Willkie in 1940
|Born||Lewis Wendell Willkie
February 18, 1892
Elwood, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||October 8, 1944
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Resting place||East Hill Cemetery
Rushville, Indiana, U.S.
|Alma mater||Indiana University|
|Political party||Democratic (until 1939)
Republican (after 1939)
|Spouse(s)||Edith (Wilk) Willkie (1918â€“1944; his death)|
No man has the right to use the great powers of the Presidency to lead the people, indirectly, into war.
It is from weakness that people reach for dictators and concentrated government power. Only the strong can be free. And only the productive can be strong.
If we want to talk about freedom, we must mean freedom for others as well as ourselves, and we must mean freedom for everyone inside our frontiers as well as outside.
But it required a disastrous, internecine war to bring this question of human freedom to a crisis, and the process of striking the shackles from the slave was accomplished in a single hour.
Emancipation came to the colored race in America as a war measure. It was an act of military necessity. Manifestly it would have come without war, in the slower process of humanitarian reform and social enlightenment.
In addition, as citizens, we must fight in their incipient stages all movements by government or party or pressure groups that seek to limit the legitimate liberties of any of our fellow citizens.
Freedom is an indivisible word. If we want to enjoy it, and fight for it, we must be prepared to extend it to everyone, whether they are rich or poor, whether they agree with us or not, no matter what their race or the color of their skin.
If the British Fleet were lost or captured, the Atlantic might be dominated by Germany, a power hostile to our way of life, controlling in that event most of the ships and shipbuilding facilities of Europe.
A true world outlook is incompatible with a foreign imperialism, no matter how high-minded the governing country.
It has been a long while since the United States had any imperialistic designs toward the outside world. But we have practised within our own boundaries something that amounts to race imperialism.
But if we had to trade with a Europe dominated by the present German trade policies, we might have to change our methods to some totalitarian form. This is a prospect that any lover of democracy must view with consternation.
The defense of our democracy against the forces that threaten it from without has made some of its failures to function at home glaringly apparent.
We cannot, with good conscience, expect the British to set up an orderly schedule for the liberation of India before we have decided for ourselves to make all who live in America free.
For now more than ever, we must keep in the forefront of our minds the fact that whenever we take away the liberties of those we hate, we are opening the way to loss of liberty for those we love.
And political parties, overanxious for vote catching, become tolerant to intolerant groups.
History shows that our way of life is the stronger way. From it has come more wealth, more industry, more happiness, more human enlightenment than from any other way.
It is, therefore, essential that we guard our own thinking and not be among those who cry out against prejudices applicable to themselves, while busy spawning intolerances for others.
In no direction that we turn do we find ease or comfort. If we are honest and if we have the will to win we find only danger, hard work and iron resolution.
But we cannot just take this historical fact for granted. We must make it live.
I have noticed, with much distress, the excessive wartime activity of the investigating bureaus of Congress and the administration, with their impertinent and indecent searching out of the private lives and the past political beliefs of individuals.
When we talk of freedom and opportunity for all nations, the mocking paradoxes in our own society become so clear they can no longer be ignored.
Today it is becoming increasingly apparent to thoughtful Americans that we cannot fight the forces and ideas of imperialism abroad and maintain any form of imperialism at home. The war has done this to our thinking.