Prophetical Concerns about the Constitution: Expressed by Alfred in Anti-Federalist No.16

Henry Dont Tread FlagProphetical Concerns about the Constitution: Expressed by Alfred in Anti-Federalist No.16

15 December 1787 by Alfred

To the real PATRIOTS of America: … America is now free. She now enjoys a greater
portion of political liberty than any other country under heaven. How long she may continue so depends entirely upon her own caution and wisdom. If she would look to
herself more, and to Europe less, I am persuaded it would tend to promote her felicity. She possesses all the advantages which characterize a rich country—rich within herself, she ought less to regard the politics, the manufactures, and the interests of distant nations. When I look to our situation—climate, extent, soil, and its productions, rivers, ports; when I find I can at this time purchase grain, bread, meat, and other necessaries of life at as reasonable a rate as in any country; when I see we are sending great quantities of tobacco, wheat and flour to England and other parts of the globe beyond the Atlantic; when I get on the other side of the western mountains, and see an extensive country, which for its multitude of rivers and fertility of soil is equal, if not superior, to any other whatever when I see these things, I cannot be brought to believe that America is in that deplorable ruined condition which some designing politicians represent; or that we are in a state of anarchy beyond redemption, unless we adopt, without any addition or amendment, the new constitution proposed by the late convention; a constitution which, in my humble opinion, contains the seeds and scions of slavery and despotism. When the volume of American constitutions [by John Adams] first made its appearance in Europe, we find some of the most eminent political writers of the present age, and the reviewers of literature, full of admiration and declaring they had never before seen so much good sense, freedom, and real wisdom in one publication. Our good friend Dr. [Richard] Price was charmed, and almost prophesied the near approach of the happy days of the millennium. We have lived under these constitutions; and, after the experience of a few years, some among us are ready to trample them under their feet, though they have been esteemed, even by our enemies, as “pearls of great price.”

The state of Rhode Island refused to send delegates to the 
Federal Convention, and the event has manifested that their 
refusal was a happy one as the new constitution, which the 
Convention has proposed to us, is an elective monarchy, 
which is proverbially the worst government....
The writer, therefore, thinks it the part of wisdom to 
abide, like the state of Rhode Island, by the old articles 
of confederation, which, if re-examined with attention, 
we shall find worthy of great regard; that we should give 
high praise to the manly and public spirited sixteen members, 
who lately seceded from our house of Assembly [in Pennsylvania]; 
and that we should all impress with great care, this truth on 
our minds—That it is very easy to change a free government 
into an arbitrary one, but that it is very difficult to convert 
tyranny into freedom.
 Author Unknown Anti-Federalist # 15; 7 December 1787

Let us not, ye lovers of freedom, be rash and hasty. Perhaps the real evils we labor under
do not arise from these systems. There may be other causes to which our misfortunes may
be properly attributed. Read the American constitutions, and you will find our essential
rights and privileges well guarded and secured. May not our manners be the source of our
national evils? May not our attachment to foreign trade increase them? Have we not acted
imprudently in exporting almost all our gold and silver for foreign luxuries? It is now
acknowledged that we have not a sufficient quantity of the precious metals to answer the
various purposes of government and commerce; and without a breach of charity, it may be
said, that this deficiency arises from the want of public virtue, in preferring private interest
to every other consideration. If the states had in any tolerable degree been able to answer the requisitions of Congress—if the continental treasury had been so far assisted, as to have enabled us to pay the interest of our foreign debt—possibly we should have heard little, very little about a new system of government. It is a just observation that in modern times money does everything. If a government can command this unum necessarium [Latin: one necessary] from a certain revenue, it may be considered as wealthy and respectable; if not, it will lose its dignity, become inefficient and contemptible. But cannot we regulate our finances and lay the foundations for a permanent and certain revenue, without undoing all that we have done, without making an entire new government? The most wise and philosophic characters have bestowed on our old systems the highest encomiums [accolades. tributes]. Are we sure this new political phenomenon will not fail? If it should fail, is there not a great probability, that our last state will be worse than the first? Orators may declaim on the badness of the times as long as they please, but I must tell them that the want of public virtue, and the want of money, are two of the principal sources of our grievances; and if we are under the pressure of these wants, it ought to teach us frugality—to adopt a frugal administration of public affairs….

Alfred thought the Articles of Confederation were more suitable for the states.

See also: 
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832)
Rules of Interpreting the Constitution by Justice Joseph Story
Dedication to the Character of George Washington Apostle of Liberty
Founders & forefathers pledged their Sacred Honor, what did they mean?
RISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY by Dr. Richard Salter Storrs July 4 1876
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)
SIGNS OF THE TIMES by Jedidiah Morse: Pastor of the Congregational Church
Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry and Henry’s Virginia Resolutions of 1765
AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE by Samuel Adams Delivered to Congress Aug 1, 1776
Who Is The Final Judge or Interpreter in Constitutional Controversies by Joseph Story
Preface To Resolutions of Virginia and Kentucky by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson
The British Constitution: Delivered Before The Georgia Bar Association 1885 by John W. Park
GOD GOVERNS IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN Speech by Benjamin Franklin During the Constitutional Convention
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
Thomas Paine: Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution

CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE of the PRINCIPAL EVENTS in America From 1776 to 1876


July 4.—Declaration of Independence signed and promulgated in Philadelphia by the representatives of thirteen States—viz., Massachusetts having 5; Connecticut, 4; New Hampshire, 3; Rhode Island, 2; New York, 4; New Jersey, 5; Pennsylvania, 9; Delaware, 3; Maryland, 4; Virginia, 7; North Carolina, 3; South Carolina, 4; and Georgia, 3 representatives. Total number of signers, 56.

The country contained 815,615 square miles.

August 22.—British troops landed on Long Island.

August 27. —Battle of Long Island.

August 28.—Washington, with his army, retreated from Long Island.

September 15.—General Washington evacuated New York.

September 15.—The British took possession of New York city.

October 28.—Battle of White Plains, N. Y.

November 16.—Fort Washington, on Manhattan Island, surrendered to the British.

November 18.—Fort Lee, on the Hudson River, evacuated by the Americans.



December 5.—An additional $5,000,000 of Continental paper money, or ”shinplasters,” as they were called, was issued, making a total of $20,000,000.

WashingtonDelawareDecember 8. —Washington crossed the Delaware River.

December 25.—Washington recrossed the Delaware.

December 26.—General Washington surprised the British army at Trenton, N. J.


January 2.—Battle of Princeton, N. J.

John Morton, of Pennsylvania, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged fifty three.

April 25.— Marquis Gilbert Mottier Lafayette arrived at Charleston, S. C, from France.

May 27.—Button Gwinnet, of Georgia, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, having been mortally wounded in a duel, died, aged forty-five.

June 14.—Adoption of the American flag by Congress.

July 5.—The British General Burgoyne invested Ticonderoga.

August 6. —Battle of Oriskany, N. Y.

August 16. —Battle of Bennington.

September 11.—Battle of Stillwater, N. Y.

September 11.— Battle of Brandywine.

September 27.—Philadelphia occupied by the British.

October 4.—Battle of Germantown, Pa.

October 7. -Battle of Saratoga, N. Y.

