This is The America I Know

Published: April 5, 2024

By Jim Lichtman
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We Americans have many grave problems to solve, many threatening evils to fight, and many deeds to do, if, as we hope and believe, we have the wisdom, the strength, the courage, and the virtue to do them. But we must face facts as they are.

We must neither surrender ourselves to foolish optimism, nor succumb to timid and ignoble pessimism. America is that one among all the nations of the earth which holds in its hands the fate of the coming years. We enjoy exceptional advantages and are menaced by exceptional dangers; and all signs indicate that we shall either fail greatly or succeed greatly. I firmly believe that we shall succeed; but we must not ignore the dangers by which we are threatened, for that is the way to fail.

We must soberly set to work to find out all we can about the existence and extent of every evil, must acknowledge it to be such, and must then attack it with unyielding resolution. There are many such evils, and each must be fought after a fashion; yet there is one quality which we must bring to the solution of every problem – that is, an intense and fervid Americanism. We shall never be successful over the dangers that confront us; we shall never achieve true greatness, nor reach the lofty ideal which the founders and preservers of our mighty federal Republic have set before us, unless we are Americans in heart and soul, in spirit and purpose, keenly alive to the responsibility implied in the very name of American, and proud beyond measure of the glorious privilege of bearing it.

We need to remember that each of us has an absolute duty to stand up and stand for our highest standards. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again. That’s the America I know.

Apart from the last three sentences, this comes from an essay written by Teddy Roosevelt in 1894.


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