The Gospel of Wealth
And Other Timely Essays
by Andrew Carnegie

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that which is in GREEN is a commentator's remark and
that which is in BLUE is from the Baha'i Writings.
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--- Page 151. The Gospel of Wealth - VIII Americanism versus Imperialism


Americanism Versus Imperialism

Part II

34. In the January number of the Review I dealt with the danger of foreign wars and entanglements as one of several grave reasons against departing from the past policy of the Republic, which has kept it solid and compact upon its own continent, to undertake the subjection and government of subject races in the tropics. I now propose to consider one of the reasons given for such departure - the only one remaining which retains much vitality, for the two other reasons once so prominent have already faded away and now are scarcely ever urged. These were "commercial expansion" in peace and "increased power" in war. The President killed the first when compelled by Great Britain to give the "open door" as the price for her support; for to give the "open door" to the nearer foreigner meant the "closed door" to the products of the soil and mines of his own country. There never was and never can be any trade worth quarreling about in the Philippines; but what little there is or can be he has given away. When the country saw Dewey's fleet provisioned from Australia, instead of from our own agricultural land, the claim of possible expansion of American commerce there fell to the ground.

Baha'i Comment

35. The second claim, that the Republic as a war power would be strengthened, held the field even for a shorter period than that of commercial expansion, for it was obvious that distant possessions would only give to our enemies, during war, vulnerable points of attack which had hitherto been wanting. As one solid mass, without outlying possessions, the Republic is practically unassailable. Should she keep the Philippines, any one of the great naval powers has her at its mercy. Hence Admiral Sampson

    (11) William Thompson Sampson (1840-1902), squadron commander in the Spanish-American war.

warned us but a few days ago that "our risks of and dangers from war had already increased a hundred per cent and that we needed to double our navy." The

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President has just asked that our army also be doubled.

Baha'i Comment

36. Thus the claims of "commercial expansion" in peace and of "increased power" in war have bled to death of themselves.

Baha'i Comment

37. There remains to-day, as the one vital element of Imperialism, the contention that Providence has opened for the American people a new and larger destiny, which imposes heavy burdens indeed upon them, but from which they cannot shrink without evading holy duty; that it has become their sacred task to undertake the civilization of a backward people committed to their charge. A foundling has been left at their door, which it is their duty to adopt, educate, and govern. In a word, it is "Humanity," "Duty," "Destiny," which call upon us again for sacrifice. These potent cries, which brought us to the drawing of the sword for oppressed Cuba, are now calling us to a more difficult task, and hence to a greater "duty."

…a new and larger destiny

Carnegie here is referring to “Manifest Destiny.”

“…tenet holding that territorial expansion of the United States is not only inevitable but divinely ordained. The phrase was first used by the American journalist and diplomat John Louis O'Sullivan, in an editorial supporting annexation of Texas, in the July-August 1845 edition of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, a magazine that featured literature and nationalist opinion. The phrase was later used by expansionists in all political parties to justify the acquisition of California, the Oregon Territory, and Alaska. By the end of the 19th century the doctrine was being applied to the proposed annexation of various islands in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.”

Reference was at:

holy duty …their (United States) sacred task to undertake the civilization of a backward people committed to their charge.

In a review of the twentieth century, the Baha’i authored document “Century of Light,” discusses this serious matter of expansion in the “Name of God.”

“These masses of humankind, despoiled and scorned - but representing most of the earth's inhabitants - were seen not as protagonists but essentially as objects of the new century's much vaunted civilizing process. Despite benefits conferred on a minority among them, the colonial peoples existed chiefly to be acted upon - to be used, trained, exploited, Christianized, civilized, mobilized - as the shifting agendas of Western powers dictated. These agendas may have been harsh or mild in execution, enlightened or selfish, evangelical or exploitative, but were shaped by materialistic forces that determined both their means and most of their ends. To a large extent, religious and political pieties of various kinds masked both ends and means from the publics in Western lands, who were thus able to derive moral satisfaction from the blessings their nations were assumed to be conferring on less worthy peoples, while themselves enjoying the material fruits of this benevolence.” (Baha'i World Centre [2001], Century of Light, 2001, p.4)


Today throughout the five continents of the globe it is Europe and most sections of America that are renowned for law and order, government and commerce, art and industry, science, philosophy and education. Yet in ancient times these were the most savage of the world's peoples, the most ignorant and brutish. They were even stigmatized as barbarians--that is, utterly rude and uncivilized. Further, from the fifth century after Christ until the fifteenth, that period defined as the Middle Ages, such terrible struggles and fierce upheavals, such ruthless encounters and horrifying acts, were the rule among the peoples of Europe, that the Europeans rightly describe those ten centuries as the Dark Ages. The basis of Europe's progress and civilization was actually laid in the fifteenth century of the Christian era, and from that time on, all her present evident culture has been, under the stimulus of great minds and as a result of the expansion of the frontiers of knowledge and the exertion of energetic and ambitious efforts, in the process of development. (Abdu’l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p.10)

Until the heavenly civilization is founded, no result will be forthcoming from material civilization, even as you observe. See what catastrophes overwhelm mankind. Consider the wars which disturb the world. Consider the enmity and hatred. The existence of these wars and conditions indicates and proves that the heavenly civilization has not yet been established. If the civilization of the Kingdom be spread to all the nations, this dust of disagreement will be dispelled, these clouds will pass away, and the Sun of Reality in its greatest effulgence and glory will shine upon mankind. (Abdu’l-Baha [1912], The Promulgation Of Universal Peace, p.96)

All are human beings. Why have the people of America advanced to a high degree of civilization while the tribes of central Africa remain in extreme ignorance and barbarism? The difference and distinction between them is the degree of education. This is unquestioned. The people of Europe and America have been uplifted by education and training from the world of defects and have ascended toward the realm of perfection, whereas the people of Africa, denied educational development, remain in a natural condition of illiteracy and deprivation, for nature is incomplete and defective. Education is a necessity. If a piece of ground be left in its natural and original state, it will either become a thorny waste or be covered by worthless weeds. When cleared and cultivated, this same unproductive field will yield plentiful harvests of food for human sustenance. (Abdu’l-Baha [1912], The Promulgation Of Universal Peace, p.329)

Destiny of America

“Among some of the most momentous and thought-provoking pronouncements ever made by Abdu'l-Baha, in the course of His epoch-making travels in the North American continent, are the following: "May this American Democracy be the first nation to establish the foundation of international agreement. May it be the first nation to proclaim the unity of mankind. May it be the first to unfurl the Standard of the Most Great Peace." And again: "The American people are indeed worthy of being the first to build the Tabernacle of the Great Peace, and proclaim the oneness of mankind.... For America hath developed powers and capacities greater and more wonderful than other nations.... The American nation is equipped and empowered to accomplish that which will adorn the pages of history, to become the envy of the world, and be blest in both the East and the West for the triumph of its people. ...The American continent gives signs and evidences of very great advancement. Its future is even more promising, for its influence and illumination are far-reaching. It will lead all nations spiritually."

