Page:The Bohemians (Czechs) In The Present Crisis.djvu/23

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considered as established American policy, and that we are carrying out the stirring appeal of Woodrow Wilson.

In some quarters an opinion seems to prevail that the president in taking this position perhaps did not fully consider the interests of America. The distinction thus attempted to be drawn is unfortunate, and one that certainly will be abandoned upon second thought. The real interests of humanity and of America ought to be identical, and we believe that in fact they are.

The forefathers of the founders of the American republic came to this country in order to escape religious and political oppression. Americanism is a spiritual attitude, and one not depending upon the accident of birth. Those are the real Americans who in spirit follow the example of the forefathers, and who in our days are the pioneers of liberty for nations, as well as individuals; and they may well claim the American pioneers of the seventeenth and eighteenth century as their spiritual ancestors.

It is conceivable that at the future peace conference America may be a participant. We sincerely hope and indeed expect that America will not become one of the belligerents, and trust that it will be asked to participate in the conference as the greatest of neutral powers. We also trust that at such conference the influence of American statesmanship will be thrown into the scale in favor of the liberation of small nationalities, including the liberation of Bohemia.

The Bohemian inhabitants in this country are here to stay; they are here to become a part of the great American nation, and no doubt they are destined to be dissolved in the crucible making for a new and great English speaking nation in the Western hemisphere. If today we are pleading for the cause of Bohemian independence, we are doing so because of the traditions and ties that still bind us to the country of our ancestors, and we are doing so, as I have already said, as spiritual descendants of those who came to this country, fleeing from old world injustices.