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approve laws, make ministers, cause ships to sail and armies to move; when he could speak with potential voice to other rulers of other lands, there suddenly came upon the government and the nation the symptoms of a fatal paralysis; honor seemed to dwindle and power to vanish. Was he then, after all, not to be President? Was patriotism dead? Was the Constitution waste paper? Was the Union gone?
The indications were, indeed, ominous. Seven States were in rebellion. There was treason in Congress, treason in the Supreme Court, treason in the army and navy. Confusion and discord rent public opinion. To use Lincoln's own forcible simile, sinners were calling the righteous to repentance. Finally, the flag, insulted on the Star of the West, trailed in capitulation at Sumter; and then came the humiliation of the Baltimore riot, and the President practically for a few days a prisoner in the capital of the nation.
But his apprenticeship had been served, and there was no more failure. With faith and justice and generosity he conducted for four long years a civil war whose frontiers stretched from the Potomac to the Rio Grande; whose soldiers numbered a million men on each side; in which, counting skirmishes and battles small and great, was fought an average of two engagements every day; and during which every twentyfour hours saw an expenditure of two millions of money. The labor, the thought, the responsibility, the strain of intellect and anguish of soul that he gave to this great task, who can measure?
The sincerity of the fathers of the Republic was impugned; he justified them. The Declaration of Independence was called a "string of glittering generalities" and a "self-evident lie"; he refuted the aspersion. The Constitution was perverted; he corrected the error. The flag was insulted; he redressed the offense. The
HIS PLACE IN HISTORY
government was assailed; he restored its authority. Slavery thrust the sword of civil war at the heart of the nation; he crushed slavery, and cemented the purified Union in new and stronger bonds.
And all the while conciliation was as active as vindication was stern. He reasoned and pleaded with the anger of the South; he gave insurrection time to repent; he forbore to execute retaliation; he offered recompense to slaveholders; he pardoned treason.
What but lifetime schooling in disappointment; what but the pioneer's self-reliance and freedom from prejudice; what but the patient faith, the clear perceptions of natural right, the unwarped sympathy and unbounding charity of this man with spirit so humble and soul so great, could have carried him through the labors he wrought to the victory he attained?
As the territory may be said to be its body, and its material activities its blood, so patriotism may be said to be the vital breath of a nation. When patriotism. dies, the nation dies, and its resources as well as its territory go to other peoples with stronger vitality.
Patriotism can in no way be more effectively cultivated than by studying and commemorating the achievements and virtues of our great men—the men who have lived and died for the nation, who have advanced its prosperity, increased its power, added to its glory. In our brief history the United States can boast of many great men, and the achievement by its sons of many great deeds; and if we accord the first rank to Washington as founder, so we must unhesitatingly give to Lincoln the second place as preserver and regenerator of American liberty. So far, however, from being opposed or subordinated either to the other, the popular heart has already canonized these two as twin heroes in our national pantheon, as twin stars in the firmament of our national fame.