Henry A. Wallace, though little-known today, was a significant American progressive statesman, scientist, and vice-president of the United States. He was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s VP, and would have probably been elected president if there wasn’t so much establishment Democratic political junk, McCarthyism, Cold War mentality, and red-baiting gripping the country in the post-war era. A book was written about him, and it is like 2.5″ thick. It’s called American Dreamer, by John C. Culver and John Hyde. It is full of details about his early life, his love of and major success with agricultural improvements in the early 20th century, and his political beliefs. He really was a kind of dreamer – he would often put principles over politics, and try above all to look out for average Americans. He wasn’t a “beltway” guy and didn’t play games. Wallace was one of America’s full-throated progressivea. This blog presents some of the best Henry A. Wallace quotes about values in the book American Dreamer.
About Henry A. Wallace, Orville Freeman wrote: “History cannot ignore him and we shall not forget him. No single individual has contributed more to the abundance we enjoy today than Henry Wallace.” Hubert Humphrey extolled his virtue with the following statement: “Henry Wallace was a scientist and a statesman, a politician and a philosopher who was devoted and dedicated to peace—but above all, he was a good man.” Authors John C. Culver and John Hyde write in the book: “As Wallace saw it, the job at hand was not only to win the war but to win the peace. The outcome of the war had to be more than restoration of the status quo. He sought a postwar world in which New Deal liberalism thrived in America and would spread throughout the world. Most of all he wanted to end the deadly cycle of economic warfare followed by military combat followed by isolationism and more economic warfare ad more conflict.”
For the following quotes, I also indicate which “ValueSet” I think these Henry A. Wallace quotes are really “about.” One will see a lot of progressivism, justice, liberty, peace, honor, and ingenuity in Wallace’s words, for example.
Here is a key for which values the following Henry A. Wallace quotes represent:
KWE: Knowledge, Wisdom, & Education;
RTM: Respect, Tolerance & Modesty;
FMO: Fulfillment, Meaning, & Optimism;
CIV: Creativity, Ingenuity, & Vision;
DRW: Dedication, Responsibility, & Will;
HIM: Honor, Integrity & Morality;
LP: Liberty & Peace;
KMA: Kindness, Magnanimity & Altruism;
SC-SW: Self-confidence & Self-Worth;
DPI: Development, Progressivism & Integration;
PWRSA: Passion, Willingness to Risk & Self-Awareness;
SC: Strength & Courage;
TJ: Truth & Justice
Without further ado, Henry A. Wallace quotes about values in American Dreamer:
DRW At the bottom, this whole business is a struggle to maintain the ideals upon which this great American republic was founded, and for which, when the pinch comes, we are always ready to fight. Emperors fight for commercial supremacy, for extension of their domain, for their right to rule. Democracies fight for human liberty for the rights of man.
DPI Cooperation goes hand in hand with irrigation. This is not because the irrigation farmer is a superior type to start with, believing in community interest and social confidence. On the contrary, he is very independent, but lack of capital and a crying need for water meant co-operation or leave the country…. All this soon develops in even the most independent of men a consideration for the rights of others and a realization of the benefits to be obtained by working together.
RTM From the standpoint of true religion, it is singularly unfortunate that so many faiths, churches, and doctrines are confined by national boundaries and, therefore, take on national colorings. Any religion which recognizes above all the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man must of necessity have grave questionings concerning those national enterprises where the deepest spiritual fervor is evoked for purely nationalistic, race or class ends.
FMO I’ve observed that whenever matters get completely serious in the United States, it is possible for these groups, which in ordinary times are continually fighting, to pull together to get out of the quagmire.
CIV When cooperation becomes a living reality in the spiritual sense of the term, when we have defined certain broad objectives which we all want to attain, when we can feel the significance of the forces at work not merely in our own lives, not merely in our own class, not merely in our own nation, but in the world as a whole— then the vision of Isaiah and the insight of Christ will be on their way toward realization.
DPI Only the merest quarter-turn of the heart separates us from a material abundance beyond the fondest dream of anyone present…Selfishness has ceased to be the mainspring of progress…. There is something more…. There is a new social machinery in the making…. Let us maintain sweet and kindly hearts toward each other, however great the difficulties ahead.
