for a society in which millions are condemned to do dehumanizing work or starve is
The century which is now drawing to end has been so filled with wonders, with progress in
science and wealth, with discoveries and inventions, that it seems to illumine the pages
of history with a blaze of glory. But it is not all light. The failure is as serious as
the success is great.
The individual has not risen as his knowledge has widened and his environment improved.
That he is, is still held to be less important than what he possesses and uses. In the mad
race for wealth multitudes are sacrificed as pitilessly as in warfare; they are dragged by
competition to the verge of starvation; they are driven to work under conditions which
dehumanize. Greed has led to a worldwide struggle as cruel as that of nature, in which
only the strongest or the most cunning and conscienceless survive.
Our society makes criminals, and our penal institutions harden them in wrong-doing. The
people are taxed to support vast armies and to supply them with more and more expensive
and effective instruments of murder; and wars are waged not to liberate and uplift weaker
races, but to rob and oppress them; and these crimes are committed in the name of religion
and civilization. The great powers of Europe look on in stolid indifference while helpless
populations are massacred; and America, which has always meant good-will to men and
opportunity for all, seems to be drifting away from what Americans have loved and lived
for into the evil company of these Old World nations, drunken with lust for conquest and
lust for gold. While knowledge grows, while man's control over the forces of nature
increases, the individual seems to be losing- his hold on the principles which underlie
The power of sustained thought, of persevering labor for high and unselfish ends, the
spirit of sacrifice and devotion, faith and hope, the love of liberty and independence
are, it is to be feared, diminishing.
There is still evil enough in the world to save us from self-complacency, from the foolish
and vulgar habit of self-laudation, but the triumphs of the Nineteenth century have been
sufficiently real and great to inspire confidence and courage in the young who are
preparing- to take their place in the Twentieth as strong and faithful workers in