Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Century of the Common Man

Henry Wallace was one of the greatest Iowans to ever live. He developed the hybrid seed and founded Pioneer, which began the Green Revolution. He was the Sec. of Agriculture for 8 years under FDR and many of Wallace's policies helped lead the nation out of the Great Depression. Then FDR named Wallace Vice President in 1940. In 1944, through some political maneuvering at the Democratic Convention Harry Truman was put on the ticket as FDR's VP. Months after the election FDR died, making Truman the President.

Henry Wallace gave perhaps his most famous speech, "The Century of the Common Man," in 1942, as WWII raged in Europe.

When the freedom-loving people march; when the farmers have an opportunity to buy land at reasonable prices and to sell the produce of their land through their own organizations, when workers have the opportunity to form unions and bargain through them collectively, and when the children of all the people have an opportunity to attend schools which teach them truths of the real world in which they live — when these opportunities are open to everyone, then the world moves straight ahead.
Wallace believed that if we fought WWII and didn't solve the injustices in our nation by doing so, the high cost of war would not be worth it. So not only did he work to defeat Fascism abroad, he worked to benefit the common man all around the world.
We failed in our job after World War Number One. We did not know how to go about it to build an enduring world-wide peace. We did not have the nerve to follow through and prevent Germany from rearming. We did not insist that she "learn war no more." We did not build a peace treaty on the fundamental doctrine of the people's revolution. We did not strive whole-heartedly to create a world where there could be freedom from want for all peoples. But by our very errors we learned much, and after this war we shall be in position to utilize our knowledge in building a world which is economically, politically and, I hope, spiritually sound.
Wallace never became President. If he had the world would surely be a different place today. That doesn't mean his message should be forgotten. We have started a new Century, so lets call for the 21st Century to be the Century of the Common Man.

In a time when our nations priorities are backwards, we need a Century of the Common Man. There is no better place to start the call than in the state where Henry Wallace was born, Iowa.
Yes, and when the time of peace comes, The citizen will again have a duty, The supreme duty of sacrificing the lesser interest for the greater interest of the general welfare. Those who write the peace must think of the whole world. There can be no privileged peoples. We ourselves in the United States are no more a master race than the Nazis. And we can not perpetuate economic warfare without planting the seeds of military warfare. We must use our power at the peace table to build an economic peace that is just, charitable and enduring.


patriotskullface said...

Great name for a blog!

editor said...

Very nice post.

P31:10 said...

I used to work for Pioneer as a youth.. lived near their facility in Fremont, Iowa, at the Hedrick Y.. am an Iowan at heart.. nice blog

Anonymous said...

just so you know it was his father who developed hybrid seed

Luke said...

His speech was on May 8, 1942, not 1943 like the article says. The book by the same name was published then.