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Be mindful of our neighbors. title image


Adlai Stevenson believed we have a responsibility to our neighbors — at home and abroad.

During his life career, Stevenson worked to reduce the gap between the "haves" (the rich) and "have nots" (the poor). As ambassador to the United Nations, he believed it was the responsibility of richer nations to help poorer ones. Wealthy countries like the U.S. had the responsibility to strengthen the UN in order to promote international peace and prosperity.

  from the ARCHIVE title image

The Organization of the United Nations

Excerpt: "Thanks to UNRRA [United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration] we have hurdled the first great barrier to a healthy, peaceful world — mass starvation. By international organization the lives of fifteen million people have been saved. Five and one-half million displaced persons have been repatriated. The work of reconstruction has commenced; hope has been rekindled.... I confess that the revival, with all its distressing shortcomings, has been far better than I foresaw from my own observations among just liberated people in Italy, Europe and England during the war."
(January 10, 1947)

Background: Adlai Stevenson played an influential role in the formation of the United Nations (UN). From the rubble of World War II, forward-thinking diplomats such as Stevenson worked together to form a new international organization. They believed the UN could facilitate cooperation in international law, economic development, human rights, and many other issues. They also hoped the UN could promote peace and understanding among nations and peoples, and thus prevent global bloodlettings like the Second World War.

Stevenson delivered this speech before a Springfield public library forum. He stressed the importance of remaining engaged in international affairs. The U.S. was the only world power that escaped widespread ruin during the war. The U.S. also stood opposite the emerging superpower, the Soviet Union. As such, Stevenson argued that U.S. had an economic and moral responsibility to make the UN an effective force for good in the world.

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