Carl Sandburg
I am the People, the Mob (1916)


I am the people -- the mob--the crowd--the mass.


Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?


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.


I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand


for much plowing. 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




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.