The creative energies, mysteriously generated by the first stirrings of the embryonic World Order of Baha'u'llah, have, as soon as released within a nation destined to become its cradle and champion, endowed that nation with the worthiness, and invested it with the powers and capacities, and equipped it spiritually, to play the part foreshadowed in these prophetic words. The potencies which this God-given mission has infused into its people are, on the one hand, beginning to be manifested through the conscious efforts and the nationwide accomplishments, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Baha'i activity, of the organized community of the followers of Baha'u'llah in the North American continent. These same potencies, apart from, yet collateral with these efforts and accomplishments, are, on the other hand, insensibly shaping, under the impact of the world political and economic forces, the destiny of that nation, and are influencing the lives and actions of both its government and its people.

To the efforts and accomplishments of those who, aware of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah, are now laboring in that continent, to their present and future course of activity, I have, in the foregoing pages sufficiently referred. A word, if the destiny of the American people, in its entirety, is to be correctly apprehended, should now be said regarding the orientation of that nation as a whole, and the trend of the affairs of its people. For no matter how ignorant of the Source from which those directing energies proceed, and however slow and laborious the process, it is becoming increasingly evident that the nation as a whole, whether through the agency of its government or otherwise, is gravitating, under the influence of forces that it can neither comprehend nor control, towards such associations and policies, wherein, as indicated by Abdu'l-Baha, her true destiny must lie. Both the community of the American believers, who are aware of that Source, and the great mass of their countrymen, who have not as yet recognized the Hand that directs their destiny, are contributing, each in its own way, to the realization of the hopes, and the fulfillment of the promises, voiced in the above-quoted words of Abdu'l-Baha. (Shoghi Effendi [1938], The Advent Of Divine Justice, pp.85-87)

38. It is encouraging to those who hold to Americanism that the chief strength of the imperialistic movement calling upon us to depart from our republican ideals, rests upon no ignoble foundation to-day. It is not the desire of gain, as our European critics assert, nor the desire of military glory, which gives vitality to the strange outburst for expansion and the proposed holding of alien races in subjection for their good. The average American, especially in the West, really believes that his country can govern these tropical people, and benefit them by so doing; he considers it a duty not to evade a task which, as he sees it, Providence has clearly imposed upon his country. The writer knows that the cynics, both at home and abroad, but especially the latter, will smile at this statement; but the extent of the ignorance of the American people in general, except in the South, about subject races and tropical conditions, cannot be realized by Europeans. This ignorance is truly as great as their belief implies. Their lack of knowledge is at fault, but the greater this lack the clearer is it that they can be credited with absolute sincerity,

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and with those very dangerous things when possessed without knowledge, "good intentions." The people of the South, who have knowledge of the problems of race, are with rare unanimity opposed to further accretions, and see it to be a "holy duty" to keep our Republic from further dangers arising from racial differences.

Problem of Race

From the Baha'i perspective, racism is one of the most baneful and persistent evils in society. Racial discrimination is baneful because it violates the dignity of human beings. And yet it persists. Racism is poisonous because it cripples its victims, corrupts its perpetrators, and blights human progress. And yet it persists. Why? We believe that racism persists precisely because it is deeply rooted in outdated attitudes and erroneous beliefs.

Accordingly, any campaign to eradicate racism must change those attitudes and beliefs. Although necessary, political action alone cannot offer a permanent solution. In the Baha'i view, racism will be eliminated only when the peoples of the world are convinced of the oneness of humankind and proceed to reconstruct their lives and their societies on that basis.

The recognition of the oneness of mankind would require the abandonment of all doctrines of superiority, many of which still persist implicitly despite our preoccupation with its more obvious forms such as apartheid. More importantly, by establishing the foundation for true co-operation, the recognition of this principle would raise civilization to a new level. At this higher level, no one need fear oppression, even those who were formerly oppressors. The sharing of power and responsibility among all citizens can then be implemented without fear, through appropriate legal measures and equitable social and economic policies.

(Baha’i International Community [1989], Statement to the forty-fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights)

39. Our national history has not been such as to give our people experience in dealing with this new and essentially foreign question, but the American democracy has displayed in all national crises a highly creditable sensitiveness to the moral features of every issue presented. The deciding voice has been that of those who stood for what made toward its abolition until the issue was placed upon high moral grounds. In the issue of secession, patriotism played the first part, but the enthusiasm of the nation was greatly quickened the moment it became a question of the emancipation of the slaves. Even in the recent issue, when the debasement of the standard of value was proposed, those who stood for the maintenance of the high standard found their strongest weapon when they placed before the people the moral side of the question, and argued that debts contracted in gold should be paid in gold; that the savings of the people deposited in banks in gold should be so repaid; and that the soldiers' pensions should be paid in money equal to any. The justice of the matter, what was right, what was fair, -- in other words, the moral side of the question, - was potent in determining the decision.


Question: Is it not a fact that universal peace cannot be accomplished until there is political democracy in all the countries of the world?

Answer: It is very evident that in the future there shall be no centralization in the countries of the world, be they constitutional in government, republican or democratic in form. The United States may be held up as the example of future government--that is to say, each province will be independent in itself, but there will be federal union protecting the interests of the various independent states. It may not be a republican or a democratic form. To cast aside centralization which promotes despotism is the exigency of the time. This will be productive of international peace. Another fact of equal importance in bringing about international peace is woman's suffrage. That is to say, when perfect equality shall be established between men and women, peace may be realized for the simple reason that womankind in general will never favor warfare. Women will not be willing to allow those whom they have so tenderly cared for to go to the battlefield. When they shall have a vote, they will oppose any cause of warfare. Another factor which will bring about universal peace is the linking together of the Orient and the Occident. (Abdu’l-Baha [1912], The Promulgation Of Universal Peace, p.167)

…unlike the paramount principle of democracy by which the elected are constantly responsible to the electors, Baha'i bodies are responsible at all times to the Founder of their Faith and His teachings. Whereas in democracy the ruling factor at the top can go no higher than their own councils and their decisions are subject to the scrutiny and approval of those they represent, this ruling factor in the Cause of God is at once the servant of all the servants of God - in other words the body of the faithful - but responsible to a higher factor, divinely guided and inspired, the Guardian or sole interpreter, and the Universal House of Justice, the supreme elected body, or sole legislator. It will be seen that in this system the people, divorced from the corrupt influences of nomination, political canvassing and the violence of those whims and dissatisfactions so easily engendered in the masses by the working of the democratic principle alone, are free to choose those they deem best qualified to direct their affairs and safeguard their rights on the one hand, and to protect and serve the interests of the Cause of God on the other.

