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IV Year,Prize Essay
THE MAN OF T0-MORROVV
By THOMAS MCMAHON
HE "Man of To-morrow." what shall he be? Down through the cen-
turies, this problem has maintained the same vital importance. The
inexorable hand of Time ruthlessly has laid low the strongest pillars
of the national structureg has rendered the swiftest Howing blood
anemic. and has made vacillating, the most decisive minds of the
commonwealth. Down through the ages enfeebled, senility looks
with hopeful eyes to youth. and sends forth the clarion call:
". . . Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw the torch,
Be yours to hold it high . .
As through the ages of human existence this question has confronted
man. so today our nation comes face to face with the same paramount difli-
culty-what shall our man of to-morrow be?
But a thoughtful consideration of the matter cannot but result in a
favorable balance on the side of the nation's boyhood, for the youth of today
has been molded by a happy chain of circumstances which like the roaring
Hames of the smelter, separates the dross and leaves the gold.
Naturally the first thought in the analysis of our youth, will take shape
in the question, "Is he an American at heart?"
Nearest to the American heart lies that precious principle of liberty.
Historians have eulogized the defenders of this spirit, so glowingly, that it
would be rash to add my meager adjectives to the mountainous collection.
So it is not my purpose to speak about its numerous exponents. American-
ism manifests this spirit in democracy. The American youth of today draws
his very existence from this spirit. VVhen his mind was in its most plastic
state, our country became involved in the greatest struggle in the history of
mankind. Upon his brow, war irraclicably engraved the impression of actual
experience with something more tangible than abstract principles. Upon
the hitherto bare surface of his mind, was graphically depicted the superb
attempts of a divinely inspired nation, to preserve its fellow-nations from the
diabolical clutches of autocracy. As he grew older the light of reason served
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to make the impression deeper and within his youthful heart was born a
resolve to preserve untouched and undiminished the holy ideals of the Amer-
And so, combined with the inherent sense of fair play to all, that sense
so typically American, "the man of to-morrow," looks out upon the world
openly, with a smile upon his face and hope beating high in his heart.
"Yes," you remark, "but also helplessly. This century with its mar-
velous inventions, has bred in us, a love of luxury, and modern youth is not
as accustomed to hardship as his father was." But, does this constitute a
disadvantage? I hardly think so. One would not expect a backwoodsman
to be at home among the elite of Fifth Avenue or Riverside Drive. Similarly
when, as you say, we have so far advanced from the uncouth customs of the
pioneering days, why do you believe it necessary to educate our youths as
But do I hear you murmur "he is not morally as strong as the youth of
yesteryear. Unfortunately l must take issue with you. Education, has, and
rightly so, been held to be the strongest factor in the formation of character.
VVe need but to consult statistics to Find out how far we have advanced over
the past in the educational field. "Ah! Now I have you on the hip!" I hear
you exclaim delightedly. "Do you not believe that these universities by
fostering this wild spirit of youth, are slowly but surely forcing ruin on the
country P" Absurd! This so-called "flaming youthu is but the natural youth-
ful exuberance of an age which relatively speaking is moving terrifically fast.
It is but an expression of the joy of living. It is common knowledge that
if one is forbidden something, the desire instantly arises to get it. So it was
with the youth of the past. Checked in his youth by conventions, and sud-
denly linding the bonds of childhood loosened, the youth of yesterday blindly
flung himself into the whirlpool of forbidden pleasures, and more often than
not perished in the vortex. But modern youth who has been accustomed to
such delights by a liberal attitude osf his elders. is not intoxicated by each
new sensation and consequently maintains his mental equilibrium.
Here indeed in all its fullness may be found the answer to that age-old
question-what shall the man of to-morrow be? The man of to-morrow has
been compared with the man of yesterday and once again the adage that,
"comparisons are odious," is true. But not for the man of to-morrow, he has
been cradled in the spirit of liberty, steeped in the wisdom of a new century,
and he is valiant in the spirit of patriotism and idealism. And so it is that
with a long mournful glance at the corpse of the man of yesterday, we cast
a joyous look at the vigorous form of the man of to-morrow and shout,
"The king is dead, long live the king!"
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