Anne's letters from Puerto Rico provide a rare glimpse into her political and social opinions. She was opposed to capitalism and the war, but her own hard, working-class background left her skeptical about the possibilities for real change. Helen held similar political views. She was an avowed socialist and pacifist. However, her own life experience, growing up in a comfortable upper middle-class southern family, left her full of idealism and a keen desire to enter the political fray.
In this excerpt Anne discusses America's involvement in the war:
Yes, it is unthinkable that anything so infamous should happen in the age we have been living in and calling enlightened and civilized. You can understand now why Bill Haywood derided the idea that any country is civilized. I remember his saying that our high refinement was a thin veneer concealing liars, swindlers, and murderers. I thought at the time that he was talking rather wildly, but now the abominations of this War make his statements appear mild. How easily the European nations have chucked their Christianity, their international friendships, their philosophy and humanity, and assumed unashamed the spiritual garb of savages! Truly, "where are the great ones of the earth?" It seems to me, they are all active for evil.
Read full letter
Even as Anne pours scorn on Western nations, she encourages empathy and gentle understanding as a solution to man's problems. Anne could be both a firebrand and surprisingly conciliatory:
You know, dear, you are an impassioned reformer of temperament. We both fight for peace like soldiers on a battle-field. How often have I said that we both make too much of a battle-field of life! Maybe there would be more peace in the world if we cultivated the gentler virtues. It is up to us who think we are in the right to try to be patient and tolerant towards everybody. God Himself cannot make this a kindlier world without us.
Read full letter