The elected Baha'i bodies might be likened to a great network of irrigation pipes, selected and put together by the people for their own benefit. but life-giving waters from on high flow through this system, independent of the people, independent of any will of the pipes, and this water is the divinely guided and inspired counsels of the Guardian and the Supreme Body of the Cause, which they receive, in this Baha'i dispensation, from no less a source than the twin Manifestations of God. The system of Baha'u'llah, Shoghi Effendi wrote, "cannot ever degenerate into any form of despotism, of oligarchy, or of demagogy which must sooner or later corrupt the machinery of all man-made and essentially defective political institutions." (Ruhiyyih Khanum [1969], The Priceless Pearl, p.349)

Moral Laxity

The steady and alarming deterioration in the standard of morality as exemplified by the appalling increase of crime, by political corruption in ever widening and ever higher circles, by the loosening of the sacred ties of marriage, by the inordinate craving for pleasure and diversion, and by the marked and progressive slackening of parental control, is no doubt the most arresting and distressing aspect of the decline that has set in, and can be clearly perceived, in the fortunes of the entire nation. (Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 124)

40. We hear much of the decline of the pulpit in our day, and upon theological questions and dogmas its influence cannot be what it once was. Yet, as far as our country is concerned, I should say that the power of the pulpit upon all moral questions has gained as much as it has lost upon theological issues. It is not less powerful to-day in this domain of the Republic than in Scotland, and far more so than in any other English-speaking country. In such questions its voice has been potent when decisively pronounced upon one side or

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the other, as it generally has been; but in regard to Imperialism it has been divided. Bishop Potter, Dr. van Dyke, Dr. Cuyler, Dr. Parkhurst, Dr. Eaten, and others equally prominent stand firmly against it. On the other hand, Bishop Doane, Dr. Lyman Abbott, and others have taken the opposite view, but solely from the standpoint of the good of the subject races, not in the slightest degree for our own advantage.

    (12) Carnegie here calls the roll of divines, most of whom were conspicuous in the Anti-Imperialist League, a spontaneous uprising of intellectuals against "imperialism." At least three were "first citizens of New York City. Henry C. Potter (1835-1908), Episcopalian bishop of New York, a clerical and social liberal and leader in the fight against municipal corruption; Henry Van Dyke (1852-1935), Princeton graduate and pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church, a fabulous preacher and teacher, a literary man and self-styled "adventurous conservative"; and Charles Henry Parkhurst (1842-1933), pastor of the Madison Square Presbyterian Church, whose blistering sermon (1892) on the alliance between politicos and vice forced him to collect the evidence and brought on the Lexow Investigation (1894) which led to the defeat of Tammany Hall. Theodore Ledyard Cuyler (1822-1909), Princeton graduate, was pastor in the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, and a conservative in theology. Homer Eaten (1834-1913) after 1889 was Secretary of the Methodist Book Concern in New York and Treasurer of the denomination's Board of Foreign Missions. The deviant divines were W. C. Doane (1832-1913), first Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Albany, a high churchman with gifts as an administrator; and Lyman Abbott (1835-1922), Congregationalist pastor of the Plymouth Church (Henry W. Beecher's Church) in Brooklyn during the nineties, editor of the Outlook--the new name (1893) of the Christian Union -- and a reconciler of evolution and historic Christianity. Abbott later became a zealous apostle of Theodore Roosevelt.

This view, and this alone, is what gives Imperialism most of its remaining vitality.

Decline of the Pulpit

The Pen of the Divine Expounder exhorteth, at this moment, the manifestations of authority and the sources of power, namely the kings and rulers of the earth--may God assist them--and enjoineth them to uphold the cause of religion, and to cleave unto it. Religion is, verily, the chief instrument for the establishment of order in the world, and of tranquillity amongst its peoples. The weakening of the pillars of religion hath strengthened the foolish, and emboldened them, and made them more arrogant. Verily I say: The greater the decline of religion, the more grievous the waywardness of the ungodly. This cannot but lead in the end to chaos and confusion. Hear Me, O men of insight, and be warned, ye who are endued with discernment! (Baha’u’llah [1873-1892], Tablets Of Baha'u'llah Revealed After The Kitab-i-Aqdas, pp.63-64)

…the realm of the religionist has gradually narrowed and darkened, and the sphere of the materialist has widened and advanced; for the religionist has held to imitation and counterfeit, neglecting and discarding holiness and the sacred reality of religion. When the sun sets, it is the time for bats to fly. They come forth because they are creatures of the night. When the lights of religion become darkened, the materialists appear. They are the bats of night. The decline of religion is their time of activity; they seek the shadows when the world is darkened and clouds have spread over it.

Baha'u'llah has risen from the eastern horizon. Like the glory of the sun He has come into the world. He has reflected the reality of divine religion, dispelled the darkness of imitations, laid the foundation of new teachings and resuscitated the world. (Abdu’l-Baha [1912], The Promulgation Of Universal Peace, pp.179-180)

Due to theological questions and dogmas its influence (Religion) cannot be what it once was

The beginnings of all great religions were pure; but priests, taking possession of the minds of the people, filled them with dogmas and superstitions, so that religion became gradually corrupt. (Abdu’l-Baha [1911], Abdu’l-Baha in London, p.125)

Many religious leaders have grown to think that the importance of religion lies mainly in the adherence to a collection of certain dogmas and the practice of rites and ceremonies! Those whose souls they profess to cure are taught to believe likewise, and these cling tenaciously to the outward forms, confusing them with the inward truth.

Now, these forms and rituals differ in the various churches and amongst the different sects, and even contradict one another; giving rise to discord, hatred, and disunion. The outcome of all this dissension is the belief of many cultured men that religion and science are contradictory terms, that religion needs no powers of reflection, and should in no wise be regulated by science, but must of necessity be opposed, the one to the other. The unfortunate effect of this is that science has drifted apart from religion, and religion has become a mere blind and more or less apathetic following of the precepts of certain religious teachers, who insist on their own favourite dogmas being accepted even when they are contrary to science. This is foolishness, for it is quite evident that science is the light, and, being so, religion truly so-called does not oppose knowledge. (Abdu’l-Baha [1911], Paris Talks, pp.143-144)

41. Here is the essence of the whole matter given by Professor Alden

    (13) Raymond M. Alden (1873-1924), later professor at the University of Illinois and at Stanford.

of the University of Pennsylvania:

    Apropos of the missionary argument for expansion, the clergyman under whose ministry I sat last Sunday offered the following petition on behalf of the Filipinos:

    “We pray thee that those who prefer to remain in darkness, and are even willing to fight in order to do so, may, whether willingly or unwillingly, be brought into the light."

    Instantly there came to my mind the naive remark of the pious

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    author of the "Chanson de Roland," in describing one of the victories of Charlemagne over the Mussulmans:

      En la citet nen at remes paien
      Ne seit ocis, o devient crestiens.

    That is to say: "There was not a pagan left in the city who was not either killed or made a Christian." So may it be in Manila, when a similar dilemma is prepared for its inhabitants.

“…willingly or unwillingly, be brought into the light”
and also
"There was not a pagan left in the city who was not either killed or made a Christian."

