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Excerpt from Goldman's speech to the jury at her trial for conspiracy to obstruct the draft

Excerpt from Goldman's speech to the jury at her trial for conspiracy to obstruct the draft

Gentlemen of the jury, we respect your patriotism. We would not, if we could, have you change its meaning for yourself. But may there not be different kinds of patriotism as there are different kinds of liberty? I for one cannot believe that love of one's country must needs consist in blindness to its social faults, to deafness to its social discords, of inarticulation to its social wrongs. Neither can I believe that the mere accident of birth in a certain country or the mere scrap of a citizen's paper constitutes the love of country.

I know many people -- I am one of them -- who were not born here, nor have they applied for citizenship, and who yet love America with deeper passion and greater intensity than many natives whose patriotism manifests itself by pulling, kicking, and insulting those who do not rise when the national anthem is played. Our patriotism is that of the man who loves a woman with open eyes. He is enchanted by her beauty, yet he sees her faults. So we, too, who know America, love her beauty, her richness, her great possibilities; we love her mountains, her canyons, her forests, her Niagara, and her deserts -- above all do we love the people that have produced her wealth, her artists who have created beauty, her great apostles who

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Excerpt from Goldman's speech to the jury at her trial for conspiracy to obstruct the draft

dream and work for liberty -- but with the same passionate emotion we hate her superficiality, her cant, her corruption, her mad, unscrupulous worship at the altar of the Golden Calf.

We say that if America has entered the war to make the world safe for democracy, she must first make democracy safe in America. How else is the world to take America seriously, when democracy at home is daily being outraged, free speech suppressed, peaceable assemblies broken up by overbearing and brutal gangsters in uniform; when free press is curtailed and every independent opinion gagged. Verily, poor as we are in democracy, how can we give of it to the world? We further say that democracy conceived in the military servitude of the masses, in their economic enslavement, and nurtured in their tears and blood, is not democracy at all. It is despotism -- the cumulative result of a chain of abuses which, according to that dangerous document, the Declaration of Independence, the people have the right to overthrow.

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Date / time: 
July 9, 1917
Pages: 
63-64

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Excerpt from Goldman's speech to the jury at her trial for conspiracy to obstruct the draft." (Viewed on April 17, 2014) <http://jwa.org/media/excerpt-from-goldmans-speech-to-jury-at-her-trial-for-conspiracy-to-obstruct-draft>.