A guy speaking on Flag Day. Unremarkable, except, look at the year, look at the audience.Flag Day was marked in 1877 by a few hundred Americans, fresh from celebrating the nation’s centennial, on the centennial date of the resolution from the Second Continental Congress that designated the flag, with stars and stripes. Pushed by history teachers who used the celebration as a teaching tool, unofficial ceremonies continued across the nation.
President Woodrow Wilson — himself a professor of history and politics — issued a proclamation for a national celebration to continue each year, in 1916.
This photo was taken two years before that proclamation, in the centennial year of the “Star-spangled Banner.”
Professional photographers Harris & Ewing captured Wilson in mid-speech, in declamation form without a public address system or any other amplification. (I wonder: Who was the first president to use a microphone and amplification?)
Reporters for newspapers, and maybe an official scribe, work to capture Wilson’s speech in text form; Wilson was probably speaking extemporaneously, without a prepared text. Whatever Wilson said, his remarks were not captured officially in Presidential Papers, though they may be available in other venues (behind a paywall for me). Wilson’s speech, delivered at 4:00 p.m., was titled “The Meaning of the Flag.” A few snippets from the speech suggest that it was mostly a diatribe that whipped up sentiment against German immigrants in America, ultimately ending in violence against many U.S. citizens and residents.
The platform was the steps of the State, War and Navy Building, now the West Executive Office Building next door to the White House. Then the building housed three departments; today State has its own complex in Foggy Bottom, a few blocks away; War was renamed Defense after World War II, and moved across the Potomac to Virginia, to the Pentagon, where the Navy’s chief offices also reside.
On the platform with Wilson were his Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, former Congressman from Nebraska who ran for the presidency six times, most famously capturing the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1896 with this “Cross of Gold” speech; and immediately to the left of Wilson in the photo is his young Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who would go on to be crippled by polio, then elected Governor of New York and, in 1932, President of the U.S.
In the photo above, Bryan is almost wholly cut out, on the extreme left edge.
Others on the stand include William Phillips, sitting on Roosevelt’s right, though a chilly couple of feet away; Breckinridge Long, to Phillips’s right; and Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, in a light colored suit, to Long’s right and Bryan’s left.
You won’t find William Phillips in most history books, but he played important roles in American state affairs for four decades. Returning early from an assignment in London in 1912, he booked passage on the RMS Olympic, avoiding passage on the grander, RMS Titanic a week later. An odd little history of the Olympic gives a great, brief description of Phillips’s career:
A career diplomat, he would shortly go on to work closely with Woodrow Wilson and to be involved in the latter’s 14-point peace plan following the Great European War.
Wilson made him an Assistant Secretary of State, and Phillips would later be Ambassador to Italy at the time of Mussolini. Later in the war he became London head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, forerunner of the CIA), and would come into contact with an operative named Walter Lord.
Breckinridge Long also held important posts over 40 years, but his legacy is much less happy. As Assistant Secretary of State for Visas during World War II, Long set up obstacles to U.S. immigration by people who were threatened by Nazi governments in European nations, sometimes countermanding orders from President Franklin Roosevelt.
Josephus Daniels, son of a southern shipbuilder murdered for his Union sympathies during the Civil War, published newspapers in North Carolina most of his life. President Wilson appointed him Secretary of the Navy, where he became close friends with his Assistant Secretary Franklin Roosevelt; FDR appointed Daniels Ambassador to Mexico. Among Daniels’s newspaper holdings was the Raleigh News and Observer. An opponent of the Ku Klux Klan, Daniels argues for white supremacy, and claimed that African Americans would block progressive reforms.
No, “cup of joe” is not a reference to Josephus Daniels and his order banning alcohol from Navy officers’ messes.
On that speaker’s stand, on Flag Day, 1914, were the president and a future president, experience dating back to the Civil War and future leadership through the end of World War II. Interesting photo.
Your flag is already flying for Flag Day, right?
You need to get the details right, Ed. You live in a myth.
“Washington wasn’t “sent to represent his state.”
Nonsense. You make up stories.
First, the Convention was intended to revise the Articles of Confederation, not eliminate them.
“Washington was persuaded to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia as a delegate for the State of Virginia.
What you believe he did or did not do is irrelevant. It was a usurpation. You do not enjoy freedom by eliminating it.