There is really no justification in all the religious teachings that justify force or compulsion in advancing your religious beliefs. No doubt some who have conquered in the “Name of God” probably earnestly felt they were doing “God’s Will.” It’s interesting to not how many of these colonial powers “justified” their Imperialism by getting the blessings of the Church. Thus they could derive moral satisfaction and at the same time garner land and wealth. They really could “have their cake, and eat it too” - so to speak. The Eagles phrased it in a song -

We satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds.
In the name of destiny and in the name of God.
(The Eagles, The Last Resort)

Do not quarrel with anybody, and shun every form of dispute. Utter the Word of God. If he accepteth it the desired purpose is attained, and if he turneth away leave him to himself and trust to God. (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 210)

Let there be no compulsion in Religion. Now is the right way made distinct from error. (The Qur'an (Rodwell tr), Sura 2 - The Cow)

For it is impossible to keep the Law without Christ, though man may, for the sake of honor or property, or from fear of punishment, feign outward holiness. The heart which does not discern God's grace in Christ cannot turn to God nor trust in him; it cannot love his commandments and delight in them, but rather resists them. For nature rebels at compulsion (Sermons of Martin Luther, Twofold Use of Law & Gospel, Letter and Spirit)

42. Bishop Doane is the most prominent representative of the religious world who upholds the missionary view, and he would probably hesitate to push it to its logical conclusion, as his less known ministerial adherent does. The Bishop gives the argument of "Duty" in the following:

    Bishop Doane says that precedent seems to indicate that both by the inherent national right of sovereignty and under the existing Constitution we can provide for the government of the people whom we have rescued, but that if this supposition shall be found untrue, "then we must remember that, in the emergency, national life and duty are more important than the letter of a document, and that the Constitution, not being, as some people seem to think it, a close and final revelation of God, can be amended. ... No difficulties and no anxieties can alter the facts or change the situation or put back the advancing movement of God's will, which tends to the final substitution of the civilization, the liberty, and the religion of English-speaking people for the lost domination of the Latin races and the Latin religion. God has called the people in America to be his instruments in a movement perhaps even greater in its consequences than the Reformation in England or the liberation of Italy or the unification of Germany, and in the spirit of dependence on Him, with the quiet courage of patient faith, we must rise to the duty of the hour."

If priests of religion really adored the God of love and served the Divine Light, they would teach their people to keep the chief Commandment, 'To be in love and charity with all men'. But we find the contrary, for it is often the priests who encourage nations to fight. Religious hatred is ever the most cruel! (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 147)

43. It is with the view Bishop Doane presents that we anti-Imperialists have to deal, not with spouting party politicians waving the flag, and descending to clap-trap phrases to "split the ears of the groundlings." In the Bishop's words we see some reason for the charge sometimes made against ecclesiastics, viz., that, their attention being chiefly fixed upon the other world, they seldom shine as advisers upon affairs pertaining to this. The Bishop's remedy for overcoming constitutional obstacles, for instance, is easily sug-

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gested; but such an amendment to the Constitution is impossible, since upon this question all the Southern States are attached to its present provisions, and against "rescuing" and governing subject races by force. Having in their own land some experience of race problems of which the North and West are ignorant, they stand for the old Americanism. Then, again, the Bishop reveals to us "God's will," which, he informs us, "tends to the final substitution of the civilization, the liberty, and the religion of English-speaking people for the lost domination of the Latin races and the Latin Catholic religion." It may be open even for a layman who cannot pretend to know the designs of the Creator to observe that, in the case of the tropics, the Unknown Power seems to have placed an insurmountable barrier against the English-speaking race. Professor Worcester,

    (l4) Dean C. Worcester (1866-1924), born in Thetford, Vermont, and educated there and at the University of Michigan, was a naturalist on the Michigan faculty and participator in scientific expeditions to the Philippine Islands in the eighties. In 1898, he published a book, The Philippine Islands and Their People, which came to the attention of President McKinley; not surprisingly, he appointed Worcester in January 1899 a member of the Philippine Commission, one of the three civilians. The duties of this group were to determine how American "authority" should be extended humanely over the islands. Worcester believed the United States must retain the islands and govern them for a considerable period. He remained on the Commission until 1913 and served as Secretary of the Interior in the Philippine Insular Government from 1901 to 1913. Worcester's opinion, here quoted by Carnegie, is in the former's volume, p. 67. It reads, "It is doubtful, in my judgment, if many successive generations of European or American children could be reared there."

who knows most about the Philippines, tells us that our race cannot settle there and make permanent homes; neither can it in other parts of the tropics, nor has it ever done so. It has tried to do so in India, but failed. If a British child be born there, it must be sent home. In the Philippines it is even worse. Can Bishop Doane point to any considerable or successful settlement of our race in the tropics? He cannot do so, and this fact would seem to imply that perhaps the Bishop may have misinterpreted God's will. It would seem that, perhaps, in his own way he intends the people he has placed in the tropics to develop a

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civilization for themselves, and is keeping his loving, fatherly eye upon his children there just as tenderly as upon the Bishop. In my travels, I have found the universal laws everywhere working to higher and higher standards of national life. All the world steadily improves. Only impatient men, destitute of genuine faith in the divine government throughout all the world, doubt that all goes well. The Bishop's eminent colleague, Bishop Potter, sees "God's will," our "holy duty," so differently from Bishop Doane. When bishops in the same church disagree, it is difficult to decide.


That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness.

Regard men as a flock of sheep that need a shepherd for their protection. This, verily, is the truth, the certain truth. We approve of liberty in certain circumstances, and refuse to sanction it in others. We, verily, are the All-Knowing.

Say: True liberty consisteth in man's submission unto My commandments, little as ye know it. Were men to observe that which We have sent down unto them from the Heaven of Revelation, they would, of a certainty, attain unto perfect liberty. Happy is the man that hath apprehended the Purpose of God in whatever He hath revealed from the Heaven of His Will, that pervadeth all created things. Say: The liberty that profiteth you is to be found nowhere except in complete servitude unto God, the Eternal Truth. Whoso hath tasted of its sweetness will refuse to barter it for all the dominion of earth and heaven. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 336)

“…a layman who cannot pretend to know the designs of the Creator”

He hath endowed every soul with the capacity to recognize the signs of God. How could He, otherwise, have fulfilled His testimony unto men, if ye be of them that ponder His Cause in their hearts. He will never deal unjustly with any one… (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 106)

Know thou that the ear of man hath been created that it may hearken unto the Divine Voice on this Day that hath been mentioned in all the Books, Scriptures, and Tablets. (Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 2)

The Word of God may be likened unto a sapling, whose roots have been implanted in the hearts of men. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 97)

He hath moreover deposited within the realities of all created things the emblem of His recognition… (The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 112)

“…perhaps the Bishop may have misinterpreted God's will.”

Misinterpreting the divine commands, men have acquired prejudices and on these prejudices they have waged religious wars and caused bloodshed. Behold what is happening to-day! Men are killing their brothers, believing this to be the cause of salvation, believing that such work is approved by God, believing that those whom they kill will be sent to hell. (Abdu'l-Baha [1912], Divine Philosophy, p. 101)

Look at the Gospel of the Lord Christ and see how glorious it is! Yet even today men fail to understand its priceless beauty, and misinterpret its words of wisdom.

Christ forbade war! When the disciple Peter, thinking to defend his Lord, cut off the ear of the servant of the High Priest, Christ said to him: 'Put up thy sword into the sheath'.[1] Yet, in spite of the direct command of the Lord they profess to serve -- men still dispute, make war, and kill one another, and His counsels and teaching seem quite forgotten. [1 St John xviii, 11.] (Abdu'l-Baha [1911], Paris Talks, p. 48)

“In my travels, I have found the universal laws everywhere working to higher and higher standards of national life.”

