chapter
Charles Ives
Pages 18

The outstanding quality about Charles Ives, man and musician,was his original and independent thought on all matters thatconcerned him; he was not one to compromise his personal beliefs or his creative impulses to match the prevailing mores. As an independent thinker on social issues, he vigorously proposed a twentieth amendment to the Constitution of the United States in favor of more direct public participation in government. During the years before the entry of the United States into World War I, when the isolationists were in full cry, Ives was a determined and articulate supporter of a “People’s World Nation,” ultimately realized in the United Nations; in support of that principle, he was quite ready several years later to write to President Franklin Roosevelt, urging him to support legislation that would work toward that end. As a musician he marched to his own drummer, composing many pages of music to reflect his own experiences and imagination. None of these activities were driven exclusively by egocentricity; they represented instead expressions of personal conviction and an uncommon independence. His music is the most enduring manifestation of those qualities.