In 1912, Abdu’l-Baha, the son of the founder of the Baha’i Faith, traveled from coast to coast across America after a lifetime of imprisonment and persecution in the Middle East. On November, 5th 1912 on the eve of the U.S. presidential election, Abdu’l-Baha delivered the following talk at the Grand Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio.
As we are in Cincinnati, the home of President Taft, who has rendered such noble service in the cause of peace, I will dictate a statement for the people of Cincinnati and America generally. In the Orient I was informed that there are many lovers of peace in America. Therefore, I left my native land to associate here with those who are the standard-bearers of international conciliation and agreement. Having traveled from coast to coast, I find the United States of America vast and progressive, the government just and equitable, the nation noble and independent. I attended many meetings where international peace was discussed and am always extremely happy to witness the results of such meetings, for one of the great principles of Baha’u’llah’s teachings is the establishment of agreement among the peoples of the world. He founded and taught this principle in the Orient fifty years ago. He proclaimed international unity, summoned the religions of the world to harmony and reconciliation and established fellowship among many races, sects and communities. At that time He wrote Epistles to the kings and rulers of the world, calling upon them to arise and cooperate with Him in spreading these principles, saying that the stability and advancement of humanity could only be realized through the unity of the nations. Through His efforts this principle of universal harmony and agreement was practically demonstrated in Persia and other countries. Today in Persia, for instance, there are many people of various races and religions who have followed the exhortations of Baha’u’llah and are living together in love and fellowship without religious, patriotic or racial prejudices—Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and many others.
America has arisen to spread the teachings of peace, to increase the illumination of humankind and bestow happiness and prosperity upon the children of men. These are the principles and evidences of divine civilization. America is a noble nation, the standard-bearer of peace throughout the world, shedding light to all regions. Foreign nations are not untrammeled and free from intrigues and complications like the United States; therefore, they are not able to bring about universal harmony. But America—praise be to God!—is at peace with all the world and is worthy of raising the flag of brotherhood and international agreement. When this is done, the rest of the world will accept. All nations will join in adopting the teachings of Baha’u’llah revealed more than fifty years ago. In His Epistles He asked the parliaments of the world to send their wisest and best men to an international world conference which should decide all questions between the peoples and establish universal peace. This would be the highest court of appeal, and the parliament of man so long dreamed of by poets and idealists would be realized. Its accomplishment would be more far-reaching than the Hague tribunal.
Abdu’l-Baha (The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp 338-339)