Therefore, no one should glorify himself over another; no one should manifest pride or superiority toward another; no one should look upon another with scorn and contempt; and no one should deprive or oppress a fellow creature. All must be considered as submerged in the ocean of God's mercy. (Abdu'l-Baha [1912], The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 63)

Throughout past centuries each system of religious belief has boasted of its own superiority and excellence, abasing and scorning the validity of all others. Each has proclaimed its own belief as the light and all others as darkness. Religionists have considered the world of humanity as two trees: one divine and merciful, the other satanic; they themselves the branches, leaves and fruit of the divine tree and all others who differ from them in belief the product of the tree which is satanic. Therefore, sedition and warfare, bloodshed and strife have been continuous among them. The greatest cause of human alienation has been religion because each party has considered the belief of the other as anathema and deprived of the mercy of God. (Abdu'l-Baha [1912], The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 230)

“…genuine faith in the divine government throughout all the world”

… the manifold bounties of the Lord of all beings have, at all times, through the Manifestations of His Divine Essence, encompassed the earth and all that dwell therein. Not for a moment hath His grace been withheld, nor have the showers of His loving-kindness ceased to rain upon mankind. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 18)

There can be no doubt whatever that if for one moment the tide of His mercy and grace were to be withheld from the world, it would completely perish. For this reason, from the beginning that hath no beginning the portals of Divine mercy have been flung open to the face of all created things, and the clouds of Truth will continue to the end that hath no end to rain on the soil of human capacity, reality and personality their favors and bounties. Such hath been God's method continued from everlasting to everlasting. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 68)

‘When bishops in the same church disagree, it is difficult to decide.”

If reason is the perfect standard and criterion of knowledge, why are opinions at variance and why do philosophers disagree so completely with each other? This is a clear proof that human reason is not to be relied upon as an infallible criterion. (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 252)

No two men can be found who may be said to be outwardly and inwardly united. (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 163)

The subject of “interpretation” has led mankind astray from the true intent of the Prophets throughout history. In this day and age Baha’u’llah has revealed the “Covenant” so that these differences may dissapear by submitting to an external and infallible authority.

Inasmuch as there was no appointed explainer of the Book of Christ, everyone made the claim to authority, saying, "This is the true pathway and others are not." To ward off such dissensions as these and prevent any person from creating a division or sect the Blessed Perfection, Baha'u'llah, appointed a central authoritative Personage, declaring Him to be the expounder of the Book. This implies that the people in general do not understand the meanings of the Book, but this appointed One does understand. Therefore, Baha'u'llah said, "He is the explainer of My Book and the Center of My Testament." In the last verses of the Book instructions are revealed, declaring that, "After Me," you must turn toward a special Personage and "whatsoever He says is correct." In the Book of the Covenant Baha'u'llah declares that by these two verses this Personage is meant. (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 382)

44. Perhaps we are not justified in quoting Dr. Abbott as still an Imperialist, since his latest article in the Outlook is entitled "An Official Disclaimer of Imperialism." After quoting the Cuban Resolution passed by Congress, he asks:

    Why should not Congress at the present juncture pass a similar resolution respecting the Philippines? ...When pacification is secured, our mission is at an end. ... The above resolution respecting Cuba was simply an affirmation of the principles of this government wrought into its Constitution, vital to its life, affirmed and reaffirmed at many periods of its history. It denies that we wish either to hold people in subjection or to possess their territory as our own. Under circumstances do the American people desire to hold under military government against their will a discontented and resisting people.

      (15) In the Outlook, LXI, 207 f.

Baha'i Comment

45. These sentiments justify the title. They are indeed a disclaimer, of Imperialism, but it seems that, like Bishop Potter, Dr. Abbott has not been favored with the revelation of God's will made to Bishop Doane, for, according to him, "whenever the subject races are pacified our mission ends"; while it is only after pacification that the Bishop's "Holy Mission" can begin to enforce "God's will" by the crusade against the Catholic (Latin) form of religion, for the introduction of "the religion of English-speaking people," of which we have in our land more than two hundred and fifty different forms, all used and loved by those who speak the English tongue.

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Even our valued Catholic friends are often "English-speaking people."

“…two hundred and fifty different forms (of the english speaking divisions of Christianity).”

Religious wars have been many. Nine hundred thousand martyrs to the Protestant cause was the record of conflict and difference between that sect of Christians and the Catholics. Consult history and confirm this. How many languished in prisons! How merciless the treatment of captives! All in the name of religion! Consider and estimate the outcome of other wars between the people and sects of religious belief.

From the beginning of human history down to this time the world of humanity has not enjoyed a day of absolute rest and relaxation from conflict and strife. Most of the wars have been caused by religious prejudice, fanaticism and sectarian hatred. Religionists have anathematized religionists, each considering the other as deprived of the mercy of God, abiding in gross darkness and the children of Satan. (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 265)

46. Nevertheless, we must recognize that, diametrically opposed as Bishop Doane and his school, and Dr. Abbott and his school are in their conclusions, they both have as their aim what they believe to be the good of the poor backward races, and neither pecuniary gain nor military glory for their own country. None of these earnest, good men have anything in common with the ranting political school. They see only serious and unsought "duty" where the others find "gain" or "glory," if not for the nation, at least for themselves as politicians.

Baha'i Comment

47. Imperialism can become a "holy duty" only if we can by forcible interference confer blessings upon the subject races; otherwise it remains what the President once said it was, "criminal aggression." Let us see, therefore, whether good or evil flows from such interference. This is easily ascertained, for there are many dependencies of European powers throughout the world, and many races held in subjection. Has the influence of the superior race upon the inferior ever proved beneficial to either? I know of no case in which it has been or is, and I have visited many of the dependencies. Where is there anything to show that it has been? On the contrary, the mass of authority declares that the influence of a superior race upon an inferior in the tropics is not elevating, but demoralizing. It is not difficult to understand why. Take the Philippines, for instance. The prevailing religion is our own Christian religion, Catholic, of course, but Christian, as in France and Belgium. In the interior there are Mohammedans, next in importance. Mr. Bray, the resident English consul, gives in the Independent a picture of happy life in Manila, which reminded me of what I had found in the East.

    (16) Howard W. Bray, British consul at Singapore and a behind-the-scenes negotiator between the Americans and the Filipinos, published "The Character and Rights of the Filipinos," in the Independent, L (1898), 1312-1316.

Superior Race

Anthropology, physiology, psychology, recognize only one human species, albeit infinitely varied in the secondary aspects of life. Recognition of this truth requires abandonment of prejudice -- prejudice of every kind -- race, class, colour, creed, nation, sex, degree of material civilization, everything which enables people to consider themselves superior to others.