October 15. —Kingston, N. Y., burned by the British.

October 17. —General Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga.

December 15.—The American army retired into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pa.


During this year the American army encountered great distress, owing to the absence of all the necessaries that contribute to comfort.

January 9. -Battle of Sunbury, Ga.

February 6.—France acknowledged American independence and a treaty was ratified.

June 18.—British army evacuated Philadelphia.

June 28.—Battle of Monmouth, N. J.

July 3. —Wyoming massacre.

July 8. —Articles of confederation adopted unanimously.

July 11.—The French Admiral d’Estaing arrived at Newport, Va.

August 29.—Battle of Rhode Island.

September 14.—Benjamin Franklin appointed first Minister to France.

November 12.—Massacre at Cherry Valley, N. Y.

December 29.—Savannah, Ga., captured by the British.


May.—The British burned Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Gosport in Virginia.

June 1.—Battle of Verplanck’s Point.

July.—The British destroyed New Haven, Fairfield, Norwalk, and Greenwich, in Connecticut.

July 15.—General Wayne captured Stony Point.

August 13.—Battle of Penobscot, Me.

August 29.—Battle of Chemung.

October 3.—The Americans attempted to retake Savannah, but were unsuccessful.

October 11.—Joseph Pulaski died, having been wounded in the attack on Savannah.

October 26.—British withdrew from Rhode Island.


John Hart, of New Jersey, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died.

May 11.—Charleston, S. C, surrendered to the British.

June 23.—Battle of Springfield, N J.

August 16. —Battle of Camden.

August 19.—Baron de Kalb, an American brigadier-general in the war of the Revolution, died of wounds received at the battle of Camden, aged 48.

September 4.—Benedict Arnold’s treason discovered.

September 28.—Major Andre was captured by three militiamen named John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Van Wart.

October 2.—Major John Andre, an adjutant-general in the British army, was hanged as a spy at Tappan, on the Hudson River, N. Y.

October 7.—Battle of King’s Mountain, S. C.


January 1.—The militia of New Jersey and Pennsylvania revolt.

January 17.—Battle of Cowpens, S. C.

February 22.— George Taylor, of Pennsylvania, one of the signers of the Declaration, died, aged 65.

New London burned; Fort Griswold, on the opposite side of Thames River, taken, and a number of people massacred by British soldiers under command of the traitor, Benedict Arnold. New London was Arnold’s native county.

Lyman Hall, of Georgia, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 60

June 5.—Augusta, Ga., capitulated to the Americans.

August 28. —General Cornwallis, commander of the British army, entered Yorktown, Va

September 8. -Battle at Eutaw Springs, S C.

October 6.—The American forces Invest Yorktown.

October 19.—Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, with his whole army, at Yorktown.


February 5.—American independence acknowledged by Sweden.

February 25.— American independence acknowledged by Denmark.

March 24. -American independence acknowledged by Spain.

April 5.—The United States vessel Hyder Ally, carrying only sixteen guns, captured by the British ship General Monk, with twenty-nine guns.

April 19.—American independence acknowledged by Holland.

May 3. —George Washington Indignantly refused to be made king.

May 13.—Society of Cincinnati formed by officers of the American army.

July.—American independence acknowledged by Russia.

October 8. -Treaty formed with Holland.


January 20.—Preliminary articles of peace signed by British and American Commissioners, at Versailles, France.

March 15.—The American army disbanded at Newburg, N.Y.

September 3.—John Jay, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin negotiated a final treaty of peace with England, at Paris.

November 25.—New York city evacuated by the British.

December 4. —General Washington separated from the army.

December 23. —George Washington resigned his commission as Major General of the United States into the hands of Congress, at Annapolis, Md.

During the war the English employed to aid them in the subjection of the country over 12,000 Indians, whose mode of warfare was to take scalps, not prisoners, and to massacre women and children. As an evidence of this fact Captain Gerrish, of the New England militia, captured on the frontier of Canada eight packages of scalps, properly cured and dried, which were to be sent to England as a present from the Seneca Indians to George III. The packages contained 43 scalps of soldiers, 297 of farmers, 88 of women, 190 of boys, 211 of girls, 22 of infants, and 122 assorted, making a total of 973 scalps.


June 2.—John Adams, the first Ambassador from the United States to the Court of St. James, had an audience with the King of Great Britain.


June 19.—Nathaniel Greene, a major-general in the army of the Revolution, died, aged 44.


January 1.—The first cotton mill in the United States was built at Beverly, Mass.

May 25.— The convention to form the constitution of the United States met at Philadelphia.

September 17.—The constitution of the United States was adopted unanimously, and presented to the States for ratification.

December 7.—Delaware was the first State that accepted the constitution.

December 12.—Pennsylvania accepted the constitution.

December 18.—New Jersey accepted the constitution.


January 2.—Georgia accepted the constitution.

January 9.—Connecticut accepted the constitution.

February 6.—Massachusetts accepted the constitution.

April’28.—Maryland accepted the constitution.

May 23.—South Carolina accepted the constitution.

June 21.—New Hampshire accepted the constitution.

June 26.—Virginia accepted the constitution.

July 26.—New York accepted the constitution.


April6.—Meeting of the first United States Congress, under the constitution, at New York.

April 30.—George Washington, of Virginia, was inaugurated the first President of the United States.

November 21.—North Carolina accepted the constitution.


First census of the United States—population, 3,929,827.

April 17.—Benjamin Franklin, of Pennsylvania, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 84.

May 29.—Rhode Island was the last State to accept the constitution.

May 29.—Israel Putnam, a general in the Revolutionary army, died, aged 72.


First woollen mill built in the United States.

March 4.—Vermont admitted into the Union.

June 13.—Francis Hopkinson, of New Jersey, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 53.


John Paul Jones, bom in Scotland, a commander in the United States Navy during the war of the Revolution, died, aged 45 years.

April 2.—United States Mint established at Philadelphia.

June 1.—Kentucky admitted into the Union.

August and September.—Whiskey insurrection in Pennsylvania.


January 31.—Lehigh, Pa., coal mines discovered.

April 22.—President Washington’s proclamation of neutrality between France and England.

September 18.—The corner-stone of the Capitol at Washington was laid.

October 8.—John Hancock, of Massachusetts, President of the Convention that adopted the Declaration, died, aged 55.


Cotton gin patented by Eli Whitney.

June.— Abraham Clark, of New York, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 68.

August 20.—General Wayne defeated a large body of Indians near the rapids of the Miami of the lakes.


January 1.—Alexander Hamilton resigned the office of Secretary of the Treasury.

May 18.—Josiah Bartlett, of New Hampshire, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 66.

October 27.—Treaty with Spain signed.


June 1.—Tennessee admitted into the Union.

September 17.—President Washington issued his farewell address.


March 4.—John Adams, of Massachusetts, was inaugurated the second President of the United States.

June 6.—Patrick Henry died.

December 1.—Oliver Wolcott, of Connecticut, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 72.


War apprehended with France, and General Washington resumed command of the army.

June 12.—Philip Livingston, of New York, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 62.

August 28.—James Wilson, of Pennsylvania, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 56.


December.—Anthony (known as Mad Anthony) Wayne, a major-general in the army of the Revolution, died, aged 51.

