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Address from Rear Platform in Ogden, Utah

September 23, 1919

I can not make a real speech in the circumstances, but it would be ungracious of me if I did not say how delightful I have felt the welcome of Ogden to be and how refreshing it is to me to come into contact with you, my fellow citizens, in this part of the world which I wish I knew much better. You will understand that the theme that I have most at heart needs a lot of sea room to turn in, and I would despair of making any adequate remarks about so great a matter as the treaty of peace or the league of nations; but I do find this, my fellow countrymen, that the thing is very near the heart of the people. There are some men in public life who do not seem to be in touch with the heart of the people, but those who are know how that heart throbs deep and strong for this great enterprise of humanity, for it is nothing less than that. We must set our purposes in a very definite way to assist the judgment of public men. I do not mean in any way to coerce the judgment of public men, but to enlighten and assist that judgment, for I am convinced, after crossing the continent, that there is no sort of doubt that 80 per cent of the people of the United States are for the league of nations, and that the chief opposition outside legislative halls comes from the very disquieting element that we had to deal with before and during the war. All the elements that tended toward disloyalty are against the league, and for a very good reason. If this league is not adopted we will serve Germany's purpose, because we will be dissociated from the nations, and I am afraid permanently dissociated from the nations with whom we cooperated in defeating Germany. Nothing is so gratifying, we now learn by cable, to public opinion in Germany as the possibility of their doing now what they could not do by arms, separating us in feeling when they could not separate us in fact. I for my part am in to see this thing through, because these men who fought the battles on the fields of France are not now going to be betrayed by the rest of us; we are going to see that the thing they fought for is accomplished, and it does not make any difference how long the fight or how difficult the fight, it is going to be won, and triumphantly won.

Woodrow Wilson, Address from Rear Platform in Ogden, Utah Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/318141

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