The Atlantic Archives: The Ads

by Conor Friedersdorf

Here's one that caught my eye, published in the November 1936 magazine:

The most powerful man in America!

Who is he?

You and I. Our friends. Our neighbors. In other words, Mr. Average Citizen!

The only trouble is, he frequently fails to realize his own strength. He allows himself to be bullied, led, and tricked, and when he realizes it, is inclined to say: "But what can I do about it?"

Take, for instance, this absurd business of war. He doesn't want war. He doesn't want to give up his job, leave his wife and youngsters, live like an animal in trenches and be shot at like an animal by Average Citizens of another country.

Yet he does all this. He fights wars created by Far-from-Average Citizens who do not give up their jobs, do not leave their wives and youngsters, do not get shot at. Peace is something to fight for: war is something to fight against. So, Mr. Average Citizen, wield that tremendous power of yours! Let jingoistic politicians, big-navy lobbies, war-fomenting papers, feel the might of your wrath.

Today with talk of another war heard everywhere, Americans must stand firm in their determination that the folly of 1914-1918 shall not occur again. World Peaceways, a non-profit organization for public enlightenment on international affairs, feels that intelligent efforts can and must be made toward a secure peace. To this end you can do your share to build up a strong public opinion against war. Write today to World Peaceways, 103 Park Avenue, New York City.