Excerpt from Lafollette's "The Doctrine of Fear"
Out of that tu
ulent Germany that I saw in 1933 has come a new kind of human strength—distorted and
evil—but tremendously effective strength, as we have seen in the last year. We may hate it and curse it
and spit on it but we can't talk it away. And the thing we have to remember most of all is that we can't lick it
in the easy, inexpensive way. We can't buy our freedom with somebody else's blood. We can't hire
Hessians to fight and die for us. The freedom of every inch of America was decided not by battles in
Europe, but by the courageous pioneering of men and women who left Europe because they wanted no
more of the endless bloodshed and interminable wars of the old world.
. . .
Nobody gave us our liberty. We fought and won it. Nobody guarded it for us this century and a half—we did
it ourselves. Nobody is going to protect it for us in the years ahead. There will be a free America only so
long as we, and we alone, have the stuff it takes to keep us free.
Mark this, if we go to war to save democracy in Europe, we shall wind up by losing democracy at home.
Worse than financial bankruptcy, worse even than the loss of life, is the fact that such a war would be
followed by the worst era of demagogues the world has known. Every scoundrel, sowing the seeds of
acial, religious and class hatred, would find a thousand-fold increase, in the fields he can till, if we make
hatred respectable, by joining in war.
Excerpt from Roosevelt's "The Four Freedoms" Speech
Our national policy is this: First, by an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to
partisanship, we are committed to all-inclusive national defense. Second, by an impressive expression of
the public will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to full support of all those resolute
peoples, everywhere, who are resisting aggression and are thereby keeping war away from our
hemisphere. By this support, we express our determination that the democratic cause shall prevail, and we
strengthen the defense and security of our own nation. Third, by an impressive expression of the public will
and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to the proposition that principles of morality and
considerations for our own security will never permit us to acquiesce in a peace dictated by aggressors and
sponsored by appeasers. We know that enduring peace cannot be bought at the cost of other people’s
freedom XXXXXXXXXXI also ask this Congress for authority and for funds sufficient to manufacture additional
munitions and war supplies of many kinds, to be turned over to those nations which are now in actual war
with aggressor nations. Our most useful and immediate role is to act as an arsenal for them as well as for
ourselves. They do not need manpower. They do need billions of dollars’ worth of the weapons of defense. .
. . Let us say to the democracies, “We Americans are vitally concerned in your defense of freedom. We are
putting forth our energies, our resources, and our organizing powers to give you the strength to regain and
maintain a free world. We shall send you, in ever-increasing numbers, ships, planes, tanks, guns. This is
our purpose and our pledge.”
As these two excerpts demonstrate, there were multiple opinions as to the stance the United States should
take regarding the conflict in Europe and its relationship to the interests of the United States. Write an essay in
which you describe the opinions expressed in these excerpts and explain how each interprets American
interests regarding the war. Formulate your essay around a thesis statement that supports or refutes one or
oth of the arguments provided in the excerpts. (THIS IS A 16 POINT QUESTION!!!!!)
Consider: Roosevelt’s understanding of democracy and Lafollette’s view that this is a European conflict. Make
sure that you either support or refute one or both of these arguments.