Acceptance of the oneness of mankind is the first fundamental prerequisite for reorganization and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind. Universal acceptance of this spiritual principle is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace.... (The Universal House of Justice [1995], The Promise of World Peace)

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48. One of the great satisfactions in traveling around the world is in learning that God has made all peoples happy in their own homes. We find no people in any part of the world desirous of exchanging their lot with any other. My own experience has impressed this truth very strongly upon me. Upon our journey to the North Cape, we stopped in the Arctic Circle to visit a camp of Laplanders in the interior. A guide is provided, with instructions to keep in the rear of the hindmost of the party going and returning, to guard against any being left behind. Returning from the camp, I walked with this guide, who spoke English and had traveled the world round in his earlier years as a sailor, and was proud to speak of his knowing New York, Boston, New Orleans, and other ports of ours. Reaching the edge of the fiord, and looking down upon it, we saw a hamlet upon the opposite side, and one two-story house under construction, with a grass-plot surrounding it, a house so much larger than any of the adjacent huts that it betokened great wealth. Our guide explained that a man had made a great fortune. He was their multi-millionaire, and his fortune was reported to reach no less a figure than thirty thousand kroner (seven thousand five hundred dollars), and he had returned to his native place of Tromso to build this "palace" and spend his days there. Strange preference for a night six months long! But it was home. I asked the guide which place in all the world he would select if ever he made such a fortune - with a lingering hope that he would name some place in our own favored land. How could he help it? But his face beamed with pleasure at the idea of ever being rich, and he said finally: "Ah, there is no place like Tromso!"

“…God has made all peoples happy in their own homes.”

…to interfere with matters of conscience is simply to give them [peoples who have a religion forced upon them without free-will] greater currency and strength; the more you strive to extinguish the more will the flame be kindled, more especially in matters of faith and religion, which spread and acquire influence so soon as blood is shed, and strongly affect men's hearts. (Abdu'l-Baha, A Traveller's Narrative, p. 21)

Convictions and ideas are within the scope of the comprehension of the King of kings [ God], not of kings; and soul and conscience are between the fingers of control of the Lord of hearts, not of [His] servants. (Abdu'l-Baha, A Traveller's Narrative, p. 91)

The Old Testament says that God created man like unto His own image; in the Qur'an it says: "There is no difference in the Creation of God!" Think well, God has created all, cares for all, and all are under His protection. The policy of God is better than our policy. We are not as wise as God! (Abdu'l-Baha [1911], Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 55)

The Cause of God has room for all. It would, indeed, not be the Cause of God if it did not take in and welcome everyone -- poor and rich, educated, and ignorant, the unknown and the prominent -- God surely wants them all, as He created them all." (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to two individual believers, December 2, 1942: The Individual and Teaching, p. 25)

…the Essence of Divinity, the Sun of Truth, shines forth upon all horizons and is spreading its rays upon all things. Each creature is the recipient of some portion of that power, and man, who contains the perfection of the mineral, the vegetable and animal, as well as his own distinctive qualities, has become the noblest of created beings. (Abdu'l-Baha [1911], Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 23)

49. Traveling in southern India, one day I was taken into the country to see tapioca roots gathered and ground for use. The adults working in the grove, men and women, had each a rag around the loins, but the boys and girls, with their black, glossy skins, were free of all encumbrance. Our guide explained to these people that we were from a country so

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far away, and so different from theirs, that the waters were sometimes made solid by the extreme cold and we could walk upon them; that sometimes it was so intensely cold that the rain was frozen into particles, and lay on the earth so deep that people could not walk through it, and that three and four layers of heavy clothes had to be worn. This happy people, as our guide told us, wondered why we stayed there, why we did not come and enjoy life in their favored clime.

Baha'i Comment

50. It is just so with the Philippines to-day, as one can see from Mr. Pray's account of them. It is astonishing how much all human beings the world round are alike in their essentials. These peoples love their homes and their country, their wives and children, as we do, and they have their pleasures. If, in our humanitarian efforts and longing to benefit them, under the call of duty or destiny, we should bring a hundred to New York, give them fine residences on Fifth Avenue, a fortune conditioned upon their remaining, and try to "civilize" them, as we should say, they would all run away if not watched, and risk their lives in an attempt to get back to their own civilization, which God has thought best to provide for them in the Philippines. They have just the same feelings as we have, not excluding love of country, for which, like ourselves, as we see, they are willing to die. Oh, the pity of it! the pity of it! that Filipino mothers with American mothers equally mourn their lost sons -- one fallen, defender of his country; the other the invader. Yet the invader was ordered by those who see it their "duty" to invade the land of the Filipinos for their civilization. Duty, stern goddess, what strange things men sometimes do in thy name!

“…all human beings the world round are alike in their essentials.”

He looketh on all things with the eye of oneness, and seeth the brilliant rays of the divine sun shining from the dawning-point of Essence alike on all created things, and the lights of singleness reflected over all creation. (Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 18)

All (people) were created alike by the (the blow of the) breath of His command, and the loftiness, exaltation and debasement appeared among the people after they had been created. (Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 200)

Love of Country

Though loyal to their respective governments, though imbued with the love of their own country, and anxious to promote at all times, its best interests, the followers of the Baha'i Faith, nevertheless, viewing mankind as one entity, and profoundly attached to its vital interests, will not hesitate to subordinate every particular interest, be it personal, regional or national, to the over-riding interests of the generality of mankind, knowing full well that in a world of interdependent peoples and nations the advantage of the part is best to be reached by the advantage of the whole, and that no lasting result can be achieved by any of the component parts if the general interests of the entity itself are neglected.... (Shoghi Effendi [1941], The Promised Day is Come, p. vi)

Patriotic love is finite; the love of one's country causing hatred of all others, is not perfect love! Compatriots also are not free from quarrels amongst themselves. (Abdu'l-Baha [1911], Paris Talks, p. 36)

Of old it hath been revealed: "Love of one's country is an element of the Faith of God." The Tongue of Grandeur hath, however, in the day of His manifestation proclaimed: "It is not his to boast who loveth his country, but it is his who loveth the world." Through the power released by these exalted words He hath lent a fresh impulse, and set a new direction, to the birds of men's hearts, and hath obliterated every trace of restriction and limitation from God's holy Book. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 95)

The Faith of Islam, the succeeding link in the chain of Divine Revelation, introduced, as Baha'u'llah Himself testifies, the conception of the nation as a unit and a vital stage in the organization of human society, and embodied it in its teaching. This indeed is what is meant by this brief yet highly significant and illuminating pronouncement of Baha'u'llah: "Of old [Islamic Dispensation] it hath been revealed: 'Love of one's country is an element of the Faith of God.'" This principle was established and stressed by the Apostle of God, inasmuch as the evolution of human society required it at that time. Nor could any stage above and beyond it have been envisaged, as world conditions preliminary to the establishment of a superior form of organization were as yet unobtainable. The conception of nationality, the attainment to the state of nationhood, may, therefore, be said to be the distinguishing characteristics of the Muhammadan Dispensation, in the course of which the nations and races of the world, and particularly in Europe and America, were unified and achieved political independence. (Shoghi Effendi [1941], The Promised Day is Come, p. 120)

Essential Unity

In a letter addressed to Queen Victoria over a century ago, and employing an analogy that points to the one model holding convincing promise for the organization of a planetary society, Bahá'u'lláh compared the world to the human body. There is, indeed, no other model in phenomenal existence to which we can reasonably look. Human society is composed not of a mass of merely differentiated cells but of associations of individuals, each one of whom is endowed with intelligence and will; nevertheless, the modes of operation that characterize man's biological nature illustrate fundamental principles of existence. Chief among these is that of unity in diversity. Paradoxically, it is precisely the wholeness and complexity of the order constituting the human body -- and the perfect integration into it of the body's cells -- that permit the full realization of the distinctive capacities inherent in each of these component elements. No cell lives apart from the body, whether in contributing to its functioning or in deriving its share from the well- being of the whole. The physical well-being thus achieved finds its purpose in making possible the expression of human consciousness; that is to say, the purpose of biological development transcends the mere existence of the body and its parts.

