Carl Sandburg

I Am the People, the Mob

I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through 
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food 
     and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from 
     me and the Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more 
     Napoleons and Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plow-
     ing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is 
     sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to 
     me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for 
     history to remember. Then—I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the 
     lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last 
     year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in 
     all the world say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of 
     a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then.