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Address from Rear Platform in Sacramento, California

September 22, 1919

My fellow countrymen, it is impossible in these circumstances for me to attempt a speech, but I can not let the occasion go by without telling you how strong it makes my heart that you should have given me so extraordinary and delightful a welcome as this. It is the more delightful to me because I believe that it is not only a desire to welcome me, but a desire to show your interest and your support of the great cause I have come out to advocate. The happy circumstance of this journey is that I have not come out to advocate anything personal to myself; that I have not come out to seek the fortunes of any man or group of men, but to seek the safety and guaranteed peace of mankind. We undertook a great war for a definite purpose. That definite purpose is carried out in a great treaty. I have ?brought the treaty back, and we must not much longer hesitate to ratify it, because that treaty is the guaranty of peace; it is the guaranty of permanent peace, for all the great fighting nations of the world are combined in it to maintain a just settlement. Without this treaty, without the covenant of the league of nations which it contains, we would simply sink back into that slough of despond in which mankind was before this war began, with the threat of war and of terror constantly over them. We can not go back. We will not go back.

It is more than a guaranty of peace. It is a guaranty of justice. For example, it affords the only hope that China can get of the restoration to herself not only of the sovereignty of Shantung, but of the sovereignty which other nations as well have taken away from her. It affords the only expectation in similar cases elsewhere, that by the pressure, the terrible, irresistible pressure of public opinion throughout the world, ancient wrongs will be righted and men will get the chance to live that they never had before. It is the first combination of the power of the world to see that justice shall reign everywhere. We can not turn away from such an arrangement, and I am sure, my fellow citizens, not only from this great outpouring here, but from the great outpourings I have seen everywhere in this country, that the heart of America is right and her purpose is irresistible.

Woodrow Wilson, Address from Rear Platform in Sacramento, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/318134

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