December 14.—General George Washington (the Father of his Country), ex-President of the United States, died at Mount Vernon, aged 67.


Second census of the United States; population, 5,305,940. August. The government of the United States was established at Washington, D. C.

September 30.—Treaty with the French Directory.


Mirch.—Congress declared war against Tripoli. March 4. Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia, was inaugurated third President of the United States.


March 16.—Military Academy founded at West Point, on the Hudson River.

April 30.—Ohio admitted into the Union.


April 30.—The Territory of Louisiana, containing 930,928 square miles, ceded by France to the United States.

October 2. —samuel Adams, of Massachusetts, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 81.


June 3.—Philip Schuyler, a major-general in the Revolutionary army, died, aged 73.

July 11.—Alexander Hamilton, the companion of Washington, at the age of 47 years, was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr.


Peace re-established between the United States and Tripoli.


Impressment of American seamen begun by Great Britain.

April 6.— Horatio Gates, a general in the army of the Revolution, died in New York city.

May 3.—Robert Morris, of Pennsylvania, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 73.

October 25.—Henry Knox, a major-general in the Revolutionary army, and Secretary of War under President Washington, died, aged 56.


February.—Aaron Burr arrested for treason.

February 10.—President Jeflerson, in a message to Congress, recommends the construction of gunboats.

August 3.—Aaron Burr tried for treason and acquitted.

August 18.—Robert Fulton took his first steamboat from New York to Albany.

November 2d.—It having been ascertained that four British seamen were harbored on board the American frigate Chesapeake, and their surrender refused, the British man-of-war Leopard poured a broadside into the Chesapeake which killed twenty men.


January 1.—The importation of slaves into the United States prohibited.

December 22.—Congress laid an embargo on American vessels.


March 4. —James Madison, of Virginia, was inaugurated the fourth President of the United States.

March. —The embargo upon American vessels was raised, and Congress passed a non-intercourse act.


Third census of the United States. Population, 7,239,814.

May 9.—General Benjamin Lincoln died.


June 19.—Samuel Chase, of Maryland, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 70.

November 7.—Battle of Tippecanoe.


April.—Another embargo laid upon American vessels.

April 10.—Louisiana admitted into the Union.

April 20.—George Clinton, Vice President of the United States, died in Washington.


June 18.—War declared against Great Britain.

August 16.—General William Hull surrendered his army and the Territory of Michigan to the British.

August 19.—The United States frigate Constitution captured the British frigate Guerriere.

October 13.—Battle of Queenstown.

October 18.—The United States sloop of war Wasp captured the British sloop of war Frolic; but two hours afterward both vessels were taken by the British man-of-war Poictiers.

October 25. —The United States frigate United States captured the British frigate Macedonian.

December 22.—The British frigate Southampton captured the American brig Vixen, and both vessels were totally wrecked five days afterward.

December 29.—The United States frigate Constitution captured the British frigate Java.


January 17.—The British frigate Narcissus captured the United States schooner Viper.

February 5.—Chesapeake Bay blockaded.

February 22. — Ogdensburg, N. Y., taken by the British.

February 24.—The United States ship Homet captures the British brig Peacock.

April 27.—York, Upper Canada, taken by the Americans.

May 3.—Havre de Grace, Md., bumed by the British blockading squadron.

May 27.—Fort George and Fort Erie surrendered to the Americans.

May 29.—Sackett’s Harbor attacked by the British, who were repulsed.

June 1.—Naval battle off Boston Harbor between the United States frigate Chesapeake, under command of Captain James Lawrence, and the British frigate Shannon, in which the Chesapeake was captured. Captain Lawrence was mortally wounded. During the engagement, after being wounded, he raised himself from the deck of the vessel and shouted, “Comrades, don’t give up the ship!”

June 6.—The town of Sodus, on Lake Ontario, bumed by the British.

July 4. —Fort Schlosser taken by the British.

July 11.—The British destroyed the barracks and block-houses at Black Rock.

August 2.—The British defeated in their attack on Fort Stevenson.

August 2.—Congress levied a direct tax upon the States for $3,000,000.

August 10.—The United States schooners Julia and Growler were captured by the British on Lake Ontario.

August 10.—The British attacked St. Michael’s, Md., and were defeated.

August 14.—The British sloop of war Pelican captured the United States brig Argus.

August 14. -The British took possession of Queenstown, Md.

September 5.—The United States brig Enterprise captured the British brig Boxer

September 10.—Battle of Lake Erie. Captain Perry, who commanded the victorious American squadron, in announcing the result of the action, said, “We have met the enemy—and they are ours.

September 23. —The United States frigate President captured the British schooner Highflyer.

September 28. —Detroit evacuated by the British.

October 2. —Part of the British squadron on Lake Ontario captured.

October 5.—The Americans defeated the British at Moravian Town, Upper Canada.

October 5.—Battle of the Thames, in Canada, in which the Indian chief Tecumseh was killed.

October 11.—Battle of Williamsburg.

November 9.—General Jackson defeated the Creek Indians at Talladega.

December 2.—The public stores at Cumberland Head, on Lake Champlain, were burned by the British.

December 10. —The New York militia abandoned Fort George.

December 17.—A general embargo laid by act of Congress.

December 29. —The British and Indians surprised Fort Niagara, killed 250 Americans, composing the garrison, and massacred a number of women and children in the neighborhood.

December 29. —The British burned the villages of Lewiston, Youngstown, Manchester, and Tuscarora m New York.

December 30. —The British bumed Black Rock and Buffalo.


February 25.—Peace Commissioners Clay and Russell sail from New York for Gotteuburg, in the United States frigate John Adams.

March 28. —General William Hull, who surrendered his army to the British at Detroit, on the 16th of August, 1812, was found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to be shot.

April 21. —The United States sloop of war Frolic was captured by the British frigate Orpheus and schooner Shelbourne.

April 25.—The President remits the sentence of death upon General Hull.

April 25.—The blockade of the whole American coast was proclaimed by the British Admiral Cochrane.

April 29.—The United States sloop-of-war Peacock captured the British sloop-of-war L’Epervier.

May 6. —Fort Oswego was captured by the British.

June 28.—The United States sloop-of-war Wasp captured the British sloop-of war Reindeer.

July 3.—Fort Erie surrendered.

July 5-—Battle of Chippewa.

Jiily 24. —Battle of Lundy Lane, Canada.

July 25.— Battle of Niagara, or Bridgewater.

July 30.—Lord Gambler, Henry Goulbourn, and William Adams were appointed by the British government Commissioners to treat upon propositions of peace with the United States.

August 24. —The Capitol building at Washington was bumed by the British.

September 1.—The British sloop-of-war Avon was sunk by the United States sloop-of war Wasp.

September 11.—Battle on Lake Champlain.

September 11.—Battle of Plattsburg, N. Y.

September 12.—Battle of Baltimore, Md.

November 7.—The British were driven from Pensacola, Fla.

December 24.—Treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain concluded at Ghent, in East Flanden.. The treaty was signed on the part of the Americans by John Quincy Adams, Albert Gallatin, James A. Bayard, Henry Clay, and Jonathan Russell.

December 27.—The treaty of peace was ratified by Great Britain.


