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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 2049
AUTHOR: Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924)
QUOTATION: It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts, for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free. To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.
ATTRIBUTION: President WOODROW WILSON, address to a joint session of Congress recommending that Germany’s course be declared war against the United States, April 2, 1917.—The Messages and Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. Albert Shaw, vol. 1, pp. 382–83 (1924).
SUBJECTS: World War I (1914–1918)