Contractions & Contradictions -- American Democracy

"America is in travail. A new America is developing in the womb of time.

What kind of new America will it be?

Will it be an America which has learned how to fit an economic system of private enterprise to the traditions of our democracy?

Will it be an America which will attain economic freedom for the average man so that the political freedom of the Bill of Rights will become a reality and reach out in spirit to meet new conditions in the modern world?

Or will it be another kind of America—an America in which a system of free enterprise has failed so badly as a method of distributing goods that a disgusted people will welcome as a substitute one of the new-fashioned “disciplined” economies in which political liberty is regarded as a disruption of discipline and an intolerable luxury—an American in which the unsatisfied mass will yield democracy to a dictatorship either of the Right or the Left “in exchange for the illusion of a living”?

Here in America it is the old struggle between the power of money and the power of the democratic instinct..."

Harold Ickes
Secretary of the Interior
January 8, 1938


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