either fall a prey to more energetic peoples or furnish standard illustrations of national inefficiency.  14
  The sense of still greater possibilities of development pervades the air of America and finds expression in the speech, the imagination, the temperament of the people. An American artist, on the wall of a library building, has striven to represent the spirit of the people by a procession of men, women, and children. They are all marching together, with eager expectation on their upturned faces, and the morning light shines on them. It was a happy inspiration to paint hope, not as an allegorical figure, but as an impulse which is like martial music to a moving host. In America the future is not an indefinite apprehension; it is an ardent expectation: a promise not only of ample prosperity but of a fuller, more interesting, more satisfying life.  15
  And so the thought of the American to-day centres more and more on the well-being of the coming generation; on the protection of women and children from oppressive working hours and unwholesome industrial conditions; on securing cleanliness, light, and air in the homes of the poor; educational opportunities ample enough for those who want the most thorough technical training and for those who must begin at an early age to care for themselves; the husbanding of the resources of the country for the benefit of future generations. Americans have been prodigal givers of land, forests, mines, water power; they have surrendered to private enterprises sources of great public revenue. They have now reversed this spendthrift policy; henceforth, these resources will be developed and managed by private hands on generous terms; but a proper return will be required in order that the national property may bear its share of the national expenses.  16
  The pressure of work which must be done at once necessarily involved much provisional building of houses and railroads in the country, and has compelled the almost universal rebuilding which is going on in all sections. The same pressure of work and the extent of the territory to be covered have made carelessness, even slovenliness, far too prevalent in America, in most parts of which the neatness which characterizes England and Belgium, for instance, is conspicuously lacking. Here again the element of scale and the shortness of time in which the work has been done must be taken into account.  17
  The impress of scale is seen not only in American aims and character but in its art and literature. In American books there is a new kind of passion for Nature; not the exquisite Greek sense of detail which makes Theocritus both the poet and the natural historian of Sicily; not Wordsworth’s mystical feeling of the presence of the soul suffusing the world with intimations of immortality; not the sensitive response of Tennyson to the elusive and fleeting no less than to the obvious aspect of a world grown familiar with use and intimate through toil and sorrow; but a sense of the vastness, sublimity, and loneliness of Nature; the detachment of a landscape not yet humanized by cultivation and by paths across the fields. Fuji, the Incomparable, rises uncompanioned into the lonely sky, a vast altar set afar in unbroken silence; the highest peaks in America rise out of great ranges of hills, in a landscape so vast that they can be approached only with peril and hardship. If the ‘Lines on Tintern Abbey’ are compared with Lanier’s ‘Marshes of Glynn,’ or the companionable notebook of White of Selbourne with Thoreau’s ‘Maine Woods,’ or Jefferies’ ‘Wild Life in a Southern County’ with Mr. Burroughs’ records of Nature in America, the difference in scale between a small and highly cultivated country like England and a vast and still largely uncultivated country like the United States will stand out with striking distinctness.  18
  Nor does the influence of the scale of resources end with a report of its effect on temperament and achievement; it must be reckoned with in any attempt to understand the financial development of the last forty years. These four decades of growth and prosperity have brought with them temptations to the abuse of success to which the men of no other race have been subjected. The population has grown from thirty-eight and a half millions in 1870 to ninety-three or four millions in 1912. Three years ago the wealth of the country was estimated at $142,000,000,000. These figures are not quoted because they afford any standard of national ability or any measure of national greatness; but simply because they suggest the strain to which the government of the United States and the American character have been subjected. They do not justify boasting, and to-day there is very little inclination in America to print them in large letters on the title page of current history; nor, on the other hand, are they to be apologized for. A nation, like an individual, is not called upon to explain events or experiences which have been beyond its control. It is true, Americans have not neglected the business which has fallen into their hands, but it is also true that Nature, the silent partner in the American enterprise, has furnished the capital and the material from which the tools have been made. In no other country, in so short a time, has such an immense acreage of fertility been opened and such an army of workers responded to the call of opportunity.  19
