American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940

Item 13 of 28

[Dennis Potinos]


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August [20?], {1939?].

Dennis Potinos, (Greek)


[Rector's?] Cafe,

Cathedral Place,

St. Augustine, Florida.

Rose Shepherd, Writer.


"Yes, America is a grand country, the best country, and the richest country in the world today," continued Mr. Potinos. "Although the best thing of all is the form of American government, the freedom of the individual. As long as one understands the government and understands the people, there is nothing to worry about, and nothing stands in the way of your success and your progress in business, or otherwise.

"[When?] I speak of these things in relation to the Americans, it brings to mind the glory of ancient Greece, and the Greece of my younger days -- the free speech, assembly, expression of thought and political ideas, the splendid athletics and other features and ideals -- similar in American to my beloved homeland. I am very proud that I live in America, since it so nearly resembles in thought and ideals my ancient ancestry.

"I am looking for America, in the future, to set an example to the world -- to influence the people of the world -- to help the people of the world in down-trodden countries to acquire a different form of government, guaranteeing their freedom.


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"I think President Roosevelt has been inspired by the Divine Providence to initiate new conditions for the American people and for the world, also.

"He is one of the greatest humanitarians the world has ever known. To my individual opinion, he [hascertainly?] saved the country from panic and revolution. God has given the people of America/ {Begin inserted text} the wisdom {End inserted text} to grant him such power that he took advantage of it at the right time and saved the country from a great calamity.

"For myself, my business has been fine; I have made money since Franklin D. Roosevelt has been President of the United States, and if those following him will be half as good presidents as Roosevelt, the country will always prosper.

"American has a [great?] task to fulfill on earth. It is a new empire, with immense force -- power -- wealth -- opportunities for education -- and the people who live in such a country as this cannot be deterred -- cannot go backwards.

"I do not agree with so many people fussing and criticising the country's actions in regard to foreign policies. In my opinion, we have no business to mix in and interfere with the politics of other nations or other lands.

"America is trying to preserve the freedom of the western hemisphere for all time to come. The average citizen does not know or understand just what that means -- what the nation shall do for its children, and those of future generations -- to preserve for them political freedom, the right to work, and the right to live without entanglement of foreign powers.


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But the great men in Washington know what they should do! The policy of the United States government is that aggressive nations shall never acquire this country; especially, that South America shall never be able to invade this country. The world now has come so close together through inventions and the discoveries of science that life now is different to what it was a hundred years ago, or even fifty years ago; just so, the policies of nations will change. Just so, the United States, of whom some nations of the world are most envious on account of our prosperity and progress, never could be a party to turning the government over to a ruthless foreign power.

"In the war which is to come, I am sure America will have a big part to play, as an object to the other [nations?], for the uplifting and betterment of the world.

"The United States, at the beginning of injustice in any conflict, will clamp down on the dictators, and just as [soon?] as their policies collapse, they will hold out their hands to these poor countries and say: 'We help you, and supply you with food and money to carry onyour life of independence.'

"I am looking for that very thing in Italy, the same in Germany and other parts of Europe.

"The war in prospect is forced on the people by the dictators who are mad -- who came into power by promising their people impossible things.


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"The issues of the war will change. When the war is ended, in fact, before, the armies of the world will fight for other causes than those that originated the war.

"The United States [Army?] and the French Army will [be?] the standard [bearers?] for the high ideals of mankind. The English Navy and the United States Navy will fight for the freedom of the small nations. This is the era given by God to the English, the French, and the Americans to do their duty for mankind.

"When our small island was in trouble and the English flag was there, it was the flag of hope; more so, is the flag of the United States.

"I believe also this one thing -- In this world engagement of war, the Greek nation will come out with a much better [future?].

"Greece and her people have always loved freedom, and they want to live, like to live,in peace and have a place in the world of affairs."

(To be continued)

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