DPI If we do not wish imperialism, or war, or communism, or fascism, or inflation, what is left? The question I would raise is whether a new unity can be built which is based on the principles of economic balance and an advancing culture. Is it possible to hope for an educated democracy, capable of making the necessary key economic decisions in a spirit which does not have its origins in hatred or greed or prejudice?
DPI There always is, in economic matters, an appropriate time for change…Owners of concentrated wealth and economic power usually refuse to admit this. The court has also frequently refused to admit it in time to effect the change smoothly and without grievous distress. When the court in such situations refuses to budge, the average citizen rises up to inquire, Whose Constitution is it, anyway?
DRW Of all the circumstances which have combined to make this nation different from the nations of the Old World, rich soil and plenty of it, free or nearly so to all comers, stands first. Freeholders in a wide land of fabulous fertility, guarded by great oceans from foreign invasion, could erect separate strongholds of individual enterprise, free speech and free conscience. In no spread-eagle sense, but in plain truth, liberty and equality have been a natural outgrowth of our great gift of soil. But the dynamic quality which characterizes civilized man does not leave such a gift unmodified. If nature was prodigal with us, we have been ten times more prodigal with her. During the past 150 years, we white men have destroyed more soil, timber, and wildlife than the Indians, left to themselves, would have destroyed in many thousands of years.
DRW Probably the most damaging indictment that can be made of the capitalistic system is the way in which its emphasis on unfettered individualism results in exploitation of natural resources in a manner to destroy the physical foundations of national longevity. Is there no way for the capitalistic system to develop a mechanism for taking thought and planning action in terms of the general welfare for the long run…?
DPI Complete preparedness is more than tanks and guns and aircraft. It is more than well-trained officers and adequate reserves. To repel the sneaking enemy that burrows from within, the all-important preparedness in moral preparedness and social preparedness. The best preparedness of all is every able-bodied person working whole-heartedly for our mutual security and defense in the belief that he or she is needed. You are needed. You are all needed to see that every child is properly fed and clothed, to see that every family has an opportunity to protect itself from hunger, cold, and lack of shelter.
DPI Science, of course, is not like wheat or cotton or automobiles. It cannot be overproduced. It does not come under the law of diminishing utility which makes each extra unit in the stock of a commodity of less use than the preceding unit. In fact, the latest knowledge is usually the best. Moreover, knowledge grows or dies. It cannot live in cold storage. It is perishable and must be constantly renewed. Static science would not be science long, but a mere junk heap of rotting fragments.
LP Men and women cannot be really free until they have plenty to eat, and time and ability to read and think and talk things over.
DPJ War is the great killer of liberalism.
HIM When in time of peace comes, the citizen will again have a duty, the supreme duty of sacrificing the lesser interest for the greater interest of the general welfare. Those who write the peace must think of the whole world. There can be no privileged peoples. We ourselves in the U.S. are no more a master race than the Nazis.
DPI Some in the United States believe that we have over-emphasized what we might call political or bill-of-rights democracy. Carried to its extreme form, it leads to rugged individualism, exploitation, impractical emphasis on states’ rights, and even to anarchy.
LP …We in the United States must remember this: If we are to expect guarantees against military or economic aggression from other nations, we must be willing to give guarantees that we will not be guilty of such aggression ourselves.
DPI As soon as the war is won, will shortsighted policymakers again shut us off from the rest of the world? Will our country fail to grasp this second opportunity to build a world of peace and cooperation? Will our leaders engage instead in a mad nationalistic race for supremacy on land and water and in the air?…Will our leaders foolishly and selfishly deny that hunger and want and suffering in the rest of the world are of any concern to us?
You are reading Henry A. Wallace quotes
KWE Only through religion and education can the freedom-loving individual realize that his greatest private pleasure comes from serving the highest unity, the general welfare of all. This truth, the essence of democracy, must capture the hearts of men over the entire world if human civilization is not to be torn to pieces in a series of wars and revolutions far more terrible than anything that has yet been endured. Democracy is the hope of civilization.
KWE Unless the Western democracies and Russia come to a satisfactory understanding before the war ends, I very much feat that World War III will be inevitable.