  The result has been a stimulation of business activity which has intoxicated many men of naturally sober temper. When a great crop is to be gathered in and the weather is uncertain, men work, not only overtime but all the time. In the United States a flood tide of prosperity found the old channels of law and method inadequate, and men have been swept along without any clear realization of the speed with which they were moving. The necessity of handling efficiently the details of enormous business operations and of using vast sums of money has brought into existence combinations of a magnitude undreamed of in the earlier history of the country and the radical effects of which in restricting competition and diminishing individual opportunity were foreseen neither by lawmakers nor by financiers; and the country has slowly awakened to the fact that it must devise some working basis for vast wealth in a few hands in a democratic society.  20
  In this rushing tide of activity some men have been swept from their moral moorings, and the speculative and gambling spirit, which is always stimulated by universal prosperity and from which all countries have suffered, has tempted some men to unscrupulous use of wealth and to downright dishonesty; but the fact that the credit system is the basis of enormous transactions and that, while it is sometimes extended beyond the limits of safety, it is so rarely abused that the confidence of the country in the fundamental integrity of the business community is never seriously disturbed, and that the percentage of loss in handling enormous investments and trust funds is so small as to be almost negligible, furnish the best possible evidence of the soundness of American business men. The finances of the government from the beginning have been managed with conspicuous integrity and the losses through the dishonesty of government officials have been so small that they may be ignored.  21
  Whoever reads the report of corporate oppression in the United States during the last four decades and does not take into account the swift and unparalleled increase in wealth, not only does a great injustice to the country, but fails to understand the situation as completely as Gladstone and Carlyle failed to understand the War between the States fifty years ago.  22
  This prosperity has not gone wholly into luxury, though it has increased the cost of living in America and has led to great elaboration of what may be called the machinery of living, to extravagance, and to display; it has endowed education and scientific investigation on a scale unprecedented in the history of education. To some of these gifts the American public, always quick to see the humorous aspects of current events, has taken a somewhat cynical attitude and has plainly hinted that some gifts to colleges and universities have been attempts at restitution, and that the multimillionaire of to-day who endows a university is the modern successor of the mediæval baron who, after pillaging a city and putting its innocent inhabitants to the sword, made his peace with Heaven by building a church. There is as much human nature in America as there is in England, Germany, or Japan, and there is the same partial application of ideals to action as in these older countries; but the most obvious interest of the American, according to the most capable observers, is his interest in education. It is one of the expressions of his faith in the future which is shared by men of all stations in life. The gifts of private persons are on a great scale, the appropriations of states and cities are on the same scale; the citizen expects to give his children every educational advantage within his means; and in America, as in Japan, no sacrifice is too great to send the boy to college and the university. The newly arrived immigrant in America does not rest until his children are in the schools. Many foreigners think the magic phrase in America is “getting on”; but they are mistaken; that phrase is a compact description of the prosperity which is, in the minds of men and women who have children to guide, a basis for “getting up.” It is a kind of national tradition, even among men who have made great fortunes with little aid from education, that children must have larger opportunities than their parents and that in point of opportunity each generation must stand on the shoulders of the generation which precedes it.  23
  For among Americans education is not only a discipline, a training; it is also a symbol. It stands for the larger freedom which political liberty foreshadows; it means living an ampler life in a larger world. It is one form of that practical idealism, that passion for human betterment, which sent a host of men and women to the New World for conscience’s sake; men and women who opened schools and founded colleges before they were safely housed in the wilderness, and have continued to build schools and colleges as fast as they advanced the frontier toward the Pacific.  24
  They have also built churches, for religion has been one of the major motives in American civilization; a symbol of idealism and a rule of life; and the church has been a centre of social and altruistic activity. In every village there is a substantial church building; often more than are justified by the population; and there is an academy or high school. Puritanism in the New England colonies was not only a form of faith but a political order as well; membership in the church was a qualification for voting. The contemporaries of Milton and Cromwell held their faith with an intensity of conviction which tolerated no differences of opinion. But before the adoption of the Constitution the religious tests had been abolished and freedom of worship recognized as a fundamental right of every citizen. There is no principle which Americans hold more tenaciously than this, nor is there one which they guard with more vigilance. Every attempt to use public funds for sectarian purposes or to secure government aid for such purpose is met by a storm of protest. The government stands absolutely neutral in its relation to religion, and the separation of the State from the Church is complete. The name of the Supreme Being does not occur in the Constitution, and government institutions of all kinds are entirely free from control by any kind of ecclesiastical organization.  25
