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ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE SOUTHERN COMMERCIAL CONGRESS HELD AT
MOBILE, ALA., OCTOBER 27, 1913
The Southern Commercial Congress was organized December 8, 1908, in the City of Washington, District of Columbia, primarily, as its name indicates, for the interests of the South-which are, however, inextricably bound up with the interests of all the states of the Union. Its annual meetings are notable occasions, and not the least notable was the meeting at Mobile, Alabama, in October, 1913, where President Wilson delivered an address largely dealing with the relations which should exist between the United States and the other Republics of the New World, an address which the peoples of those Republics considered memorable.
YOUR EXCELLENCY, MR. CHAIRMAN:
It is with unaffected pleasure that I find myself here to-day. I once before had the pleasure, in another southern city, of addressing the Southern Commercial Congress. I then spoke of what the future seemed to hold in store for this region, which so many of us love and toward the future of which we all look forward with so much confidence and hope. But another theme directed me here this time. I do not need to speak of the South. She has, perhaps, acquired the gift of speaking for herself. I come because I want to speak of our present and prospective relations with our neighbors to the south. I deemed it a public duty, as well as a personal pleasure, to be here to express for myself and for the Government I represent the welcome we all feel to those who represent the Latin American States.
The future, ladies and gentlemen, is going to be very different for this hemisphere from the past. These
States lying to the south of us, which have always been. our neighbors, will now be drawn closer to us by innumerable ties, and, I hope, chief of all, by the tie of a common understanding of each other. Interest does not tie nations together; it sometimes separates them. But sympathy and understanding does unite them, and I believe that by the new route that is just about to be opened, while we physically cut two continents asunder, we spiritually unite them. It is a spiritual union which we seek.
I wonder if you realize, I wonder if your imaginations have been filled with the significance of the tides of commerce. Your governor alluded in very fit and striking terms to the voyage of Columbus, but Columbus took his voyage under compulsion of circumstances. Constantinople had been captured by the Turks and all the routes of trade with the East had been suddenly closed. If there was not a way across the Atlantic to open those routes again, they were closed forever, and Columbus set out not to discover America, for he did not know that it existed, but to discover the eastern shores of Asia. He set sail for Cathay and stumbled upon America. With that change in the outlook of the world, what happened? England, that had been at the back of Europe with an unknown sea behind her, found that all things had turned as if upon a pivot and she was at the front of Europe; and since then all the tides of energy and enterprise that have issued out of Europe have seemed to be turned westward across the Atlantic. But you will notice that they have turned westward chiefly north of the Equator and that it is the northern