The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 21, 1941



Site Ed. Note: Read FDR's third inaugural address, delivered the day before, as discussed in "The Test". No doubt, Cash's attention was especially riveted to the speaker of his Philco by the passages which went:

"A nation, like a person, has a body--a body that must be fed and clothed and housed, invigorated and rested, in a manner that measures up to the objectives of our time.

A nation, like a person, has a mind--a mind that must be kept informed and alert, that must know itself, that understands the hopes and the needs of its neighbors--all the other nations that live within the narrowing circle of the world.

And a nation, like a person, has something deeper, something more permanent, something larger than the sum of all its parts. It is that something which matters most to its future--which calls forth the most sacred guarding of its present.

It is a thing for which we find it difficult--even impossible--to hit upon a single, simple word.

And yet we all understand what it is--the spirit--the faith of America. It is the product of centuries. It was born in the multitudes of those who came from many lands--some of high degree, but mostly plain people, who sought here, early and late, to find freedom more freely...

But it is not enough to achieve these purposes alone. It is not enough to clothe and feed the body of this Nation, and instruct and inform its mind. For there is also the spirit. And of the three, the greatest is the spirit.

Without the body and the mind, as all men know, the Nation could not live.

But if the spirit of America were killed, even though the Nation's body and mind, constricted in an alien world, lived on, the America we know would have perished."

Not surprisingly, some of Cash's "The South in a Changing World", delivered June 2 in Austin, Texas, would echo parts of Roosevelt's speech.

The case to which Cash refers in "Wise Ruling" is Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 US 52. Justice Black wrote for the 6-3 majority.

An Expert

Against Ironpants There Is General Pershing

One of the favorite arguments of propaganda for the America First group like General Hugh Johnson and General R. E. Wood is that the Aid-Britain philosophy that we are in danger from Hitler, that England is our first line of defense, and that the only way to keep war away from the Americas is to defeat Hitler before England--that this notion is held and argued for only by hysterical people who are utterly ignorant of military matters.

In view of that it is worth remembering what John J. Pershing, the sole full general of the armies and a real expert in grand strategy had to say over the radio Sunday, August 4, 1940. Here is part of it:

"It is not hysterical to insist that democracy and liberty are threatened... By sending help to the British we can still hope with confidence to keep the war on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, where the enemies of liberty, if possible, should be defeated. But some are bold about what they would do tomorrow if Great Britain is defeated and the war comes to this hemisphere. I say to you solemnly that today may be forever too late to keep war from the Americas. Today may be the last time when by measurers short of war we can still prevent war... And I'm telling you tonight, because it is my duty to warn you before it is too late, that the British Navy needs destroyers and small crafts to convoy merchant ships, to escort its warships and hunt submarines and to repel invasion... Americans should not shrink from duty because of probable hazards... We must have the strength of character to face the truth... A new kind of war is loose in the world, full of all weapons, including treason, fought most insidiously during what some of our citizens call peacetime. It is the war against the civilization that we know. It is a revolution against the values which we have cherished and which we wish our children to cherish in the future. It is a revolution which denies the dignity of men and which vanishes the hope of brotherhood and comradeship on earth... It must be faced with daring and devotion..."


Naval Base

Use Is Finally Found for The Celebrated Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands, which Ecuador now seems in a mood to allow the United States to turn into a naval base, lie about 600 miles off the Pacific coast of South America--and almost on the equator. Even so they are not unbearably hot. That is because of the low temperature of the sea which surrounds them.

The soil, however, is sterile and there is little rainfall, and so they have never been successfully settled.

Their chief claim to fame is that Charles Darwin visited them in 1838 and described their fauna in the Voyage of the Beagle. The islands form a biological world of their own, with species of lizards and birds which are found nowhere else on earth and which are totally unrelated to those on the South American mainland. Their chief inhabitant, however, is a huge tortoise which is not peculiar to the islands. The shell of this creature was for long the only reason why men visited the islands at all.

The islands are volcanic in origin, and Darwin noted that the numerous cones and chimneys of lava gave them the look of a factory district in England. Volcanic activity has been noted in recent years.

Ecuador assumed sovereignty over the islands which had gone unclaimed for centuries, in 1832--at the suggestion of the Minister from the United States.


The Test

Mr. Roosevelt Points Out Crux of Democracy

The President was being inaugurated for a third term, and a basic American political tradition was broken. And he had just asked for the greatest grant of power ever sought by an American President.

It was fitting therefore that his inaugural address was a ringing reassertion of faith in the Democratic ideal, and a declaration that so long as it was dominant in the mind and the will of the people themselves, its outward form was of secondary importance.

Franklin Roosevelt was being inaugurated for a third term in defiance of the old tradition against third terms, yet it had all come about through a decision of the people themselves. And Franklin Roosevelt had not seized the desired grant of power by either force or trickery. Instead, he had set forth his reasons for thinking it was necessary to the safety of the nation and had left the decision to the people and their representatives.

The democratic process was still intact. And there was no occasion for croaking that a dictatorship is about to be set up here. Republics had always found it necessary to give grants of power to their chief executives in time of national peril in order to insure swift decision and action.

The grant of power, the abandoning of traditions against third terms, could end in dictatorship only if the people lost the ideal of liberty and the will to take back their grant of power when the necessity for it was ended. Franklin Roosevelt, at least, didn't think they had lost that ideal and that will as yet.


Wise Ruling

Congress Exhibits More Restraint Than Legislatures

Last year, in the hysteria which followed the fall of France, Pennsylvania, like a good many other states, passed a law aimed at keeping track of Fifth Columnists. Under its terms, all aliens were required to register and to carry a card to be produced on the demand of any police officer.

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States knocked that measure in the head--ruled aliens are the proper concern of the Federal Government and not of the states, and that Federal statutes similar to the Pennsylvania one made the latter invalid.

It was a wise decision.

It was wise, for one thing, because the laws governing aliens plainly ought to be uniform throughout the nation. It would be a constant source of confusion and trouble for the honest aliens themselves if they had to deal with a new set of rules every time they crossed an invisible line from one state to another. And the difficulties of a new language and new ways are great enough without imposing such an unnecessary burden.

But the decision was even wiser from the standpoint of insuring restraint in the laws governing aliens. The Congress of the United States may not be, in the absolute, the greatly superior group one would like to have it be. But it is certainly superior to the average state legislature. And the record shows clearly that it is much more to be trusted in matters which have aroused popular hysteria than the legislatures. It was these legislatures and not the Congress which, during and after the last war, passed laws which, if they had been in force, would pretty well have destroyed the Bill of Rights.


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