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3693 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

and sought to incite our people to civil

war."

Even those persons who for two years

had resolutely shut their eyes to realities

now, at last, realized that war was almost

inevitable. There were hasty, flurried

military and naval preparations that should

have been made long before. Although

the United States had been on the verge

of the war for almost two years, the country

was really little better prepared for war

than when the Lusitania was sunk. There

were not wanting men who pointed out

that if the United States had taken warning

in time and had prepared to make herself

respected, her rights would not have

been so ruthlessly invaded. History will

undoubtedly have much to say about the

heedlessness of men in high station-men

in both parties-to the signs of the times.

It was certain that if we took a large part

in the conflict, our failure to prepare

would add billions of dollars to our expenditures and cost tens of thousands of

precious lives.

Time showed that President Wilson's

"inveterate confidence" was indeed misplaced. Germany persisted in her piratical warfare, and several violations of

American rights soon occurred. For a

time, however, there was nothing so clear-cut in character that the President chose

to consider it an "overt act." But the

submarine peril proved so great that most

American ship owners refused to send their

vessels to European waters unless the Government woould furnish the ships protection. In consequence, American docks

became congested with freight, and there

seemed danger that, even though we

refused Germany's right to employ submarine warfare, she might nevertheless succeed in her purpose.

Because of this and other reasons,

President Wilson, on February 26, six

days before the end of the session, appeared

before Congress and announced that,

in view of the German course, he deemed

it wise for the United States to adopt

an attitude of "armed neutrality." He

said that he believed he already possessed

the power to authorize the arming of

merchantmen, but he expressed a wish

that Congress would specifically authorize