  The American people have always been and are to-day a religious people. They formed the habit early in their history of suspending business one day in seven, and of keeping Sunday not only as a day of rest but as a day of worship; and, while they have ceased to be Sabbatarians in the rigid sense and have come to believe that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, they still guard the freedom of the day from the intrusion of all business which is not necessary for human safety and comfort, and they attend religious services in large numbers. They have no possession of greater value from a religious or domestic point of view or as a means of public health, of wholesome out-of-door life, of the rest that “reknits the raveled sleeve of care,” and gives workers of all kinds renewal of energy, than the weekly holiday which their ancestors, for two thousand years, have set aside for the things of the spirit. One of their wisest thinkers has touched the secret of the Sunday peace which falls on the rushing industrial life of America and is dear to Americans of every creed in these eloquent words: “When the seventh day dawns, white with the worship of uncounted centuries, the cathedral music of history breathes through it a psalm to our solitude.” Like a quiet path, through which all one’s ancestors have walked, this day, set apart to rest and worship, runs back to the far beginnings of Christian civilization and is one of its most precious gifts to the world.
*        *        *        *        *
  In the American temperament, in spite of its practical energy and consuming activity, there is a deep spring of idealism which has so far found inadequate expression in art, but has been an abundant source of national inspiration in religious activity, education, and practical helpfulness. The division of Christian people into sects, the rigid definitions which their faith has often had in terms of traditional theology, the intense feeling with which creeds have been not only held but imposed upon others, the rapid spread of crude mysticism combined with empirical uses, the attraction of a bald literalism for half-educated people, are the excesses, the one-sided expressions, of a deep and lasting interest in the ultimate questions of human destiny. In the busiest of countries there is one question which is never silenced—the question of immortality.  27
  The religious attitude of the American, which was once largely subjective, is now largely objective; and the test of faith is no longer the acceptance of a definition but some form of service of humanity. There are certain facts which as a believer in a historical religion the Christian in America holds as fundamental, but the value of a man’s religion is estimated in terms of social service. The Puritan emphasis on conduct as the only convincing evidence of the religious spirit makes itself felt more distinctly to-day than ever before in the history of the country; but the weight of that emphasis has been transferred from the individual to society, and the impulse which is stirring Americans as they have not been stirred since the war which ended fifty years ago, and which is behind the leading political parties, is the determination to make industrial and social conditions conform to the standards of Christian ethics. Seventeenth-century Puritanism insisted that a man should save his own soul; twentieth-century Puritanism insists that he shall save society by creating conditions which shall help men to live wholesome lives as human beings.  28
  There has been no more generous and unselfish example of the desire of the American to give the world the best he has than the missionary movement, which took an organized form in Williams College one hundred and seven years ago; a noble adventure in faith and service which has made the world familiar with the highest types of American character; an organized friendship of the spirit which has translated the great words “Peace on earth and good will to men” into all languages.  29
  The country has always been the home of the reforming spirit, and in their most comfortable days Americans have never been satisfied. They grew restive under the existence of slavery, which was carried to America at a time when it was accepted as a normal condition in the greater part of the world; they finally destroyed it by an immense sacrifice of life and property. They have not yet succeeded in solving the difficult problem of controlling the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor, but they have never ceased to make experiments and they have won the fight in many of the states. For many years a vigorous agitation was conducted against Mormonism until the plural marriage was heavily penalized. It is impossible to open an American newspaper without reading reports of the proceedings of some organization to protect women and children from industrial oppression, to open schools in the slums, to build or endow hospitals, to secure playgrounds for children; in a word, in manifold ways to make life more wholesome and happy for the less fortunate and helpless members of society. The American who does not belong to half a dozen organizations of this kind and is not working on half a dozen committees is a rare person. The country is ravaged by societies formed to do good to somebody; men of means, large or small, are besieged with appeals for money for charitable uses, for education, for public purposes. In 1912 the amount given by individuals for education, for religious uses, for general beneficence, not including provisions of all kinds for the poor, exceeded, according to a report reprinted in a Tokyo newspaper, $315,000,000. There have been humorous proposals to organize a society for the suppression of philanthropy and reform; but Americans are every year giving more time and money for altruistic uses.  30
