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DEMOCRACY THE CHIEF ELEMENT OF GOVERNMENT.

MADISON, WISCONSIN, SEPTEMBER 12, 1860.

It is a political law—and when I say political law, I mean a higher law, a law of Providence—that empire has, for the last three thousand years, so long as we have records of civilization, made its way constantly westward, and that it must continue to move on westward until the tides of the renewed and of the decaying civilizations of the world meet on the shores of the Pacific ocean. Within a year I have seemed to myself to follow the track of empire in its westward march for three thousand years. I stood but a year ago on the hill of Calvary. I stood soon afterward on the Pirceus of Athens. Again I found myself on the banks of the Tiber. Still advancing westward I rested under the shades of the palaces of the kings of England, and trod the streets of the now renovated capital of France. From those capitals I made my way at last to Washington, the city of established empire for the present generation of men, and of influence over the destinies of mankind.

Empire moves far more rapidly in modern than it did in ancient times. The empire established at Washington, is of less than a hundred years' formation. It was the empire of thirteen Atlantic American states. Still, practically, the mission of that empire is fulfilled. The power that directs it is ready to pass away from those thirteen states, and although held and exercised under the same constitution and national form of government, yet it is now in the very act of being transferred from the thirteen states east of the Alleghany mountains and on the coast of the Atlantic ocean, to the twenty states that lie west of the Alleghanies, and stretch away from their base to the base of the Rocky mountains. The political power of the republic, the empire, is already here in the plain that stretches between the great lakes on the east and the base of the Rocky mountains on the west; and you are heirs to it. When the next census shall reveal your power, you will be found to be the masters of the United States of America, and through them the dominating political power of the world. Our mission, if I may say that I belong to that eastern and falling empire instead of the rising western one—the mission of the thirteen states has been practically accomplished. And what is it? Just like the mission of every other power on earth. To reproduce, to produce a new and greater and better power than we have been ourselves, to introduce on the stage of human affairs twenty new states and to prepare the way for twenty more, before whose rising greatness and splendor, all our own achievements pale and fade away. We have done this with as much forethought perhaps as any people ever exercised, by saving the broad domain which you and these other forty states are to occupy, saving it for your possession, and so far as we had virtue enough, by surrounding it with barriers against the intrusion of ignorance, superstition and slavery

Because you are to rise to the ascendant and exercise a dominating influence, you are not, therefore, to cast off the ancient and honored thirteen that opened the way for you and marshaled you into this noble possession, nor are you to cast off the new states of the west. But you are to lay still broader foundations, and to erect still more noble columns to sustain the empire which our fathers established, and which it is the manifest will of our Heavenly Father shall reach from the shores of the lakes to the gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. It was a free government which they established, and it was a self-government—a government such as, on so large a scale, or indeed on any scale, has never before existed. I know that when you consider what a magnificent destiny you have before you, to lay your hand on the Atlantic coast, and to extend your power to the Pacific ocean and grasp the great commerce of the east, you will fully appreciate the responsibility. It is only to be done by maintaining the democratic system of government. There is no other name given under heaven by which, in this generation, nations can be saved from desolation and ruin, than democracy. This, to many conservative ears, would seem a strange proposition; and yet it is so simple that I lack the power almost of elucidating it. Look at England. She is ambitious, as she well may be, and ought to be, to retain that dominion, reaching into every part of the habitable globe, which she now exercises. She is likely to do it, too, and may do it, by reducing, every successive year, the power of her aristocracy, and introducing more and more, the popular element of democracy into the administration of her government.

In many respects the government of England, though more aristocratic, is still less monarchical than our own. The British empire exists to-day only by recognizing and gradually adopting the great truth that if the British empire is to stand, it is the British people who are to maintain that empire and enjoy and exercise it. France, the other great European power, which seems to stand firmer now than ever, and to be renewing her career of prosperity and gloryFrance, under the form of a despotism, has adopted the principle of universal suffrage, and the empire of France to-day is a democracy. The Austrian empire is falling. And why? Because democracy is rising in Germany to demand the liberation of the people of its various nations, and the exercise of universal suffrage. And Italy to-day all along the coast of the Mediterranean, is rising up to the dignity of renewed national life, by adopting the principle of universal suffrage and the limitation of power by the action of the whole people.

Now if in the Old World, where government and empire are entrenched and established so strong in hereditary aristocracy, no empire can stand except as it yields to the democratic principle; · look around over the United States of America, and say how long you can hold these states in a federal union or maintain one common authority or empire here, except on the principles of democracy? Therefore, it is that, I say, that you of the northwest are, above all things, first, last, and all the time, to recognize as the great element of the republic, the system and principles of democracy.