January 8.—Battle of New Orleans.

January 9. —Congress imposed another direct tax upon the States for $6,000,000.

January 15.—The United States frigate President was captured by the British ship Majestic, razee Endymion, and frigates Tenedos and Pomona.

January 20.—President Madison vetoed the United States Bank bill.

January 26.—The American privateer Chasseur captured the British schooner St. Lawrence.

February 11.—The British sloop-of-war Favourite, Captain Maude commanding, arrived at New York with the ratified treaty of peace.

February 17.—The treaty of Ghent was ratified by the United States government.

February 20—The British sloops-of-war Cyane and Levant were captured by the United States frigate Constitution.

M.irch 13.—War declared against Algiers for depredations committed on American commerce.

April 6.—Massacre of Dartmoor prison.


March 5.—Congress imposed a third direct tax upon the States for $3,000,000.

April.—The United States Bank chartered by Congress for twenty years, with a capital of $35,000,000.

April 19.—Indiana admitted into the Union.


January 1.—United States Bank founded.

March 4.—James Monroe, of Virginia, was maugurated the fifth President of the United States.

October 16.—Thaddeus Kosciusko died, aged 71 years.

December 10.—Mississippi admitted into the Union.


During the year the Seminole War was commenced in Florida, internal revenue duties abolished, revolutionary pensions granted.

December 3.—Illinois admitted into the Union.


February 23.—Florida ceded to the United States by Spain.

March 2.—Alabama admitted into the Union.


Fourth census of the United States. Population, 9,638,190. National debt, $89,987,427.

March 6.—Missouri admitted into the Union, with the proviso that slavery should be inhibited north of 30 deg. 30 mm. north latitude. This was termed the Missouri Compromise.

March 15.—Maine admitted into the Union.

March 22.—Stephen Decatur, an American naval officer, was killed in a duel with Commodore Barron.


August 4.—William Floyd, of New York, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died, aged 87.


May 4,– President Monroe vetoed the Cumberland Road bill.


April 15 – General Lafayette arrived at New York from France, in response to an invitation from the people of the United States.

December, — The House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams President.


The Erie Canal in the State of New York, was completed.

March 4, — John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts, was inaugurated the sixth President of the United States.

June 17.—The anniversary of the battle, the corner-stone of the Bunker Hill Monument was laid.

September 7. —General Lafayette embarked for France in the United States frigate Brandywine.


July 4.—John Adams, aged 91, of Massachusetts, and Thomas Jefferson, aged 83, of Virginia, both died on the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of their native country.

September 13.—William Morgan, who had published a pamphlet divulging the secrets of Masonry, was abducted from Canandaigua, N. Y., and was never afterward satisfactorily heard of. It was thought that he was drowned in Lake Ontario. This circumstance created a great excitement for a number of years afterward, and not only put a check upon the progress of Masonry, but was the means of creating a pretty powerful anti-Masonic political party.


Heavy forces were sent against the Winnebago Indians, who had become troublesome They were overawed and gave up a number of murderers in their tribe.

November 14.—Thomas Addis Emmet died, aged 63.


February I1.—De Witt Clinton, who projected the Erie Canal, and was four times chosen Governor of the State of New York, died, aged 59.


January 19.—Colonel Richard Taylor, a soldier of the war of the Revolution, and father of President Zachary Taylor, died, aged 85.

March 4.—Andrew Jackson, of Tennessee, was inaugurated the seventh President of the United States.

May 27.—John Jay, of New York, Chief-Justice of the United States Supreme Court, died, aged 84.


Fifth census of the United States. Population, 12,866,020.

January 6. —Daniel Webster made his great speech in the United States Senate in answer to Mr. Hayne, of South Carolina.

May 27. —President Jackson vetoes the Maysville Road bill.

October 5.—The President issues a proclamation declaring the ports of the United States open to British vessels from the West Indies.


April 19.—Dissolution of President Jackson’s Cabinet and a new Cabinet formed.

July 4.—James Monroe, ex-President of the United States, died on the sixtieth anniversary of American Independence, aged 72.


January 1.—The national debt of the United States had become reduced to $24,332,234.

July 10.—President Jackson vetoes the bill rechartering the United States Bank.

The Indian chief Black Hawk was captured.

November. —Nullification convention held in South Carolina.

December 11.— President Jackson issued his proclamation in relation to nullification in South Carolina.


January 16.—President Jackson sent a message to Congress deprecating the action of the State of South Carolina in declaring a determination to nullify certain laws of the United States.

December 26.—The United States Senate passed a resolution declaring that the Executive had assumed authority and power not conferred by the constitution and laws, but in derogation of both.


February 18.—William Wirt, the anti-Masonic candidate for President in 1824, died in Washington.

April 15.—President Jackson sent a message to the Senate protesting against the resolutions condemning his official acts.


December 16.—Large fire in New York.

December 23. —Major Dade and his command, consisting of 117 men, were all but one cruelly massacred by the Seminole Indians in Florida.


January 15.—President Jackson transmitted to Congress his French indemnification message.

March. —Texas declared its independence and separation from Mexico.

March 3.—The United States Bank ceased to exist, President Jackson having vetoed the bill for its recharter.

April 21.— Battle of San Jacinto, in Texas.

June 15.—Arkansas admitted into the Union.

June 28.—James Madison, ex-President of the United States, died, aged 85.


January 26 —Michigan admitted into the Union. March 4.—Martin Van Buren, of New York, was inaugurated eighth President of the United States.


April 17. —Destructive fire in Charleston, S. C


Sixth census of the United States. Population, 17,068,666.


March 4. —William Henry Harrison, of Ohio, was inaugurated ninth President of the United States.

April 4.— President Harrison, having been in office just one month, died in the White House in Washington, aged 68.

April 5.—John Tyler, Vice President, of Virginia, became the tenth President of the United States, in consequence of the death of William Henry Harrison.


The Croton Aqueduct, which conveys water from Croton River, in Westchester County, to the city of New York, a distance of forty miles, was completed.

April 1 —The Ashburton treaty was signed. This settled the vexed Northwestern boundary question.


The first telegraph messages were sent between Washington and Baltimore.

March 1. —Explosion of the large gun on board the man-of-war steamer Princeton, at Alexandria, Va.


March 3.—Iowa admitted into the Union.

March 4. —James Knox Polk, of Tennessee, was inaugurated eleventh President of the United Slates

June 4. —War declared by the United States against Mexico.

June 8.—Andrew Jackson, ex-President of the United States, died at the Hermitage, Tennessee, aged 78.

July 19.—Great fire in New York.

December 29 — Texas admitted into the Union.


May 8. — Battle of Palo Alto, in Mexico

May 9. — Battle of Resaca de la Palma, m Mexico.

July 12.—Second battle of Palo Alto.

August 6. —Wisconsin admitted into the Union.

September 21. —Capture of Monterey, Mexico.


Ten thousand Mormons from Illinois, under the leadership of Brigham Young, entered Desert, now called Utah, and founded Salt Lake City.

March 9. -Landing of the United States troops at Vera Cruz.

March 29 —Surrender of Vera Cruz, Mexico.

April 18. – Battle of Cerro Gordo, Mexico

August 19. – Battle of San Antonio, Mexico.