You and your bizarre “free ride”. Empty of meaning – you get no points, Ed.
“The convention in Philadelphia would not have occurred in any form.”
Bull. It was already in place and date before he even considered going.
“And we are all better off for it.”
No, “we” aren’t. Those that like to steal under the color of law, perhaps, but for your success as a thief, Ed, there is a victim.
“That taxation made it possible for them to export”
They were “exporting” just fine, and doing just fine without taxes.
Farmers were not starving. What a lie! They were using THEIR EXCESS WHEAT TO MAKE WHISKEY – hardly a trait of a “starving farmer”!!! Hohohoho! In fact, whiskey was used instead of money – so much for “needing a market” – they had it!
Such a dream world you live in, poor old funny Ed.
The recession – as they all have been – was a creation of the government itself and its borrowing to fund a war.
He did not bail them out one bit, Ed. Get your facts straight.
When news of the tax-which would pay the bonds at full face value- was given Hamilton’s friends and supporters from New York City and New England, they went on a mad scramble down the eastern seaboard, purchasing bonds from hapless war veterans (who had been paid in bonds) for as little as two percent of par value.
Huge fortunes were made by these slick New York speculators. Robert Morris pocketed a nifty $18 million. John Quincy Adams wrote to his father that the wealthiest Federalist lawyer in Massachusetts made a huge fortune with this caper. Hamilton participated in this parade of plunder himself, but claimed that the profits he made were for his brother-in-law.
You are the most strange duck around. You proclaim all the honors of government, and hate its largess on the rich – and then support the financial pillage of the rich upon the hapless soldiers as if it was a benefit.
Learn a bit of history, Ed.
And when you learn history, get the details right.
Washington wasn’t “sent to represent his state.” Washington pushed Madison and Hamilton to do what was necessary to create the government structures so that Americans could enjoy freedom of commerce, freedom of trade, and make deals that were enforceable from one place to the next. Washington had the vision of a nation that occupied the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and he understood from his inability to get the C&O Canal going, to settle the Ohio Valley, that the Articles of Confederation was a business-stopping document.
Washington pushed the tri-state resolution of navigation and fishing in the Chesapeake, over the opposition of the more libertarian Patrick Henry. Washington pushed the resolution of the dispute between New Jersey and New York on the boundaries of the Hudson. Washington pushed for resolution of the disposition of lands in what was called the Northwest Territories.
Washington pushed for states to take responsibility for their own debts, to avoid the libertarian free ride they asked for, because that free ride ruined the credit of the U.S. and made it impossible for farmers to benefit from foreign trade.
Had Washington not been the prime mover, the convention in Philadelphia would not have occurred in any form.
And we are all better off for it.
Men drowning under taxation? That taxation made it possible for them to export their liquor, to export their wheat, to export all their goods, to have a market at all. That taxation ended the recession and kept those farmers from starving.
“Drowning under taxation?” Washington bailed them out, put them on their feet, and got them markets for their products so they could get rich. They may have been too bumpkin to figure that out, to figure out that THEY were the ones who benefited from that taxation. But you know better.
“You should read some history some time.”
You should read history some time and not your fairy tales.
“Washington fought for the right to be represented in government.”
There you go again “Revolution in the Form”.
You pretend YOUR concept of government is the same as his and his contemporaries and therefore you believe in your pretense that his action confirm your concept.
“he pulled out the stops to get a new government”
Yep. He was sent to represent his State, and joined the usurpation and overthrow of the United States instead.
“the one we have now under the Constitution.”
Indeed, you have something all right.
” Libertarians cannot measure up to him, morally, nor as fomenters of protection of rights.”
Yeah, the guy who sent Federal Troops to put down men drowning under taxation created to bailout Washington’s money friends. That guy, right? Pretty moral to you, huh?
Like this explanation:
You should read some history some time.
Washington fought for the right to be represented in government. When the near-libertarian Articles of Confederation failed to protect business and individuals who wanted to engage in business, he pulled out the stops to get a new government, the one we have now under the Constitution.
You’d do well to pay attention to the little bit that Washington wrote, and the great deal that he did. Libertarians cannot measure up to him, morally, nor as fomenters of protection of rights.
“George Washington was not a victim when he fought for rights for others.”
What he may have fought for, and what YOU proclaim today are utterly two different things.
You want the welfare state.