  One of the ablest American politicians has said that if a political movement assumes a moral aspect, nothing can resist it. The one appeal which arouses enthusiasm in Americans to-day is the ethical appeal, and the men who are now the leaders of public opinion are teachers of public morals. Those who have not understood the tasks laid on Americans in making a home for men and women of all races in the New World, nor the temptations which have assailed them, have so often repeated the charge that Americans are materialists, that Europe has fallen into the habit of automatically reiterating a phrase, which, to one who understands the temper of the people of the United States, is not only misleading, but a caricature of the American spirit. What makes a man a materialist? Not dealing with material substances and forms and physical forces, for the vast majority of men spend their lives in patient toil with the stubborn stuff in which and with which the whole world works. One does not call the architect a materialist because he handles enormous masses of stone or iron, or the painter a materialist because he is soiled with pigments, or the musician a materialist because he uses instruments of wood and ivory and metal. A materialist is a man who works with materials and is satisfied with them; whose soul is colored by the things in which he deals, “like the dyer’s hand,” to recall Shakespeare. Those who know America know that it is a national peculiarity to be satisfied with nothing. Americans are not discontented, but they are dissatisfied; they always want something better than they possess; they are eager to get the best life offers; as soon as they get money, they want education, opportunities of travel, art.  31
  They are charged with the willingness to sell their souls for money,—a kind of barter which is extensively carried on in all parts of the world. But Americans care far less for money than many other races. The attractions of business on a great scale for the energetic American is the opportunity of putting forth his full strength, of matching himself against obstacles and overcoming them, of measuring his ability against the ability of competitors; the excitement of playing the game interests him more than winning the stakes. When money in large quantities comes into his hands he does not hoard it; misers are almost unknown in America; he spends it freely; he often lavishes it on his family, and harms his children by his unwise generosity; he gives it away in increasing amounts. The great fortunes which have subjected him to sharp criticism in America have made vast contributions to public uses.  32
  Contrary to the opinion based on the traditional ignorance of American conditions which is now slowly yielding to the pressure of knowledge, the American is very emotional and governed largely by sentiment. The terrible struggle between the States, in which nearly 800,000 men were killed or wounded, and the cost of which was probably not less than $4,000,000,000, not including the destruction of slave property in the South to the extent of $2,000,000,000, showed that when sentiment is involved, the Americans do not count the cost. That is one of the qualities which reveal the ineradicable and controlling idealism which has been a dominating element in America since the first colonists braved the dangers of a new world for conscience’s sake. That idealism has not yet found adequate expression in their art; but it has shaped American institutions. The government is the most daring credit system the world has ever known; it rests on the assumption that men without regard to education or social condition can be trusted with the management of the most important affairs of life.  33
  Americans have regarded their freedom and their opportunities as a trust for humanity and have shared them with men and women of the whole western world. They have made provision for universal education; they have responded to every appeal for aid from other nations in times of calamity; their fleet went instantly to the rescue of Messina, and they organized rebuilding on a large scale; they bore the burden of a war to give Cuba her freedom; the story of their diplomacy in Japan and China need not be rehearsed here; their service to the Philippines is recognized by every traveler; to-day they have undertaken to reorganize their business so as to bring it into accord with the spirit of their institutions and with the Christian ethics they profess. Their faults are recorded in the newspapers of the world. They do not ask for charity of judgment; they must be judged by what they have done and are trying to do under the circumstances in which they have been placed; and their tendency to take a cheerful view of things induces them to hope that the world will sometime take the trouble to understand these circumstances. Whether it does or does not, the Americans will continue to strive to achieve a solution not only of the political problem, which Matthew Arnold declared they had solved, but of the human problem, which is infinitely more complex and difficult, and for which no race or nation has yet found a final solution.  34

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