August 20 — Battle of Cherubusco, Mexico.

September 8 —Battle of Molino del Key, Mexico.

September 13. —Battle of Chapultepec, Mexico.

September 14 —Attack on the City of Mexico, which was taken by the United States soldiers.


February.—Treaty of peace with Mexico, by which California and New Mexico, with 649,762 square miles, were added to the United Stales.

February 23.—John Quincy Adams, ex-President of the United Slates, died in Washington, aged 81.

July 4 —The corner-stone of the Washington Monument was laid in the national capital.

September 9.—Large fire in Albany, N. Y.


March 3.—Florida admitted into the Union.

March 4.—Zachary Taylor, of Louisiana, was inaugurated the twelfth President of the United States.

May 15.—Great fire in St. Louis.

June 15.—James Knox Polk, ex-President of the United States, died, aged 54.


Seventh census of the United States. Population, 23,191,074.

March 31.—John C. Calhoun died in Washington, aged 68.

July 9 —Zachary Taylor, President of the United States, died in the White House at Washington, aged 60 years.

July 10.—Millard Fillmore, of New York, Vice-President, became the thirteenth President of the United States in consequence of the death of Zachary Taylor.


May 3.—Great fire in San Francisco.

July 4.—The corner-stone of the Capitol extension at Washington was laid.

December 5.—Louis Kossuth, the Hungarian patriot, visited the United States.

December 21.—The Congressional Library in Washington was destroyed by fire.


June 29.—Henry Clay died in Washington, aged 75.


March 4. — Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire, was inaugurated the fourteenth President of the United States.


The Gadsden purchase from Mexico added 27,500 square miles to the area of the United States.

August 25. —Large fires in Damariscotta, Me , Troy, N. Y., and Milwaukee, Wis


March 4.—James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, was inaugurated the fifteenth President of the United States.

October 13.—Great commercial panic There were 5,123 failures of business houses.


May 4.—Minnesota was admitted into the Union,

August 6.—First Atlantic cable laid between Ireland and Newfoundland.


February 13. —Oregon admitted into the Union.

October 17.—John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry.

November 28.—Washington Irving died.


Eighth census of the United States. Population, 31,443,332.
National debt, $64,769,703.


January 29.—Kansas admitted into the Union.

March 4.—Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, was inaugurated the sixteenth President of the United States

April 12. —Attack on Fort Sumter.

April 19. —Massachusetts Sixth regiment mobbed in Baltimore.

April 20. —Harper’s Ferry burned. The war of the rebellion was now fully opened.

July 21.—First regular battle of the rebellion, at Bull Run, Va.

July. —General George B. McClellan commenced to organize and discipline the Grand Army of the Potomac.


January 17.—John Tyler, ex-President of the United States, died, aged 72.

February 6. —Surrender of Fort Henry, Tenn.

February 16.—Fort Donelson, Tenn., surrendered.

April 9. —Battle of Shiloh.

June 6. —Memphis surrendered.

June 26.—Commencement of the seven days’ battles around Richmond.

July 1.—The Union Pacific Railroad bill signed by President Lincoln.

August 23. – The massacre at the city of Lawrence, Kan.

September 14. —Battles of South Mountain, Md.

September 15.—Harper’s Ferry, with 11,000 men, surrendered to the rebels.

September 16 —Battle of Antietam, Md.

September 22.—President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation.

October 24. Battle above the clouds, on Lookout Mountain, Tenn.

November 7. —General George B. McClellan removed from the command of the Army of the Potomac

December 13.—Battle of Fredericksburg, Va.

December 27. Mania Van Huron, ex-President of the United States, died, aged 80.

December 31. West Virginia made a State.


May 3.—Battle of Chancellorsville.

May IT.—Assault on Port Hudson.

June 27.—John Morgan starts on his raid through Ohio.

July 1.—Battle of Gettysburg, Pa.—three days.

July 4. – Vicksburg surrendered.

July 13.—New York riots commenced.

September 19.—Battle of Chickamauga.


March 10.—The disastrous Red River expedition started under General Banks

April 12. Fort Pillow, Tenn., massacre.

May 5. —Battle of the Wilderness.

May 9. Battle of Spottsylvania.

June 3 Battle of Cold Harbor.

June 17. Commencement of the attack on Petersburg Va.

June 19. -The rebel man-of-war Alabama, commanded by Raphael Semmes, which was built in England and manned mostly by Englishmen, was sunk off Cherbourg, France, by the United States man-of-war Kearsarge, under command of Captain Winslow.

August 7.–The forts in Mobile bay attacked by the fleet under Admiral Farragut.

October 19. Battle of Cedar Creek, in the Shenandoah Valley, which General Sheridan changed from defeat to victory by his famous ride from Winchester.

November 16.—General Sherman’s army commenced its “march to the sea ” through Georgia.

December 15. —Battle of Nashville.


February 27. —General Sheridan left Winchester with 10,000 cavalry on his gallant raid around Richmond.

April 2. Richmond evacuated by the rebels.

April 9. – General Robert E. Lee surrendered the rebel army in the private dwelling of one of the inhabitants at Appomattox Court House, Va. This virtually ended the war of the rebellion.

April 14. – President Lincoln was assassinated by a man named John Wilkes Booth, who was a play-actor in Washington.

April 15.– Abraham Lincoln died of the wounds he received at the hands of the assassin of the previous night.

April 15.—Andrew Johnson, Vice-President, of Tennessee, became seventeenth President of the United States, in consequence of the death of Abraham Lincoln.

April 16 —Jefferson Davis captured.

April 26. -John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln, was shot.

July 7. —Four persons named Harold, Atzerott, Payne, and Mrs. Suratt, who were charged with aiding in the assassination of President Lincoln, were hanged in Washington.


July 1.—The national debt reached its maximum amount—$2,773,236. m


March 30. -Alaska purchased by the United States from Russia price, $7,000,000,


May 16.—Vote taken in the United States Senate on the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States. Every Senator was in his seat. The impeachment failed.

June 1. -James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, ex-President of the United States, died, aged 77.


The Pacific Railroad completed.

March 4.- Ulysses Sydney Grant, of Illinois, was inaugurated the eighteenth President of the United States.

October 8.- Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire, ex-President of the United States, died, aged 65.

December 24. — Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War during the rebellion, died in Washington.


Ninth census of the United States. Population, 38,555,983.


The gold product of the country amounted this year to $66,000,000.

October 9, — Great fire in Chicago.


November 1.—Great fire in. Boston.


September 7. The United States received a check from the government of Great Britain for $15,500,000 in gold, being the amount awarded by the mixed Congress at Geneva, Switzerland, on account of what are termed the “Alabama claims.”


March 8. Millard Fillmore, of New York, ex-President of the United States, died, aged 74.

December 13. King Kalakaua, of the Hawaiian Islands, the first monarch that ever visited this country, arrived in New York.


July 31. Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, ex-President of the United States, died, aged 67.

For the first time in the history of the nation there was not an ex-President living.

October 12. -Three hundred and eighty-third anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus and his followers on San Salvador.

November 2.—Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts, Vice-President of the United States, died in Washington.

Our Republic commenced in 1776, 237 years ago, with thirteen States and 815,615 square miles of territory, which was occupied by about 3,000,000 of civilized human beings.