He wanted freedom from tyranny.
The welfare state’s impositions are orders of magnitude worse then the insults of British rule ever delivered upon Washington and his ilk.
“Understanding that one’s own fortunes are inextricably tied to one’s neighbors’ fortunes, does not make one a victim.”
Such an understanding is flawed. You pretend your fortune is tied to another man’s wallet. It ain’t. It is tied to your own effort.
It is your effort in trade with the effort of others that makes you rich, not your envy and unearned demand of his wealth and effort for your benefit.
:How could roads or sewers be built under your view of freedom?”
I guess that roads and sewers existed built by free men completely missed your learning, huh?
“Explain how the rights of all citizens are enhanced when you have the right to take a free ride, please.”
You pretend that stealing from me, then declare the unwanted dribbles you return is me “taking a free ride”.
A thief throwing me back my emptied wallet is not him giving me wealth.
George Washington was not a victim when he fought for rights for others.
Understanding that one’s own fortunes are inextricably tied to one’s neighbors’ fortunes, does not make one a victim.
How could roads or sewers be built under your view of freedom?
Explain how the rights of all citizens are enhanced when you have the right to take a free ride, please.
“You want to have the freedom to do what you want, damn everyone else.”
What a bunch of emotional irrational nonsense! Can’t actually make any argument, huh?
I want to have the freedom to do what I want! TRUE!
Which, CLUE TO ED, means you have to be free too – because you want to do what every you want too!
The only way this works is **SHOCK** not to impose on each other.
But the issue is you are weak and incapable. You want things you cannot get by your own effort, nor are you able to organize with others peacefully to achieve those ends.
So you need a gunslinger to steal on your behalf.
“Jefferson noted that each individual is born with certain rights, unalienable — but that to protect those rights, just governments are established.”
Your dumbo thinking pretends to take Jefferson’s definition of government, and his use of it to protect rights – and then you deftly try change the use of it, WHICH DESTROYS RIGHTS, then argue Jefferson said this was ok!
“Revolution in the Form”, Ed. You’re a classic!
” who protects the rights of anyone, but especially the abused, the minorities, the women, the crippled, the aged, and women?”
I protect my rights and you protect yours. Since all humans have the same rights, its pretty obvious those that follow FREEDOM principles join, since we are all guarding the same thing …. AGAINST THE LIKES OF YOU.
I am not part of your victimization psychosis mentality,Ed.
The most important distinction in all of libertarian theory is that between coercion and non-coercion.
Libertarianism consists of nothing more than the implications of this one single solitary distinction.
You make all this noise about being free, yet you work tirelessly at destroying freedom.
You support violence upon the non-violence as a means for you to achieve certain ends, then complain bitterly when others do the same to you.
Because your principle is “do whatever it takes to get whatever I want”, you become confused about what is happening around you when others undertake the same process – but you as their victim.
In other words, you’re a free-ride libertarian, a monarchical wannabe. You want to have the freedom to do what you want, damn everyone else.
That, too, is tyranny — to everyone else.
You don’t get a free ride. Especially, you don’t get a free ride to tell everyone else, “Root, hog or die.”
Jefferson noted that each individual is born with certain rights, unalienable — but that to protect those rights, just governments are established.
In your libertarian paradise/hell, who protects the rights of anyone, but especially the abused, the minorities, the women, the crippled, the aged, and women?
What makes you think you’re not in one of those categories?
All government IS tyranny – the use of violence on non-violent people to enforce edicts.
“No government” simply means this violence is not centralized and amassed. It is not that violence suddenly disappears, it is that it is not concentrated and centralized.
“Libertarianism is tyranny, just as is dictatorship.”
A system which abhors violence upon the non-violent – to you – is tyranny.
Your typical brain tornado, Ed.
Then all forms of government, and especially no government at all, are tyranny. If the only thing necessary for tyranny is for one person to be unhappy, to have to do something that one person does not wish to do, then all is tyranny.
Consequently, your diatribe becomes a rant about a completely useless distinction. Libertarianism is tyranny, just as is dictatorship.
You’re convincing me more that your worries about “tyranny” are misplaced.
Democracy utter does demand unity and is a tyranny.
What part of the “minority/majority enforcing itself upon the majority/minority” missed your conciseness?
Change is for the sake of change is a waste.
Sometimes I feel like you don’t bother to read your own materials.
