The new century must be the century of the "common man" of the common people, not an American century! This was the position of US Vice President Henry Wallace in 1942 in the American discussion on the post-war world order. No class or race should dominate and enslave others any more, no imperialist methods should be tolerated, neither politically nor militarily. The older nations are to help the younger ones in their development so that people everywhere can live in dignity. The people in the poor nations will learn to read and write and catch up with development. The "common people" everywhere must build their own economy and increase their capabilities. The march to freedom of the "common people" began with the American Declaration of Independence, the French Revolution, the German Revolution of 1848 and the Russian Revolution of 1917. On their march to freedom, more and more "common people" are learning common people to think together and stand together! He, and with him his power to implement the concept, was voted out of office in a coup-like fashion shortly before the end of the war. The cosmopolitan political current he represented could not prevail at that time. The influence of the business lobby and the forces of national egoism in the USA and the British colonial system was too strong. A world dominated by the US nation state and the forces dominating it was the result of the world war. The forces were too weak for the imposition of a world without fear and hardship for all (Roosevelt) or a world shaped for the interests of the common people. Wallace even saw the danger of a rising fascism in the USA at the end of the war. The march to a century for all announced by Wallace is not over. It is up to us to continue it. States have already had to agree to the goal in UN documents. The US politicians who have dominated the world since 1945 made the world believe that they stood for these values. In fact, they continued the imperial policy of the European states and only camouflaged it with human rights rhetoric. A broad international alliance of small people and strong politicians is needed for implementation. Let's build it.
Some have spoken of the “American Century.” I say that the century on which we are entering — The century which will come out of this war — can be and must be the century of the common man. Perhaps it will be America’s opportunity to suggest that Freedoms and duties by which the common man must live. Everywhere the common man must learn to build his own industries with his own hands is a practical fashion. Everywhere the common man must learn to increase his productivity so that he and his children can eventually pay to the world community all that they have received. No nation will have the God-given right to exploit other nations. Older nations will have the privilege to help younger nations get started on the path to industrialization, but there must be neither military nor economic imperialism. The methods of the nineteenth century will not work in the people’s century which is now about to begin. India, China, and Latin America have a tremendous stake in the people’s century. As their masses learn to read and write, and as they become productive mechanics, their standard of living will double and treble. Modern science, when devoted whole-heartedly to the general welfare, has in it potentialities of which we do not yet dream. The march of freedom of the past one hundred and fifty years has been a long-drawn-out people’s revolution. In this Great Revolution of the people, there were the American Revolution of 1775, The French Revolution of 1792, The Latin-American revolutions of the Bolivarian era, The German Revolution of 1848, and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Each spoke for the common man in terms of blood on the battlefield. Some went to excess. But the significant thing is that the people groped their way to the light. More of them learned to think and work together.
Century of the Common Man
Vice President Henry Wallace gave this speech in 1942, a time when Americans were debating wartime strategy and America’s role in the post-World War II order. Wallace’s speech, also known as “The Price of Free World Victory,” reiterated support for Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” and criticized Henry Luce’s concept of the “American Century.” Wallace declared that the United States had an obligation to contribute to the war and to the post-war settlement. He described a liberal world system in which freedom, fairness, and opportunity would promote global peace. – M.B. Masur, St. Anselm College