When the Liberty Loan was first announced to the public our press with large optimism proclaimed that the issue would be oversubscribed many times in a very few weeks. Were we not the richest nation on the earth, with wealth estimated at two hundred billions? An absolutely inconceivable amount even to the most universal mind. The loan represented a bare one per cent of our amazing resources. The press declared our banks would be crowded with eager buyers.
The Treasury Department made no attempt to allay this highly colored credulity. In fact, it organized a nice little publicity campaign. Pictures were taken of the Secretary surrounded by very busy clerks and great piles of telegrams and letters. Interviews were freely granted to the press. The theory of publicity seemed to be that if everybody was jollied into believing that everybody was doing it, everybody would do it.
That foolish optimism has vanished. We see that the people are not subscribing in large amounts for the loan. It is still a capitalist's investment. For that reason, if the loan does not fail financially, it will fail morally, being not an expression of national confidence and unity, but simply a token of our abundant capital.
Germany has responded eagerly and repeatedly to her government's demands for money. Can we do less? The stability of our governmental system bears no comparison to the insecurity of Germany's unhistorical empire. If anything in life is sure, the financial responsibility of our government is sure.
The people, those who, while possessing small individual resources yet in the aggregate possess the bulk of our wealth, must enjoy their share of the loan. Not our bankers nor our brokers, but the people, are the nation. The people must be holders of their own bonds. It is a vote of confidence in their free democracy.
Men of the University have been called upon to give their services to their nation. They will give them to the very death. They are called on now to render the second and the lesser duty, in person and by influence to entrust their savings to the government for its uses, that our nation, in making war may lack gold no more than men. We can believe that the response will be generous, the result inspiring.