William Edward Dodd to Jane Addams, January 29, 1919

University of Chicago
January 29, 1919.

My dear Miss [Addams]:

I return herewith the interesting letter from Mr. Howe. It is a pity that Wilson seems to be less strong than the public prints would lead us to believe. Yet I believe he will secure a peace that will far surpass, in wisdom and humane and even democratic arrangements, anything the world has ever before got at the end of a great war.

After sending you Colonel House's letter, I felt a little badly in that I had added somewhat to the burdens you must carry. My excuse was that it gave some encouragement. And then I enclosed my letter that had been the occasion of the one I received in order that you might see what had been the point of departure.

My point was that a people, under modern conditions, may not, in mere wisdom, be pressed too hardly, for the effect of relative poverty is to keep the birthrate high and at the same [time] to breed the very hatred and solidarity that must bring another war. I was reared in the South and what I saw there showed what economic repression and the sense of a great grievance can [page 2] do for the white people of this country. And I think the same has happened among the negroes, only they have not as yet developed racial pride and initiative to enable them to manifest it effectively. But that subject defies all solutions, I can think of, except that of human kindness.

Your activity in the cause of the League of Nations surpasses belief. If the cause triumphs, you will have just reason to rejoice and take unto yourself a great deal of the honor that must attach to victory. You do not begin to appreciate how much we all pride ourselves upon you and your work and wisdom. All I can wish is that you may keep your health and strength for still other causes that must soon triumph. We have seen much in our day. Really, the world has gone a long way ↑since↓ the Haymarket riots. There, you see I am an optimist.

Yours sincerely,

William E. Dodd [signed]