Robert A. Woods to Jane Addams, August 7, 1912


Aug. 7, 1912.

My dear Miss Addams: --

I am greatly rejoiced over the outcome at Chicago, and your splendid part in it.

I had a shudder when I read Mr. Roosevelt's first statement about the southern negro question. On further thought, however, I believe that he is right in a really large and statesmanlike sense.

Years ago you said to me that the Civil War might have been averted. At the time I thought this was almost an impiety on your part. I have since come to see that the main current of our national history could have been radically different. [page 2]

For a hundred years, we have had on hand a family quarrel as to the fair way of treating a stranger. The family has been split because the section only distantly involved has, on the whole rather cavalierly, insisted upon fair play by direct action. Fair play cannot come about in this way. The family must be reconciled and must proceed unitedly by slow but substantial and permanent steps towards justice to the stranger. The other section of the family is today ready for such action.

I believe that this is the only sound and constructively ethical policy with regard to the negro question; and I am satisfied that this method is necessary in order to protect all the other great human issues which are now coming into national [page 3] consciousness, from those baffling crosscurrents and undertows that have taken pretty much all the heart and soul out of our national politics during the past fifty years.

Yours sincerely,

Robt. A. Woods. [signed]

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