In 1876 it had a population of 43,000,000, who occupied thirty-seven States and nine Territories, which embraced over 3,000,000 square miles. It had 65,000 miles of railroads, more than sufficient to reach twice and a half around the globe. The value of its agricultural productions was $2,500,000,000, and its gold mines were capable of producing $70,000,000 a year. It had over 1,000 cotton factories, 580 daily newspapers, 4,300 weeklies, and 625 monthly publications.

ELEMENTS OF OUR AMERICAN PROSPERITY by Professor Steven H. Carpenter 1876

Professor Stephen H Carpenter

Professor Stephen H Carpenter

ELEMENTS OF OUR [American] PROSPERITY An Oration By Steven H. Carpenter, LLD., Professor In The University Of Wisconsin. Delivered At Madison, Wisconsin, July 4th, 1876.

Fellow-citizens—We are met to day to celebrate the demonstration of a great truth; the truth that Liberty is not the baseless dream of visionary enthusiasts; that a government by the People may be stable and lasting. Tried by the vicissitudes of a century, this Republic has withstood every shock, and has passed from a dimly-seen hope to a magnificent reality. It has gathered under its protection men of every language, and proved that Freedom is the Right of man by uniting them into one People, by the firm bond of loyalty to the same great truth.

Youth has no Past. Its active energy sees only the Present. Age has a past, to which it fondly looks, when its waning strength seeks solace in recalling the prowess of its early years, and boasts of deeds no longer possible to its lessened vigor. We have no musty records to search, no far-reaching history to recall. Our heroic age has hardly passed. Our golden youth has not yet stiffened into the harshness of an iron present. The memory of those still living holds the fresh records of our progress. Men whose natural force has not yet abated have seen our weakness grow to power, have seen the wilderness transformed into a blooming garden, and stately cities rise as by the enchanter’s wand from the untamed soil. But shall not youth glory in his strength? Shall a just pride not lay hold of present achievement as well as past glory? Behind us are gathered the materials for our heroic history. Age is hastening after us, and to-day we turn the first century of our national existence.

There is a power in Antiquity—in the feeling that behind us is a long line of noble ancestors, a solid inheritance in the glories of the Past. It curbs the wayward strength of youth, and adds dignity to the compacted vigor of manhood. This advantage is rapidly coming to us. We have a common inheritance in the heroism of the Revolution.

On an occasion like this when we stand at the summit of a century of unbroken success, our minds alternately follow the lead of Memory casting her proud glance backward over the brilliant past, and Hope casting her confident gaze into a future full of greater promise. “We look backward over the slow receding years of the century just closed, and we see a little band of heroes, jealous of their God given rights, seeing not the weakness of their numbers, but only the strength of their cause, with a sublime confidence in the ultimate victory of right, resolutely facing the foremost power of the world. Looking out into the deepening darkness that shrouded the coming years of almost hopeless struggle, they boldly, almost defiantly proclaimed not merely their own right to liberty, but the right of man to self-government. They struck a blow for humanity.

That contest was not the mere shock of contending armies; it was the fiercer shock of contending ideas. It was not the maneuvering of legions on the field of battle; it was the marshaling of principles in a struggle that should determine whether the world should go forward, and offer a new field for the enlarging powers of man, or whether it should stagnate on the dead level of old ideas, stupidly satisfied with the good it had gained.

At last, after eight years of struggle, of alternate victory and defeat, Freedom was secured, but their allotted work was not yet done. A nation was to be formed out of the discordant elements which the pressure of necessity had forced into a temporary union. Statesmanship was to complete the work of generalship, and unite into a compact whole the fragments thus far held together by a loose cohesion. Our revolutionary fathers proved equal to the task, and by this victory over passion, by succeeding where all other men had failed, they placed the world under everlasting obligation. Other patriots had fought as bravely, had endured as heroically; but no other patriots so conquered self, so vanquished prejudice, so laid the foundations of a nation in mutual concession for the general good.

God is a prompt paymaster. The reward was not long deferred. The period of unexampled prosperity followed. All the world claimed the privilege of sharing the benefit of our sacrifices. They swarmed in upon us from every nation of Europe, attracted by a fertile soil, a healthy climate, and the more alluring promise of a free government. At the close of the Revolution the entire population of the United States numbered but three millions. They were mostly confined to the narrow strip between the Allegheny Mountains and the sea. Here and there adventurous bands had crossed, over into the fertile plains beyond, only to find their advance stubbornly contested by the Indians who refused to leave, without a struggle, the hunting-grounds of their fathers. The valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi were still an unbroken wilderness, except where French traders or Missionaries had established their posts to seek the goods or the good of the red man, or where sturdy pioneers had made their precarious settlements. The great Lakes were almost unexplored, and the districts adjoining were still more unknown. Marquette, Allouez and La Salle, had pushed their daring discoveries into this remote region, but theirs was the genius of discovery, not of settlement. The French could discover and subdue, but they could not organize.

It is but eighty years since this vast region, stretching from the Allegheny Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, was opened to settlement. Men now living have seen the western line of civilization creep timidly from the boundaries of New York and Pennsylvania, push steadily westward through the forests of Ohio, cross the fertile prairies of Indiana and Illinois, sweep with hardly a perceptible check beyond the Mississippi, strike boldly across the vast plains of the West, climb the heights of the mountains, descend the further slope of the Sierras, to meet a resistless barrier only on the distant shores of the Pacific Ocean. Men now living have seen this waste wilderness converted into a blooming garden, covered with fruitful harvests, and dotted with the peaceful homes of more than ten millions of people. The Indian has retreated before his fate; barbarism has yielded to civilization. The niggardly gifts of Nature have been replaced by the wealth that plenty pours with a full hand into the lap of industry. Labor here reigns king, unvexed by any rival. The air hums with the busy whirr of machinery. The engine flashes by, weaving, like a gigantic shuttle, the bonds that bind distant States in one community of interest.

Let us not stand mute in stupid admiration of our present greatness, but let us in the spirit of true philosophy seek to discover the basis upon which our prosperity rests, and the laws and controlling forces by which our success has been wrought out. A true civilization rests upon a moral basis. The civilization of the old world had made physical well-being its highest ideal, but it did not prove capable of indefinite expansion: it could not rise; it could not advance. Here civilization laid hold of moral forces, and pressed forward with a power well-nigh resistless. Physical good soon reaches its limit. Even that art that aims only at material beauty soon attains its highest ideal, and falls back upon itself to minister to passion and to hasten the ruin of the glittering culture which it has created, that conception of the true nature of man that considers him as a moral force, and not a mere intelligent machine, that looks at nature from its spiritual side, that fixes the ideal of civilization not on the low level of mere physical improvement, but on the higher plane of intellectual and moral culture, that aims at perfect manhood, and rates birth or wealth below character, affords the only ground for a safe and steady advance. This great truth was emphasized on every battle-field of our late war. The idea of freedom won. That conception of human society that graded men according to physical accidents yielded to the superior power of that idea which, ignoring all physical differences, upon the broad basis of human equality, organized society according to the theory of equal rights and equal and exact justice to all.

Three steps led to our present unexampled prosperity.