DPI Our choice is between democracy for everybody or for the few — between the spreading of social safeguards and economic opportunity to all the people—or the concentration of abundant resources in the hands of selfishness and greed.
DPI The “America first” slogan was an invitation to war, because under it envious, hungry peoples, the have-not nations with per capita resources less than one-fifth our own, will inevitably rise up to tear us down.
LP Cartels are the greatest menace to the American business principles of free private enterprise and equal opportunity.
DPI The New Deal is as old as the wants of man. The New Deal is Amos proclaiming the needs of the poor in the land of Israel. The New Deal is New England citizens dumping tea in Boston Harbor. The New Deal is Andrew Jackson marching in the twentieth century. The New Deal is Abraham Lincoln preaching freedom for the oppressed. The New Deal is the New Freedom of Woodrow Wilson fighting the cartels as they try to establish national and international fascism. The New Deal is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
DPI A Fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.
LP The American Fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact…They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed, is to capture political power, so that using the power of the State and the power of the market simultaneously they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
DPI The future belongs to those who go down the line unswervingly for the liberal principles of both political democracy and economic democracy regardless of race, color or religion. In a political, educational and economic sense there must be no inferior races. The poll tax must go. Equal educational opportunities must come. The future must bring equal wages for equal work regardless of sex or race.
LP More and more it begins to look like the psychology is favorable toward our getting into war with Russia. This must not be. It seems incredible that our people should drift toward this whirlpool which will inevitably end in world communism.
LP More than any other man he knew that those who write the peace must think of the whole world or else condemn their children to nationalism, regionalism, imperialism, confusion, and finally to World War III…If Roosevelt were with us here tonight he would rejoice in the victory in Europe, but he would be looking upon victory only as a prerequisite of enduring peace….He would not underestimate the strength of the enemies of peace. These enemies of peace are those who are deliberately trying to stir up trouble between the United States and Russia.
LP These facts rather make it appear either 1) that we are preparing ourselves to win the war which we regard as inevitable or 2) that we are trying to build up a predominance of force to intimidate the rest of mankind. How would it look to us if Russia had the atomic bomb and we did not, if Russia had 10,000-mile bombers and air bases within a thousand miles of our coastlines and we did not?
TJ We are by far the most powerful nation in the world, the only Allied nation which came out of the war without devastation and much stronger than before the war. Any talk on our part about the need for strengthening our defenses further is bound to appear hypocritical to other nations.
LP We have no use for namby-pamby pacifism. But we must realize that modern inventions have now made peace the most enticing thing in the world—and we should be willing to pay a just price for peace…
DPI Hatred breeds hatred. The doctrine of racial superiority produces a desire to get even on the part of its victims. If we are to work for peace in the rest of the world, we here in the United States must eliminate racism from our unions, our business organizations, our educational institutions, and our employment practices. Merit alone must be the measure of men.
HIM Black had served in the Senate with Truman. What was he like? Wallace asked. Truman always voted right, said Black, and he was honest. Then he went on and said the trouble with Truman was that he was a man with no background or understanding. He has no fundamental philosophy and very little knowledge of history. Because of his lack of background, Black thought it was a tragedy that Truman should be president.
LP Winning the peace is more important than high public office. It is more important than any consideration of party politics. The success or failure of our foreign policy will mean the difference between life and death for our children and our grandchildren. It will mean the difference between life and death of our civilization. It may mean the difference between the existence and the extinction of Man and of the world. It is therefore of supreme importance, and we should every one of us regard it as a hold duty to join the fight for winning the peace. I, for my part, firmly believe there is nothing more important that I can do than work in the cause of peace.
These are Henry A. Wallace quotes from the biography, American Dreamer.
DPI My job as editor of The New Republic is to help organize a progressive America. The American people have rejected, as they will always reject, a Democratic party that is not militantly progressive…Of course, we need organization. The primary effort of progressive may be to rebuild the Democratic party as a liberal party. But we are the captives of no party. If the Democratic Party is incapable of change, we shall strike out along other lines.
DRW We shall hold firmly to the American theme of peace, prosperity and freedom and shall repel all the attacks of the plutocrats and monopolists who will try to brand us as reds. If it is traitorous to believe in peace, we are traitors. If it is communistic to believe in prosperity for all, we are communists. If it is red-baiting to fight for free speech and real freedom of the press, we are red-baiters. If it is un-American to believe in freedom from monopolistic dictation, we are un-American. I say that we are more American than the neo-Fascists who attack us. I say on with the fight!
