Thursday, March 4, 2010

Inaugural Addresses

March 4 was until Amendment XX to the United States Constitution took effect, Inauguration Day for the President of the United States.

Three years short of a century ago today, the bête noire of this weblog gave his first inaugural address. On the day four years later, he gave his second inaugural address, in which he – amongst other things – said:

We stand firm in armed neutrality since it seems that in no other way we can demonstrate what it is we insist upon and cannot forget.
That neutrality was a so-called one since the summer of 1914.

His successor, Warren G. Harding, spoke 89 years ago. He said:
The unselfishness of these United States is a thing proven; our devotion to peace for ourselves and for the world is well established; our concern for preserved civilization has had its impassioned and heroic expression. There was no American failure to resist the attempted reversion of civilization; there will be no failure today or tomorrow.
When World War threatened civilization we pledged our resources and our lives to its preservation[...]
Preserved civilization?

Senator Harding had spoken previously:

Saying at the end:
This Republic has never failed humanity, nor endangered civilization.
We know that the Great War ended civilization as we knew it. Although the ignition of the war was the great catastrophe, and those United States had no part in its ignition, their involvement on the modernist side through “neutrality” and later military involvement certainly gave a large contribution to the destruction of the world that was – and, hence, to the rise of the totalitarianism of the 20th century, the democratic soft totalitarianism included.

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