Declaration of Independence

The first was the Declaration of Independence which first distinctly enunciated to the world the doctrine of Equal Rights. It was a decided step in advance to ignore all accidental differences, and to unify all mankind on the single principle of absolute equality. The Declaration was a defiant challenge of the old theory of government; it called in question principles quietly acquiesced in for centuries. To assert the rights of the people was a great step, but it was a step that might lead downwards to anarchy, and through anarchy to despotism, as in France, as well as upward to Liberty and free government. The other half of the truth must be told in the equally definite assertion of the absolute and inherent need of government—thus accurately adjusting the political relations of the citizen. Man demands government no less imperatively than liberty; he demands government, because only through it can he secure liberty.

The presence of a common enemy, and the manifest need of union held the States together until the close of the revolutionary war. When the compulsion of this necessity was no longer felt, the need of a closer bond—one originating from within, and knit from well-defined principles, securing a union by the recognition of ends yet to be gained in common, beyond the mere acquisition of liberty—soon became evident. Liberty is only a condition of good government rendering it possible; it is not a cause compelling it. The yoke of foreign domination had been thrown off; the yoke of self-government must yet be put on. The need for something more than had yet been gained was shown by a loss of public respect for the general government, disordered finance, depreciated currency, with all the evils incident, mutual jealousies, conflict of jurisdiction between the States themselves; between States and the general government, threats of armed collision; the most alarming systems of anarchy threatened the public weal, until all that had been gained by eight years of war seemed on the point of being lost for want of a far-sighted statesmanship to resolutely grapple with and solve the problem now presented. There was but one way out of these difficulties—to go forward, to assert as clearly the right of the nation to protection against anarchy as the Declaration had asserted the right of man to protection against tyranny; to build upon the foundation that had been so heroically laid in times of war and trial; to sow the vacant field with ideas that promised a fruitful harvest, and no longer leave it to grow up to thorns that promised only increasing irritation. Happily for us, the men of that day were not wanting in the great crisis. Upon the firm basis of Equal Rights as laid down in the Declaration of Independence, they built the solid superstructure of Constitutional government. From scattered, discordant fragments, they compacted a new nation.

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather QuillThe second step towards the prosperity of this people was taken in the adoption of the Constitution in 1787. This was not simply an alliance between States. That had already been secured by the Articles of Confederation, the utter inadequacy of which could no longer be concealed. This was a union of the people—the birth of a nation—an assertion of the right of man to government, as the Declaration of Independence was an assertion of his right to liberty.

The greatest victories of those days that “tried men’s souls” were not won on the field of battle, where man meets man in the rude shock of brute force, but in the senate chamber, where mind meets mind in the conflict of principles, where inveterate prejudice gives way to the calm pressure of reason, where narrow selfishness yields to the demands of enlarged patriotism. The adoption of the Constitution was such a triumph. To have been the first to take this step in advance is glory enough for any nation. Speaking of the Constitution, Lord Brougham says: “The regulation of such a union upon pre-established principles, the formation of a system of government and legislation in which the different subjects shall not be individuals, but States, the application of legislative principles to such a body of States, and the devising means for keeping its integrity as a [Con]Federacy, while the rights and powers of the individual States are maintained entire, is the very greatest refinement in social policy to which any state of circumstances has ever given rise, or to which any age has ever given birth.” Says De Tocqueville: This theory was wholly novel, and may be considered as a great discovery in modern political science. It was not only because she had championed the Rights of Man that America placed the world under lasting obligation; it was also because she established Freedom upon rational principles, had harmonized Liberty and Law, and thus made a durable democracy possible, that the world looks to her example to learn the way to lasting liberty.

Ordinance_of_1787The last, and no less important step, was taken when the Ordinance of 1787 was adopted for the government of the North-west territory.. The adoption of this Ordinance antedates the adoption of the Constitution, but its influence in national affairs was subsequent to the immediate influence of that instrument. This document shows an enlarged and advanced view of the powers and duties of government. It enunciates several principles which were also incorporated into the Constitution of the United States. It laid down the broad and then quite novel principle of absolute religious toleration; it asserted the inviolability of contracts, thus placing the authority of integrity above that of legislatures; it first clearly uttered the sentiment now so familiar that “Religion, Morality and Knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged;” it insisted upon keeping good faith with all men, and demanded justice even for the Indians, who had for ten years been waging a cruel and bloody war against the settlers in this very territory; it at once and forever prohibited slavery, and thus led the way to its final eradication from this country.

We need trace our history no further. Here we find the grand secret of this unexampled prosperity and the conditions of our future success. In this triple recognition of the rights of man, the just limits of government, and the paramount claims of Religion, Morality and Education, we find an ample explanation. Upon the foundation of Equal Rights, as laid in the Declaration of Independence, a Constitutional government was erected upon the immovable pillars of Religion, Morality and Knowledge, based not on arbitrary enactment and secured by force, but resting still more firmly in the conscientious regard of the people. We have no religion defined by the State and enforced by law; we have what is better, Religion voluntarily practiced by the people. We do not have an education thrust upon the people by compulsion; we have what is better, a people who do not need the coarse stimulus of this coercion. In the recognition of these moral forces as determining the condition of mankind, we may find the reason why we have succeeded in securing at the same time liberty for the people and stability for the government. Until taught by our example, the world believed that liberty was but another name for license and lawless anarchy; that stability was the prerogative of despotism. But the tottering thrones and fleeing kings of the Old World have proved that the arm of Force is not strong enough to hold a kingdom stable, and that the government is most firmly seated that rests upon conceded rights, and guards the rights of the people with a sleepless jealousy.

The nations of the world are met in the City of Peace to offer us their heartfelt congratulations, bringing the accumulated treasures of art and industry to grace this glad occasion. Fit place for such a gathering, fit occasion for such a celebration! It is the Festival of Peace, as well as the birthday of Freedom. Industry bends its tireless energies to lighten the pressure of wearisome labor. Art, hand in hand with Toil, brings her treasures to grace our holiday. Even grim-visaged War puts on the garb of Peace, and with an awkward smile displays his death-dealing enginery in bloodless repose. The sword-girt, mail-clad warrior is no longer the world’s hero. The conqueror is no longer the ideal man. The hero of to-day is the Inventor who elevates mind by freeing muscle, who bends his blest endeavors to lift the yoke of labor from the bowed necks of the toiling millions.

The nations are all here, and this friendly gathering utters anew the greeting of Heaven, “Peace on Earth, goodwill to Men.” We do not celebrate this day alone. Others share in our joy. Every nation on the globe above the lowest level of barbarism gives us a hearty God-speed, for there is not a people that does not feel the beneficent impulse which our example has given the world. Liberty has a new meaning since man has proved that a king is not a necessary evil; that the majesty of right is above the majesty of man; that the sway of justice is more enduring than the rule of force. This grand truth, first proclaimed by the heroes of the elder days, first demonstrated by our convincing example, has been wrought into the convictions of men by the steady pressure of our advancing prosperity. Well may the world join us in celebrating this peaceful triumph, for all men have part in our glory and share our gain. Our Declaration of Independence gave a voice to the half-formed thoughts of humanity, and brought to man a-knowledge of his inalienable rights. Our Constitution has made true liberty possible not only for this nation, but for all mankind.