DPI The proper way to combat communism was by what William James called ‘the replacing power of the higher affection.’ In other words, we must give the common man all over the world something better than communism. I believe we have something better than communism here in America. But President Truman has not spoken for the American ideal.
DPI If the United Nations is untested, let us test it. If the United Nations lacks support, let us support it. If the United Nations is weak, let us strengthen it.
RTM Intolerance has an insatiable appetite. Whom will its inquisition condemn if this drive continues? Every American who reads the wrong books; every American who thinks the wrong thoughts; every American who means liberty when he says liberty; every American who stands up for civil rights; every American who speaks out for one world; every American who believed in Willkie; every American who supported Roosevelt.
DPI I shall be campaigning in 1948 with all my power, but I will be campaigning for the ideals of the free world and the men who best express these ideals. I hope, but I cannot guarantee that they will be on the Democratic ticket.
DPI A great national awakening has occurred in Asia and in other parts of the world which we used to think of only as colonies. This new nationalism will turn to communism and look to the Soviet Union as their only ally, if the United States declares that this is the American century of power politics rather than the Century of the Common Man.
LP I believe that this witch hunt is part of a larger drive to destroy the belief, which I share, that capitalism and Communism can resolve their conflicts without resort to war.
LP No one has yet explained what the Truman Doctrine is. As nearly as we poor citizens can make out, it is a doctrine of unlimited aid to anti-Soviet Programs….Where it will all end is left to us to guess—and the guess is not pleasant to contemplate. The Doctrine was born in fear. It breeds hated and hysteria. And hatred and hysteria are not going to help anyone in this troubled world. The Truman Doctrine may not lead to war. But it will never lead to peace.
DPI I say those who fear Communism lack faith in democracy.
DPI It will be important, if the Democratic party succumbs to Wall Street domination, to have a new party to let the people of the world know that those who believe in peace and understanding still have some means of expression….It would provide the evidence that the United States has not gone completely imperialistic and psychopathic.
DRW If the Angle-Saxon peoples decline in importance during the last half of the twentieth century, it will be because they have failed to apply Christianity and democracy in their dealing with all the peoples of the world. Isaiah, Christ, and Jefferson have not failed. Their principles of peace and justice between man and man are fundamental. We have failed because we have not applied their principles justly and fearlessly…As long as every Foreign Office in the world is dominated by the doctrine of Machiavelli instead of the doctrines of Christ, we shall have war and the perpetuation of many kinds of dictatorship and falsehood as each of the nations prepares for the war.
DPI When the old parties rot, the people have a right to be heard through a new party. They asserted that right when the Democratic party was founded under Jefferson in the struggle against the Federalist party of war and privilege of his day. They won it again when the Republican party was organized in Lincoln’s time. The people must again have an opportunity to speak out with their vote in 1948.
LP My own slant,…was conditioned by my biblical upbringing—even though I’m all alone I’ll go ahead with what I think is right That’s what determined me. When it comes to a supreme issue like [peace], what if the whole world would be against me?
LP Americans have far more to fear from those actions which are intended to suppress political freedom than from the teaching of ideas with which we are in disagreement.
KWE My grandfather knew better than to get directly into political life. He chose the course of educating by writing and speaking. As a result, he was universally beloved. If he had been in politics he would have been hated by many people. Again the background of his time he preached the same doctrine which I have preached, but he resolutely stayed out of politics because he thought politics would destroy his usefulness. He was a wise man.
DRW The highest joy of life is complete dedication to something outside of yourself.
TJ Truly ALS is a unique experience. There is no pain. Apparently, your eyes and brain are not affected. Therefore, you can calmly watch the rest of your body slowly disintegrate…. ALS give you a ringside seat at your own dissolution. It is a little like a disembodied spirit in purgatory.
I hope you enjoyed these Henry A. Wallace quotes. More Henry A. Wallace quotes can be found by looking in the Wisdom Archive, a free search engine comprised of over 26,000 quotations about values, quotes about ethics, wisdom quotes, and the like.