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whether they be the interests of the community or of the nation.
A year and a half ago our thought would have been almost altogether of great domestic questions. They are many and of vital consequence. We must and shall address ourselves to their solution with diligence, firmness, and self-possession, notwithstanding we find ourselves in the midst of a world disturbed by great disaster and ablaze with terrible war; but our thought is now inevitably of new things about which formerly we gave ourselves little concern. We are thinking now chiefly of our relations with the rest of the world,-not our commercial relations,-about those we have thought and planned always, but about our political relations, our duties as an individual and independent force in the world to ourselves, our neighbors, and the world itself.
Our principles are well known. It is not necessary to avow them again. We believe in political liberty and founded our great government to obtain it, the liberty of men and of peoples,-of men to choose their own lives and of peoples to choose their own allegiance. Our ambition, also, all the world has knowledge of. It is not only to be free and prosperous ourselves, but also to be the friend and thoughtful partisan of those who are free or who desire freedom the world over. If we have had aggressive purposes and covetous ambitions. they were the fruit of our thoughtless youth as a nation and we have put them aside. We shall, I confidently believe, never again take another foot of territory by conquest. We shall never in any circumstances seek to
make an independent people subject to our dominion; because we believe, we passionately believe, in the right of every people to choose their own allegiance and be free of masters altogether. For ourselves we wish nothing but the full liberty of self-development; and with ourselves in this great matter we associate all the peoples of our own hemisphere. We wish not only for the United States but for them the fullest freedom of independent growth and of action, for we know that throughout this hemisphere the same aspirations are everywhere being worked out, under diverse conditions but with the same impulse and ultimate object.
All this is very clear to us and will, I confidently predict, become more and more clear to the whole world as the great processes of the future unfold themselves. It is with a full consciousness of such principles and such ambitions that we are asking ourselves at the present time what our duty is with regard to the armed force of the Nation. Within a year we have witnessed what we did not believe possible, a great European conflict involving many of the greatest nations of the world. The influences of a great war are everywhere in the air. All Europe is embattled. Force everywhere speaks out with a loud and imperious voice in a titanic struggle of governments, and from one end of our own dear country to the other men are asking one another what our own force is, how far we are prepared to maintain ourselves against any interference with our national action or development.
In no man's mind, I am sure, is there even raised the question of the willful use of force on our part