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The Right of the Citizen to Oppose War and the Right of Congress to Shape the War Policy.

In these days whenever an American citizen presumes to question the justification, either in law or morals, of our participation in the European war, he is at once denounced by the war party and the war press as disloyal to the country.

The war party in the United States seeks to justify our entrance into the bloody conflict on the ground that it is in the interest of democracy. But every man and every woman knows that there is a struggle going on today in every civilized nation between democracy and autocracy.

Every nation has its war party. It is not the party of democracy. It is the party of autocracy. It seeks to dominate absolutely. It is commercial, imperialistic, ruthless. It tolerates no opposition. It is just as arrogant, just as despotic, in London, or in Washington, as in Berlin. The American Jingo is twin to the German Junker.

In times of peace, the war party insists on making preparation for war. As soon as prepared for war, it insists on making war. If there is no sufficient reason for war, the war party will make war on one pretext, then invent another, possibly more effective, pretext after war is on.

Before war is declared, the war party assumes the divine right to denounce and silence all opposition to war as unpatriotic and cowardly.

After Congress has been bullied into a declaration of war, the politicians, the press, and the mercenaries of the war party assume authority to deny the right of American citizens to discuss the necessity for the war, or the ultimate object and purpose of the declaration of war.

Today Secret Service men, United States District Attorneys, United States Marshals, United States Court Commissioners, and other federal officials are rankly abusing their authority on every hand. People are being unlawfully arrested, thrown into jail, denied the right to employ counsel, or to communicate with their friends, or even to inform their families of their whereabouts, subjected to unlawful search, threatened, intimidated, examined, and cross-examined. The most sacred constitutional rights guaranteed to every American citizen are violated in the name of democracy.

It appears to be the purpose of those conducting this procedure to throw the country into a state of terror, to coerce public opinion, stifle criticism, suppress discussion of the issues of the war, and put a quietus on all opposition....

It is time for the American people to assert and maintain their rights.

June 1917

Robert M. La Follette Sr. Founded The Progressive magazine in 1909.
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Author:LA FOLLETTE, ROBERT M. SR.
Publication:The Progressive
Date:Jan 1, 1999
Words:422
Previous Article:Portrait of the Founder, Fighting Bob La Follette.
Next Article:Credit for Suffrage.


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