Woodrow Wilson photo

Remarks in Toledo, Ohio

July 10, 1916

My Fellow Citizens:

This is an entire surprise party to me. I did not know I was going to have the pleasure of stopping long enough to address any number of you, but I am very glad indeed to give you my very cordial greetings and to express my very great interest in this interesting city.

General Sherwood said that there were many things we agreed about, there is one thing we disagree about. General Sherwood has been opposing preparedness, and I have been advocating it, and I am very sorry to have found him on the other side. Because, I think, you will bear me witness, fellow citizens, that in advocating preparedness I have not been advocating hostility. You will bear me witness that I have been a persistent friend of peace and that nothing but unmistakable necessity will drive me from that position. I think it is a matter of sincere congratulation to us that our neighbor Republic to the south shows evidences of at last believing in our friendly intentions; that while we must protect our border and see to it that our sovereignty is not impugned, we are ready to respect their sovereignty also, and to be their friends, and not their enemies.

The real uses of intelligence, my fellow citizens, are the uses of peace. Any body of men can get up a row, but only an intelligent body of men can get together and cooperate. Peace is not only a test of a nation's patience; it is also a test of whether the nation knows how to conduct its relations or not. It takes time to do intelligent things, and it does not take any time to do unintelligent things. I can lose my temper in a minute, but it takes me a long time to keep it, and I think that if you were to subject my Scotch-Irish blood to the proper kind of analysis, you would find that it was fighting blood, and that it is pretty hard for a man born that way to keep quiet and do things in the way in which his intelligence tells him he ought to do them. I know just as well as that I am standing here that I represent and am the servant of a Nation that loves peace, and that loves it upon the proper basis; loves it not because it is afraid of anybody; loves it not because it does not understand and mean to maintain its rights, but because it knows that humanity is something in which we are all linked together, and that it behooves the United States, just as long as it is possible, to hold off from becoming involved in a strife which makes it all the more necessary that some part of the world should keep cool while all the rest of it is hot. Here in America, for the time being, are the spaces, the cool spaces, of thoughtfulness, and so long as we are allowed to do so. we will serve and not contend with the rest of our fellow men. We are the more inclined to do this because the very principles upon which our Government is based are principles of common counsel and not of contest.

So, my fellow citizens. I congratulate myself upon this opportunity. brief as it is. to give you my greetings and to convey to you my congratulations that the signs that surround us are all signs of peace.

APP Note: Issac R. Sherwood, who had attained the rank of Brigadier General in the Ohio Infantry in the Civil War, was in 1916 a Member of the US House of Representatives (D).

Woodrow Wilson, Remarks in Toledo, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/318183

Filed Under




Simple Search of Our Archives