But, fellow citizens, it is easy to talk about democracy. I have heard some men prate of it by the hour, and admire it, and shout for it, and express their reverence for it; and yet I have seen that they never comprehend the simplest element of democracy? What is it? Is it the opposite of monarchy or of aristocracy? Aristocracy is maintained everywhere, in all lands, by one of two systems, or by both combined. An aristocracy is the government in which the privileged own the lands, and the many unprivileged work them, or in which the few privileged own the laborers and the laborers work for them. In either case the laborer works on compulsion, and under the constraint of force; and in either case he takes that which Vol. IV.

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may remain after the wants of the owners of land or labor are both satisfied. The laborer must rest content with the privilege of being protected in his personal rights; and the powers of the government are exercised by the owner, of labor and of land.

Here, then, you see I have brought you to the consideration of the great problem of society in this republic or empire. It is this: Is there any danger that in the United States the citizen will not be the owner of the land which he cultivates? If there is any part of the United States where the labor or the land is monopolized by capital, there is a place in which the democratic element has not yet had its introduction or been permitted to work its way effectually. So, on the other hand, as here, where you are, no man can monopolize the land which another man is obliged to cultivate, much less monopolize the labor by which the lands on your fields are cultivated, you are entirely and absolutely established and grounded on democratic principles. But, you all know, that has not always been the history of our whole country, and, at times, was not the condition of any part of it. Some two hundred years ago, when laborers were scarce, and the field to be cultivated was large, private citizens of the Atlantic states, driven, as they said, by the cupidity of the British government, introduced the labor of slaves into the American colonies, and then established the aristocracy of land and labor. The system pervaded nearly the whole Atlantic states. If it had not been interrupted it would have pervaded the continent of America; and instead of what you see, and of what you are a part, and of what you do,-instead of emigration from the eastern states into the prairies of the west, and instead of emigration from Europe all over the United States, you would have had in the northwest this day the Boston and New York merchant importing laborers instead of freemen into the seaports, and dispersing them over the entire valley of the Mississippi. That would have been the condition of civilization on this continent. It has been fortunate for you, and fortunate for us, that such a desecration of the magnificent scene, provided by nature for the improvement of human society and for the increase of human happiness, has been arrested so soon; and you will see how felicitous it is when for one moment you compare the condition of Wisconsin, and of Maine, and of Iowa, and of Ilinois, and of Indiana, and of all the free states of the Union, with the islands of the West Indies, colonized just at the same time that

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the Atlantic states were colonized, and with the condition of South America, a whole and entire new continent, abounding in the most luxuriant vegetation and with the greatest resources of mineral wealth, absolutely reduced to a condition of perpetual civil war, and ever-renewed ruinous desolation. The salvation of North America from all those disasters that have befallen the southern portion of the continent is the result of bold and firm procedure on the part of your ancestors and mine, less than a hundred years ago.

The government of the United States was established in an auspicious moment. The world had become aroused to the injustice as well as to the inexpediency of the system of slavery, and the people of the United States, rising up to the dignity of the decision that was before them, determined to prevent the further extension, and, as far and fast as possible, to secure the abolition of African slavery. It was under the influence of a high, righteous, noble, humane excitement like that, that even the state of Virginia, itself a slave state, like the state of New York, determined that, so far as her power and her will could command the future, slavery should cease forever; first, by abolishing the African slave trade, which would bring about, ultimately, the cessation of domestic slavery; and, in the second place, by declaring that her consent to the cession of territory northwest of the Ohio, of which you occupy so beautiful a part, was given with the express condition that it should never be the home of slavery or involuntary servitude.

But, I need not remind you that this, like most other efforts of human society to do good and to advance the welfare of mankind, had its painful and unfortunate reaction. Hardly twenty years had elapsed after the passage of these noble acts for the foundation of liberty on the North American continent, before there came over the nation a tide of demoralization, the results of which, coming on us with such fearful rapidity, surpass almost our power to describe or to sufficiently deplore.

What have we seen since that was done? We have seen the people of the United States—for it is of no use to cast responsibility on parties, or administrations, or statesinen-extend slavery all around the coast of the gulf of Mexico. We have seen them take Texas into the Union, and agree that she should come in as a slave state, and have the right to multiply herself into four more slave states. We have seen California and New Mexico conquered by the people

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