Alice Thacher Post to Anna Garlin Spencer, February 12, 1918


February 12, 1918.

My dear Mrs. Spencer:

So glad to get yours of the [9th]. I am going to send it to Mrs. Slayden with a carbon of this letter. You and she feel more alike about the matter than I do. But after all it is a difference as to our understanding of what Dr. Lynch was expected to do. And I suppose that you have seen in one of the clippings that the President of the Church Peace Union has denied the truth of young La Follette's interview as strongly as Mr. Creel did. Knowing that public men feel that they cannot discriminate in too subtle a way over statements that do not represent them correctly, I always expect them to deny in toto a statement that misrepresented as much as young La Follette's did as I understood the matter. Going out to disseminate peace propaganda is a very different matter from going out to explain the President's war aims and explain the international situation.

You say that Dr. Lynch "understood that Creel was so far endorsing the movement to draw particular attention to the international elements in President Wilson's great message." Well, that was just what I understood. But that is a very different thing from what young La Follette said they were to do. Again you say that "the sole object was to use the President's own words as texts to emphasize the [illegible] international aims, and the way of settling this war to prevent future wars." That again was just what I understood, but that was not peace propaganda, and certainly not anything to twit the Administration with, as young La Follette did.

Perhaps the whole thing comes down to whether Mr. Creel ought not to have made an elaborate explanation instead of making a denial. To me the denial was justified, especially as at the very time that this happened he was giving out to the press his report of the work of his bureau, including the report of the Division of Public Speaking, in which he tells the aims of the speaking campaigns, and the names of the organizations having representatives on their advisory committee. Among these are a War Council Committee as well as the Church Peace Union. I should not expect the former to advocate war any more than I would expect the latter to advocate peace, under these conditions. This was published in the Official Bulletin of February 4.

Let me add here that I am delighted with the great number of articles in the magazines and weeklies in the last three weeks which perceive that the decision of the war and the formation of the new democracies lies with the proletariat. The latest is the Independent of the 9th. But they are all running that way. The social revolution is not only here; the intellectuals know that it is here, and are saying so.

I am also delighted with the clearness with which Mr. Wilson is analyzing the peace terms for the world. His address to Congress yesterday is so prompt a comeback to the Central Powers that it must create a psychology of hurry toward peace, without any loss of clearness as to aims to be insisted upon. The world is surely thinking in terms of democracy as never before. And I think we are going to think harder and harder on those lines until the end of the War, which is not just at hand, of course, even if we have begun to think peace. And when it comes I believe it will be a better peace than we have hoped for.

I think I will send a copy of this letter to Miss Addams also, as she is interested in these matters too.

Always affectionately yours,