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Page 10 text:
the French Revolution; and it is to be borne in mind that the rate of change has shown no signs of decreasing. A single lifetime has been sufficient to span marvelous transformations in many fields of thought, of industry, of politics, of religion.
It is this rushing, intensive, evolving, highly subjective world of mechanical activity, of skepticism, of scrutiny and investigation; with its tremendous problems clamoring for solution; its portent of still greater changes; its threat of social cataclysm; its insistent demand of every man for decision and action, that confronts you men of Nineteen-Eleven and your contemporaries. Always in the hand of Youth lies the shaping of the Future; but it is becoming more and more impossible for any man, young or old, to remain in our social system and evade an active personal participation in the solution of its issues. No matter what his vocation may be, he cannot retain his self-respect, and that of his fellows, and refuse his part in the common lot. And this applies to the soldier no less than to the civilian. Time was when the soldier was permitted neither heart nor head, but was wholly an autonomous caricature of a man a blind, marching, trigger-pulling and saluting machine operated by word of command and devoid of everything but mechanical impulse. This creature of wood was fitted only for the despotic purposes of tyrants, and has no place in a modern republic nor in the modern world at all. Not only does the military profession today require intelligence of a high order, initiative, judgment and discretion, of every commissioned officer, but of the enlisted man as well, and in our land the officer has not ceased to be a citizen in becoming a soldier; and burning questions of the day arc as intimately related to his responsibilities of command and his personal welfare as to the duties and interests of the civilian. Serving in such a complex civilization as ours, never can he tell what unusual duties he may be called upon to perform, nor what responsibilities he may be required to assume.
Already the officers of our active Army have organized and administered civil governments, systems of public education, codes of law and civil courts, municipalities, customs services, steamship lines, railroads.
They have built public roads ami bridges; constructed systems of sanitary engineering and telegraph lines;
Page 9 text:
the pow but no whit frosty in sympathy with the Corps, its joys, its grouches and its ideals; a little wiser than in 70, but not much; a lot more charitable; with an abiding faith in the future of this Land of Promise, and of Humanity; and with a profound conviction of the pre-eminence among educational institutions of the Military School that has certified your worth, he salutes the Class of Nineteen-Eleven.
Most likely the men of every graduating class of young men since colleges and universities were founded have been told that they lived in an evil age in which momentous changes were impending; and that their time was one of transition. This is always more or less true. All ages have their share of evil, and all are more or less transitional. As a matter of fact, however, in our world the importance of all issues is a question of degree; and all matters from time and space to fresh eggs are relative. As we look back over the historic field we note crises of superlative moment by which social conditions are profoundly affected, and we see that the conditions surrounding these epochs are always exceptionally intensive. It does not take a very superior intelligence to discern in our day and in our immediate surroundings evidences of such concentrated social energy. It is a commonplace of knowledge that since the beginning of the Nineteenth Century the Western World has rapidly revolutionized the material conditions of life; and that political and social relations and conceptions have undergone corresponding changes with no less swiftness.
There is more difference in many fundamentals of thought, of social relations, and of political ideals between the world of today and that of George Washington than between his period and that of William the Conqueror yes,or that of Greece and Rome. There is in some respects as much difference between your world and that of your grandfathers as between their time and the age of Louis XIV; in fact, a good deal more. There is no precedent in history for the compression into periods of less than thousands of years of such general and far-reaching changes in the life and material powers of mankind as have taken place since
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designed and erected large public buildings; reclaimed waste lands; conducted surveys; controlled and relieved great public disasters. Most of these things, and many more non-military activities, have been effected by Line officers alone; and to these must be added the great public works in the hands of the Scientific corps, including the greatest engineering operation of history. In all these labors the soldier is intimately in contact with the citizen; and more and more the old rigid line of separation between the two is disappearing, while the military profession is taking a practical position among the other activities of social and political life. Modern society is coming to appreciate the fact that there is a great and useful function in the energies and organized intelligence of a military class. As an object lesson of restraint and orderly control alone it serves as a fine moral tonic for society and operates as a perpetual check upon the violence of social impulse. When these militant influences are made operative on a whole people, as in the case of Germany and others, they become educative of a higher citizenship and energize the industrial and commercial life of a nation.
The moral of all this lies in the demand for earnest and sympathetic study on the part of the soldier of the social, economic and political problems, whose solution in any form is bound to change the face of the world under his feet, and to transform the social order of which he is a part. Everywhere men are demanding readjustment and a new deal.
The whole earth is awakening—the Orient with its swarming millions, and even Africa, but yesterday a dark jungle, are seeing a great light and rubbing their eyes. Never since man came upon earth have there been such doings, such a ferment among all peoples, such promise of great things to come. It is an inspiration to live in such a dawn and to be a part of such a transformation. Do not assume. Men of Nineteen-Eleven, that you have discharged your obligation to your country, society and yourselves by confining your attention to professional matters alone. A man who knows nothing but his job is only
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