What is true of the life of the individual has its parallels in human society. The human species is an organic whole, the leading edge of the evolutionary process. That human consciousness necessarily operates through an infinite diversity of individual minds and motivations detracts in no way from its essential unity. Indeed, it is precisely an inhering diversity that distinguishes unity from homogeneity or uniformity. What the peoples of the world are today experiencing, Bahá'u'lláh said, is their collective coming-of-age, and it is through this emerging maturity of the race that the principle of unity in diversity will find full expression. From its earliest beginnings in the consolidation of family life, the process of social organization has successively moved from the simple structures of clan and tribe, through multitudinous forms of urban society, to the eventual emergence of the nation-state, each stage opening up a wealth of new opportunities for the exercise of human capacity. (Baha’i International Community [1995]: The Prosperity of Humankind ")

51. Another reason which, we submit, renders it beyond our power to benefit these people is that, with the exception of a few men seeking their own gain, the only Americans whom the Filipinos can ever know must be our soldiers, for American women and children cannot make their homes there. No holy influence flowing from American homes, no Christian women, no sweet children; nothing there but men and

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soldiers, the former only a few adventurers who, failing to succeed at home, thought they could make money there. Now, every writer upon the subject tells that the presence of soldiers in any town in the tropics is disastrous to both native and foreigner; that the contact of the superior race with the inferior demoralizes both, for reasons well understood. Forty-six per cent of the British army in India is at all times diseased. What imperialistic clergyman or intelligent man but knows the soldiers in foreign camps, so far from being missionaries for good, require missionaries themselves more than the natives? It would all be so different if Americans could settle and establish their homes in the Philippines, and amalgamate with the people, making a colony. It is in colonies, not in dependencies, that Britain has done good work. Soldiers will not benefit the inferior race in the Philippines. Men there for gain will not. Missionaries there are already in abundance. Beyond a few of a different sect of Christianity, we have nothing more we can send, and these will find welcome there if we cease warfare upon the people, while to-day they would be regarded as enemies. It is not civilization, not improvement, therefore, that Imperialism can give to the Philippines, should we hold permanent possession. It is serious injury both to the Filipinos and to our soldiers, and to the American citizens who go there. It is a bad day for either soldier or business man when, in a foreign land, he is bereft of the elevating influences which center in the home.

Baha'i Comment

52. The religious school of Imperialists intends doing for the Filipinos what is best for them, no doubt; but when we crush in any people its longing for independence, we take away with one hand a more powerful means of civilization than all which it is possible for us to bestow with the other. There is implanted in the breast of every human community the sacred germ of self-government, as the most potent means of Providence for raising them in the scale of being. Any ruler, be he President or Czar, who attempts to suppress the growth

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of this sacred spark is guilty of the greatest of public crimes. There is no people or tribe, however low in the scale, that does not have self-government in a greater or less degree. The Haitians and the San Domingans do not require our interference. Why is it not seen to be our duty to force our ideas upon these, our neighbors? The Filipinos are not inferior to these people. On the contrary, we have Admiral Dewey and General Merritt

    (17) Wesley Merritt (1834-1910), commander of the first Philippine Expedition in the Spanish-American War.

both stating that the Filipinos are more capable of self-government than the Cubans. It may be taken as a truism that a people which is willing to fight and to die for the independence of their country is at least worthy of a trial of the self-government it seeks. The Filipinos have done this. Even if they had not, it is better for the development of a people that they should attempt to govern themselves, this being the only school in which they can ever learn to do so. No matter through what years of failure they have to struggle, the end is certain, the successful development of the faculty of government. Through this stern but salutary school our own race traveled for centuries in Britain, with varying fortunes, but the end was the evolution of constitutional government. The cost is great, but the result is beyond price. No superior race ever gave it to an inferior without settling among and amalgamating with that race. In the Philippines, and in the tropics generally, this is impossible. The intruding race cannot be grown there, and where we cannot grow our own race we cannot give civilization to the other. We can only retard, not hasten, their development.

Baha'i Comment

53. India has been subject to British rule for nearly two hundred years, and yet not one piece of artillery can yet be intrusted to native troops. The people have still to be held down as in the beginning. It is so in every dependency in which the superior power assumes the right to govern the inferior, without being able to settle there and amalgamate

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with it. We challenge the Imperialist to give one instance to the contrary in all Britain's possessions.

The Press

The press will, under such a system [world commonwealth], while giving full scope to the expression of the diversified views and convictions of mankind, cease to be mischievously manipulated by vested interests, whether private or public, and will be liberated from the influence of contending governments and peoples. (Shoghi Effendi [1936], The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 204)

As to manner and style, Baha'u'llah has exhorted "authors among the friends" to "write in such a way as would be acceptable to fair-minded souls, and not lead to cavilling by the people". And He issues a reminder: "We have said in the past that one word hath the influence of spring and causeth hearts to become fresh and verdant, while another is like unto blight which causeth the blossoms and flowers to wither."

In the light of all this, the code of conduct of the press must embrace the principles and objectives of consultation as revealed by Baha'u'llah. Only in this way will the press be able to make its full contribution to the preservation of the rights of the people and become a powerful instrument in the consultative processes of society, and hence for the unity of the human race. (Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1988 Dec 29, Individual Rights and Freedoms, p. 10)

Conscience of Man

…those time-honored and powerful strongholds of orthodoxy, whose deliberate aim is to maintain their stranglehold over the thoughts and consciences of men (Shoghi Effendi [1936], The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 17)

"The Call of God," Abdu'l-Baha has written, "when raised, breathed a new life into the body of mankind, and infused a new spirit into the whole creation. It is for this reason that the world hath been moved to its depths, and the hearts and consciences of men been quickened. Erelong the evidences of this regeneration will be revealed, and the fast asleep will be awakened." (Shoghi Effendi [1936], The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 169)

54. The impulse which carried many clergymen and other good people away at first was creditable to their hearts and emotions. But Dr. Abbott's remarkable article just quoted may be taken as evidence that the reason is now demanding audience, and not what we should like to do, but what conditions render it possible for us to do, or wisely undertake, is now to be soberly considered.

