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Thanksgiving Tribute: The Abiding Strength of American Democracy


“In the case of Vietnam there was a remedy.

“It came out of the good sense of the country as a whole. It is in this that we can justly take the satisfaction.

“When before has a great country stopped in the middle of a war, assessed the wisdom of its participation, decided it was wrong, asserted the judgment against all the chauvinistic tendencies aroused by armed conflict, dismissed from power those responsible, and brought its power to an end.

 “The answer is never, for unlike the French before us, we had a choice. The country corrected the error of its leaders in Vietnam. It was not a defeat but a triumph of good sense.

“Surely our critics abroad might take more note of this achievement. Does it not say anything for democracy?

“However, let us not make the presence of this remedial power a license for an more such mistakes.”


 John Kenneth Galbraith

at Memphis State University

July 11, 1975