If tyranny demands unity, why do you criticize democratic institutions for not achieving unity? Wouldn’t that be good?
Rep. Richard Bolling of Missouri criticized many of the votes of Congress on civil rights and other matters during the Johnson administration, because they came close to unanimous votes. Bolling argued that the Senate should split 51-49 — that way, Bolling said, you’d know that you had pushed for and achieved absolutely all the change possible.
Is that your kick? You don’t like change? Robert Kennedy said, “Everyone is for progress; but progress means change, and change has its enemies.”
And, Ed, tyranny demands unity.
Democracy is NOT cooperation.
It is, hypothetically, merely the majority imposing upon a minority, and in reality, it is a vast minority imposing upon everyone.
Cooperation is what makes human societies work. Who needs unity, especially when cooperation is better?
Now you don’t like our democratic institutions because people don’t agree, lock-step?
Cooperation is not unity.
Because without a working government, local, state or regional, and national, to protect kids, women, workers and rich people, this is what happens:
What is it that bothers you about people banding together to built the community institutions they needed for YOU to succeed — roads, bridges, local public schools, public health officials, water and sewage systems, and electricity generators and transmission systems?
I get this feeling you think Josephus Daniels plays too big a role in this photo, and Breckenridge Long should have been the focus. Is that what you’re trying to say?
Out of many, One.
Pretty much as I said, Ed.
Everyone the same, believing the same thing, thinking the same.
As if “one” voice speaks for everyone….
No,”everyone the same” is, in Latin, “Quisque in ipsum.”
Not the same thing as “e pluribus unum.”
You want everyone to be the same, as I previously said.
Your ilk is weird. You proclaim you like diversity, and then demand everyone be the same, at the same time!
unity =! uniformity. I think there’s this latin saying E pluribus unum that describes the concept, not sure where I read it though.
tried posting this under carnival 5 times from 2 different computers
Pinko Punko said…
Steve Breen, Creators Syndicate.
Someone cropped the signature.
It’s a helluva photograph of a point in time . . . and the people on that stand?
Did you read it?
Woodrow Wilson, who wanted to make the world “safe for Democracy,” but also resegregated the White House and much of Washington.
William Jennings Bryan, who LOST a campaign saying that we should not allow America to be crucified on a “cross of gold,” and who left the Wilson administration when Wilson turned towards war, contrary to his election campaign slogan, “He kept us out of war.”
FDR — working for Wilson? Whew!
Josephus Daniels, a “progressive in North Carolina, but who argued for white supremacy on the grounds that the Negro vote was ‘too conservative.’ You can’t make this stuff up. No, you can’t.
Breckenridge long, who may have stopped more than 200,000 Jews and others from getting safe haven in the U.S. to avoid the Nazi death machines . . .
And Williams, who helped Wilson with the 14 Points . . .
There are three volumes worth of irony just in what those guys did in the next 30 years.
And Wilson, saying that Germans can’t be trusted, and essentially urging persecution?
All wrapped up in the flag, as Sinclair Lewis might have warned.
If the photo doesn’t boggle you, you’re not paying attention.
If you think the photo itself makes one argument, you’re not paying any attention at all.
Unity is an empty concept, sir.
What does it mean?
You raised the “unity” concept, not I, sir.
The term is strawman, and you built a mighty fine one there.
Although I agree with Kissinger that even the paranoid have enemies, I often wonder if the paranoid have any friends or supporters. They certainly lack the skills to present cogent and coherent arguments to support their position.
Unity? So everyone dresses the same, thinks the same, says the same thing, salutes the same flag – your perfect world.
Because unity in society is such a bad thing. We need to be fractured like the Balkans or Southwest Asia, only then can we improve the human condition.
Sorry, ED, but this is the one patriotic “holiday” on which I adamantly refuse to fly it. A day to venerate the flag itself seems drifting close to some unhealthy kind of fetish worship. On the 4th, Memorial Day et al. absolutely. But on Flag Day? No.
It is an abstraction, used by an institution, to declare that you are not an individual. It is saying no matter who you are or what you want does not matter. It creates this bizarre concept of “we” when speaking about “country” or “government action”.
It is an abstraction of collectivism.
Governments teach their subjects to wave flags and sing songs in their honor, thereby contributing to the idea that resisting its expropriations and enormities is treason