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WAR AND POLITICS IN AMERICA.

Opposition to American participa- and appreciation of the fact that the tion in the war was, until a short time English–Irish question hardly exceeds ago, to be found among the Germans, in importance to the present world Russians, and Irishmen resident in the situation the Irish-American question. United States. German opposition was There are today in the United States made ineffective by the actions of the 1,400,000 people who were born in German Government, and such Ger- Ireland, a number nearly equal to man sympathizers as now see fit to one-third of the present population of continue their activities are regarded Ireland, and there are now in America as the common enemy. Such Russian many more people who were born in and Hebrew opposition to the Allies Ireland or whose parents or grandas there was in America has been

parents were born in Ireland than largely done away with by the fall there are now at home in Ireland. of the Russian autocracy. Of the three The Irish in America have become an antagonisms to the Allied cause there active, intelligent, enterprising, and still remains the so-called Irish in- thrifty race. Some of them have fluence, which is, in a sense, "within risen to the highest political, social, the camp."

industrial, or financial positions, and The number of Irish in America who nearly all of them or their forbears are actively, directly or indirectly, in left Ireland because of conditions or league with Germany through antagon- wrongs for which they held the ism to England is very small, but the English Government responsible. number who feel strongly upon Irish In the earlier days of Irish immigramatters is very large. That nearly tion into America these people did one-half of the members of the Ameri- the manual work of the country, more can House of Representatives should especially did they become knights of sign a memorial to the British Govern- the pick and shovel, bending their ment asking a settlement of the backs to the task of extending the "Irish question” is significant. That pioneer railways across the American many distinguished, influential, and continent. In recent years, however, disinterested Americans should express the Italians have taken their place, themselves openly and strongly along and Irish-American energies have similar lines is equally so. Many of sought and found more lucrative fields these appeals to the British Govern- of activity. The Irish are practical ment and many of these expressions politicians and natural orators. Some urging a settlement of the disturbed years ago the so-called “Irish vote" relations between the English and the was considered well worth cultivation Irish have been published in England, by all politicians who sought office. and English comment upon this so- Latterly it has not been so much to called "interference" has not been the fore because the electorate is now entirely friendly. American comment so numerous and so diversified as to upon what is alleged to be “a purely racial origin that no

one class of British internal affair" is resented in voters holds a balance of power, and some quarters with considerable the Irish vote is swamped in innubitterness.

merable other voting elements equally There can be only one excuse for this, powerful as to numbers. and that is a lack of understanding In intelligence and enterprise, how

course

as

ever, the Irish community leads the others, and any cause that arouses the sympathy and interest of the IrishAmericans cannot be ignored in politics or the conduct of the Govern ment. It is the desire of the American people that the whole weight of the nation be thrown into the scales in an attempted settlement of the war. The Irishman, genuinely pro-Ally or not, with his soul steeped in the "woes of Ireland” throughout his own generation and those preceding him, sees in the present need of England a chance to further the cause of his native land. He may be strongly pro-Ally, and most of them are, but he is not averse to using American intervention in the war a lever upon

the British Government.

For this reason certain Irish forces have been at work to hamper the American Government and to delay important action, asking, in return for complete acquiescence in a vigorous war program, that pressure be brought to bear towards the fulfilment of Irish ambitions. When, therefore, an American of other than Irish extraction expresses the hope that some solution of the Irish question may soon be found, it is not that he has any thought of impertinent interference in IrishEnglish affairs, but that he is seeking a solution of his own problems of government and casting about to remove all opposition to swift and effective action on the part of the United States in the cause against Germany.

The manner in which a settlement of the Irish question shall be brought about by the British Government is a matter of no

to America excepting in its possible reflex action upon the Irish-American situation, which while not acute is always troublesome, and at this particular time affects the Allies unfavorably in America. These remarks apply to the

vast majority of the American Irish. With the small but active revolutionary Irish influence that makes its headquarters in America the people of the United States have little patience and no sympathy. In the natural

of events the promoters thereof will be dealt with as alien enemies, for in effect they are outspoken allies of Germany as against the country now giving them shelter. It is not the influence of these men that inspires American hope for a settlement of the Irish-English controversy, for it is as well understood in America as in England that no settlement which could be brought about would be considered as satisfactory by the Irish extremists. If the British Government can hit upon some plan that will satisfy the majority of the Irish and be accepted by them as a reasonable solution of existing troubles, the extreme Irish revolutionaries would have no excuse for their activities and could and would be looked upon in America as enemies of the United States.

For the reason given American interest in the Irish question bears no likeness to an interference in the internal affairs of another nation. English resentment has even gone so far as to ask how America would like it if the English people made suggestions concerning what is called in England “the American negro problem." Allowing for the sake of argument that there

was such problem, the Allies would have a perfect right to express to the American Government that some attempt be made to solve the problem-if such a problem hindered in any way the carrying on of the war, or if there were several million negroes in England voting or otherwise agitating against or obstructing pro-American action. The two situations are not on all fours.

a

concern

For the information and comfort with the exception of a few Irish of those who fear trouble in America extremists, have been compelled to from the negroes let it be said that, modify their tone, and their fulminain the first place, there is no real tions are now confined to what America negro problem in the United States must stand for in the peace negotiations such as has existed in the imagination to come. The Irish question has not of Europe for a long time past, and, been made a real issue, but its disin the second place, that the negroes cussion has occupied much valuable of the United States are pro-American time and indirectly has served as a and as such are now doing service for drag on the wheels of progress towards the Allies on the farms and in the preparedness. This has been abetted workshops, and when the time comes by all those who are opposed to the they will be found in the army in just United States taking a really active proportion as they are comprised in part in the war and to the sending of the total population. Some of them an American army to France. are already fighting in France. A But the vivid appeal made by Marshal number of regiments in the regular Joffre and others of the Allied misarmy of the United States are com- sions for the appearance of the Stars posed solely of negroes, many have and Stripes upon French soil proved volunteered since America came into irresistible to

many who at first the war, and in the end enforced service doubted the wisdom of such an exwill apply to them the same as it will pedition before an army of at least a to the whites. The American negro

million men was brought together, has already proved himself to be a trained and equipped. good soldier, and if given the oppor- The attitude of the experts of the tunity will win new laurels in the American War Department can easily present

The present racial be understood, for upon their shoulders conditions in America owing to the falls the burden of preparation for a war are that, if called upon to name long war, and they are well aware of the greatest problems of government the enormous labor involved in trainyet to be solved by the American ing, equipping, and transporting even people, it is doubtful whether an four divisions from the United States intelligent citizen familiar with all to Europe and of keeping up the parts of his native land would find a necessary supplies of men, food, and place among them for the so-called material; for the American army "negro problem.”

abroad would have to be on its own Since the declaration of war against to avoid increasing the strain upon the Germany, international politics have resources of the Allies in Europe. All almost completely taken the place of of this work must be carried on while local issues in the minds of the Ameri- the American army at home is in the can people and in the proceedings of making. the Government, both legislative and There is an idea behind the proexecutive. Participation in the war posed expeditionary force, however, has, of course, eliminated the pro- that in the carrying out might be German from public life in that he worth a great deal to the nation. Its must now keep his opinions to himself, arrival in Europe would hearten the and if in public life he must at least Allies, depress the people of the make a show of patriotism. The Central Powers, and strengthen amazanti-Russians have also been deprived ingly the tie between America and her of their thunder. The anti-British, fighting partners. It would bring

war.

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EIGHTH SERIES

Vol. VII

No. 3810 July 14, 1917

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