Baha'i Comment

55. The press also, like the pulpit, has done its part to stir the impulse to meet the demands of the "New Destiny"; but one of the most prominent organs of all in this work, and the leading government organ in the West, the "Times-Herald" of Chicago, - to judge from a recent editorial, - is also finding its hot passion chilled at the throne of reason, as it confronts and examines the conditions of the situation. It says:

    The conscience of the American people will not tolerate the slaughter of Filipinos in a war of conquest. We do not seek their land; we do not wish to replace the yoke of Spain with one bearing the more merciful and just label of the United States. Let the President announce that we have no intention to annex Asiatic territory, and that the pledge of Congress as to Cuban independence will be the pledge of the American nation to the Philippines.


Conscience, however, is not an unchangeable absolute. One dictionary definition, although not covering all the usages of the term, presents the common understanding of the word "conscience" as "the sense of right and wrong as regards things for which one is responsible; the faculty or principle which pronounces upon the moral quality of one's actions or motives, approving the right and condemning the wrong".

The functioning of one's conscience, then, depends upon one's understanding of right and wrong; the conscience of one person may be established upon a disinterested striving after truth and justice, while that of another may rest on an unthinking predisposition to act in accordance with that pattern of standards, principles and prohibitions which is a product of his social environment. Conscience, therefore, can serve either as a bulwark of an upright character or can represent an accumulation of prejudices learned from one's forebears or absorbed from a limited social code. (Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1992 Dec 10, Issues Related to Study Compilation)

56. If the President had said this in his message to the Filipinos there could not to-day rise before him the specter of nearly five thousand human beings "mowed down like grass," as the cable describes, and sixty of our own fellow citizens sacrificed and several hundreds wounded.

    (18) On September 15, 1898, the Filipinos declared their independence. On February 4, 1899, fighting broke out between them and American troops.

This is the effect of his failure to say to the one people what he said to the other. His responsibility is great.

Baha'i Comment

57. I write upon the eve of the birthday of the greatest public man of the century, perhaps of all the centuries, if his strange history be considered - Abraham Lincoln. Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson may have become 'back num-

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bers," as we have been often told, for, as men of the past century, they could not know our destiny; but here is the man of our own time, whom many of us were privileged to know. Are his teachings to be discarded for those of any now living who were his contemporaries? Listen to him: "No man is good enough to govern another without that man's consent. I say this is the leading principle, the sheet-anchor of American republicanism."

    (19) From Lincoln's speech at Peoria, October 18, 1854.

It is not fashionable for the hour to urge that the "consent of the governed" is all-important; but it will be fashionable again one of these days.

Baha'i Comment

58. It seems as if Lincoln were inspired to say the needful word for this hour of strange subversion of all we have hitherto held dear in our political life. Our "duty" to bear the "White Man's Burden"

    (20) Title of the much-quoted Kipling poem.

is to-day's refrain, but Lincoln tells us: "When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government; that is despotism." Lincoln knew nothing of the new "Duty" and new "Destiny," or whether it is "Duty which makes Destiny" or "Destiny which makes Duty"; but he knew the old doctrines of Republicanism well.


Will the despotism of former governments answer the call for freedom which has risen from the heart of humanity in this cycle of illumination? It is evident that no vital results are now forthcoming from the customs, institutions and standpoints of the past. In view of this, shall blind imitations of ancestral forms and theological interpretations continue to guide and control the religious life and spiritual development of humanity today? Shall man, gifted with the power of reason, unthinkingly follow and adhere to dogma, creeds and hereditary beliefs which will not bear the analysis of reason in this century of effulgent reality? (Abdu'l-Baha [1912], Promulgation Universal Peace; p. 140-141)


Although a republican form of government profiteth all the peoples of the world, yet the majesty of kingship is one of the signs of God. We do not wish that the countries of the world should remain deprived thereof. If the sagacious combine the two forms into one, great will be their reward in the presence of God. (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 28)

It is very evident that in the future there shall be no centralization in the countries of the world, be they constitutional in government, republican or democratic in form. The United States may be held up as the example of future government -- that is to say, each province will be independent in itself, but there will be federal union protecting the interests of the various independent states. It may not be a republican or a democratic form. To cast aside centralization which promotes despotism is the exigency of the time. This will be productive of international peace. (Abdu'l-Baha [1912], The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 167)

No Baha'i can be regarded as either a Republican or Democrat, as such. He is above all else, the supporter of the principles enunciated by Baha'u'llah, with which, I am firmly convinced, the programme of no political party is completely harmonious... (Principles of Bahai Administration, p. 29)

59. One other lesson from the great American: "Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men in all lands everywhere. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and under a just God cannot long retain it."

    (21) This is somewhat inaccurately quoted from Lincoln's speech at Edwardsville, Illinois, September 11, 1858.


O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes. (Baha'u'llah, The Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah, p.3)

The light of men is Justice. Quench it not with the contrary winds of oppression and tyranny. The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity among men. The ocean of divine wisdom surgeth within this exalted word, while the books of the world cannot contain its inner significance. Were mankind to be adorned with this raiment, they would behold the day-star of the utterance, 'On that day God will satisfy everyone out of His abundance,'[1 cf. Qur'an 4:129.] shining resplendent above the horizon of the world. Appreciate ye the value of this utterance; it is a noble fruit that the Tree of the Pen of Glory hath yielded. (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 67)

60. Are these broad liberty-loving and noble liberty-giving principles of Americanism, as proclaimed by President Lincoln, to be discarded for the narrow liberty-denying, race-subjecting Imperialism of President McKinley when the next appeal is made to the American people? We have never for

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one moment doubted the answer; for they have never yet failed to decide great issues wisely nor to uphold American ideals.

American Ideals

When I arrived in this country, I realized that American ideals are indeed most praiseworthy and that the people here are lovers of truth. They investigate reality, and there is no trace of fanaticism among them. Today the nations of the world are on the verge of war, influenced and impelled by prejudices of ignorance and racial fanaticism. Praise be to God! You are free from such prejudice, for you believe in the oneness and solidarity of the world of humanity. There is no doubt that the divine confirmations will uphold you. (Abdu'l-Baha [1912], The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 337)

A rectitude of conduct, an abiding sense of undeviating justice, unobscured by the demoralizing influences which a corruption-ridden political life so strikingly manifests; a chaste, pure, and holy life, unsullied and unclouded by the indecencies, the vices, the false standards, which an inherently deficient moral code tolerates, perpetuates, and fosters; a fraternity freed from that cancerous growth of racial prejudice, which is eating into the vitals of an already debilitated society -- these are the ideals which the American believers must, from now on, individually and through concerted action, strive to promote, in both their private and public lives… (Shoghi Effendi [1938], The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 23)

61. Never had this nation greater cause to extol Abraham Lincoln than upon this the ninetieth anniversary of his birth, and never till to-day had it cause to lament that a successor in the Presidential chair should attempt to subvert his teachings.

This Nation

May this American democracy be the first nation to establish the foundation of international agreement. May it be the first nation to proclaim the universality of mankind. May it be the first to upraise the standard of the Most Great Peace, and through this nation of democracy may these philanthropic intentions and institutions be spread broadcast throughout the world. Truly, this is a great and revered nation. Here liberty has reached its highest degree. The intentions of its people are most praiseworthy. They are, indeed, worthy of being the first to build the Tabernacle of the Most Great Peace and proclaim the oneness of mankind. (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 36)