I Believe in America is the first in my pile of books on American political philosophy. Written by Ray W. Sherman in 1940, it gives a perspective of the American public in the wake of the Great Depression and before entering WWII.
Sherman goes through the book as a court case. He is defending the idea of America against the detractors that said the glory of America had passed. In the time of the Depression many people feared the future, that the days would stay as dark as they were. Communism was finding greater support, with the population generally dissatisfied.
Sherman takes us through the history of the major depressions. He reminds us that many, many, depressions have occurred through history, and every time the country has bounced back, better than before. He tells us America is going to go farther than it did before the Depression, just like it has before. As the demand for new innovations and luxury items rise so will the economy, bringing greater prosperity than before.
The author reminds us that Communism won’t work, no matter what Huey Long says. The “Haves” have earned their wealth, and taking it away from them will bring about the ruin of a once great nation. Henry Ford is his preferred example. It’s observed that Ford’s money is not just in cash; it’s in bonds, stocks, his factories.
Men like Henry Ford took risks to make their fortunes. You may be able to replace men like him, to be in charge of the businesses, but not men who can start those businesses with blood, sweat and tears. If people are limited in how much they are allowed to earn, like say a million dollars, then what’s the incentive to continue working after reaching that million?
Continuing his thread on Communism, Sherman reminds us that Communism was tried before in America. When the Pilgrim’s first came to America it was tried, and failed. There was no situation where it would have worked better, cut off from the majority of the world, good people, limited wealth. As time went on some of the lazier Pilgrim’s realized they could get the same amount by skating on the work of the diligent. Yet, it still didn’t work.
I like how he ends the seventh chapter.
I believe in America….I believe our fathers and mothers want their children to step forth on a field where they can win if they’ve got it in them. I believe there are enough of them now to hold to a basis of Americanism, and common sense, and that as the years go by this number will grow, and that America will continue to be unshakeable, a light for all the rest of the world, a land where happiness is not a dream but a reality.
America is a country built on the hope of generations of people who went to find a country where they had the freedom to live as they like, within laws. That is the American Dream. It is the duty of the current generation to protect that dream and preserve it for future generations.