RevWarVetMarkerThe Dead too are here:—not dead, but living in the deeds which they wrought and in the affectionate remembrance of their fellowmen. Their immortal spirits see the fruits of their labors, and today they rejoice with us. From Concord, Lexington, Bunker Hill; from the stubborn contest with cold and hunger at Valley Forge; from Cowpens, King’s Mountain; from Saratoga and Yorktown; from every nameless battle-field of the Revolution; from the fresher graves of our last and sternest war, their jubilant spirits throng in upon us to-day, and join in the gladness of the grand chorus of praise that swells up before the throne of the God of Nations. The sea, too, gives up its dead. From every ocean grave, from the quiet depths of Erie and Champlain, those who sunk to their peaceful rest amidst the noise and tumult of battle rise to join us in the celebration of this day which their valor and devotion bequeathed to us. They are all here: I need not speak their names. Time would fail me to mention the surrounding cloud of exulting witnesses. The Golden Gates stand wide open to-day, and well may Heaven join Earth in celebrating a day like this. We do not exult over the blood-stained triumphs of War; we rejoice in the victories of Peace. We boast not of conquest; we glory in Freedom. We count not the struggle; we see the gain.

Then let us celebrate this day with glad rejoicing, for it is a day fit to be remembered through all time. Through a frail infancy, through a wayward youth, Freedom has passed forward to the full strength and the maturer powers of a vigorous manhood. The nation has attained its majority. Let all the World join in our rejoicing. Let all Nature, from the heights of Summer, crowned with her most gorgeous beauty, with every inarticulate symbol, voice the universal joy, as she joins man in his jubilant chorus of praise to the Giver of all good.

See also: 
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation
AMERICA OUR SUCCESS OUR FUTURE! by John P. Gulliver July 4th 1876 NYC
RISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY by Dr. Richard Salter Storrs July 4 1876
The Betrayal Of �We The American People’ Our Nation! Our Birthright!
Public Servants Who Fasten Themselves on the Public Treasury Like Leeches
OUR REPUBLIC! By Jeremiah Taylor at Providence, R. I., July 4th 1876
THE PERPETUITY OF THE REPUBLIC by Joseph Kidder July 4th 1876
OUR NOBLE HERITAGE by Hon. George W. Curtis (1824 –1892)
THE GENIUS OF AMERICA by Hon. Dr. Felix R. Brunot July 4, 1876
THE COST OF POPULAR LIBERTY by Brooks Adams July 4th 1876

AMERICA OUR SUCCESS OUR FUTURE! by John P. Gulliver July 4th 1876 NYC

AFBetsyross1776America! Our Success-Our Future! An Oration By Rev. John P. Gulliver, D.D., Delivered At Binghampton, New York, July 4, 1876.

We celebrate to-day one hundred years of Democratic Government. We flatter ourselves, not without some show of reason, that our experiment has been, on the whole, a successful one.

See also: 
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)
THE POWER OF HISTORY by Horatio Seymour (1810–1886)
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832)
OUR NOBLE HERITAGE by Hon. George W. Curtis (1824 –1892)

It is true that in other days “the name of commonwealth has past and gone,” over many “fractions of this groaning globe.” It is true that our Republic has only attained the slight venerableness of a single century. It is true that other democracies, far more ancient have at last “deigned to own a scepter and endure a purple robe.” Still we live, and we console ourselves with the thought that our one century has been equal in actual development to many centuries of Venice or Rome.

It is true we have had our enemies, foreign and domestic, and we may have them again. But in two wars, one of them of vast proportions, we have not only gained victory, but increased strength, while in the war of 1812, we certainly lost nothing. We have now convinced the world, what our best friends in Europe have seriously doubted, that a democracy is capable of being converted, in a day, into a military despotism, as effective for all warlike purposes, as the citizen-soldiery of Germany or the soldier-tenantry of Russia. A government, however loose it may seem to the eye of a monarchist, which out of a nation of civilians, can summon more than a million of men into the field at one time, which can create a navy at call, and in so doing, can revolutionize the whole system of maritime and defensive warfare, which can originate amidst the confusion of a struggle for national existence, such improvements in firearms as to make obsolete the arsenals of the civilized world, and, in four years can terminate in complete success, a struggle whose dimensions parallel the Napoleonic wars of Europe—a democracy capable of such a military metamorphosis, is at least not to be despised as an unwieldy and ungovernable mob.

It is true that our own body politic has not been at any time in a state of perfect health. As a democracy, it has had its diseases, some hereditary and chronic and some the result of temporary indiscretions and excesses. We began our republican organization with a large infusion of the ideas of class-aristocracy from the Northern Colonies, with all the institutions and social usages of a race aristocracy at the South, and with the crude, wild doctrines of French Red Republicanism strangely mingled with both. Our history during the century has been almost exclusively the record of the throes of the Republic under the antagonism of these morbid agents. The extraordinary force of vitality which our democracy has developed in eliminating these internal tendencies to disease and dissolution, is not the least among the occasions of our solemn exultation today. Our remedies have, some of them, been constitutional and gentle; others of them, heroic and painful. But they certainly have been efficacious. We have diseases still. But just at this moment they are of the prurient, disgusting sort, mortifying and annoying enough, but only skin deep.

PrecedentSurely a nation that found means to eradicate the slow consumption of social aristocracy, to quell the fiery fever of a brigand communism, and to cut out the cancer of slavery, will contrive some method of exterminating the insect parasites that are now burrowing over our whole civil service. If the heart of the Republic is sound, we need not greatly fear for its cuticle. Only, fellow-citizens, let us be prompt in our treatment, for the disease is contagious, and it is very irritating!

Besides the ills we have or have had, there maybe latent tendencies to disease and decay, that we know not of. But we will borrow no trouble to-day. We will hope that the same constitutional vigor, and the same skill of treatment which have served us so well in the past, will, by God’s blessing, prove sufficient for our future needs. Only let us draw largely upon the sources of national nourishment—let us keep in vigorous exercise all our organic functions; let us become a manly nation, instinct in every part with the highest attributes of national life; then we may defy the inroads of disease; then the whole body, fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, shall grow into a perfect state—a state which God shall honor and man shall fear. We rejoice in the health of the Nation on its hundredth birthday!

It is also true, to change our figure, that there has been not a little occasion for anxiety concerning the frame-work of our Ship of State. The model of a ship and the adjustment of its various parts to each other, the balance between its breadth of beam and its length of spars, tho ratio to be observed between steadiness and crankness, the precise point where the “clump” may blend into the “clipper,” is a great nautical problem. The blending of all our local sovereignties, from the school district and the town meeting, through the counties and the states, into one national sovereignty, while yet each retains its distinct and characteristic autonomy, I have often compared, in my own mind, to that admirable and exquisitely beautiful adjustment, which, before the prosaic age of steam, gave us the many-winged birds of the ocean—the swift eagles of commerce—skimming every sea, and nestling in every harbor. You have seen them, with their pyramid of sails, rising with geometrical exactness from main to royal, swelling in rounding lines from the foremost jib to the outmost point of the studding-sail boom, and retreating again, pear-shaped, to the stern, each holding to its full capacity the forceful breeze, all drawing in harmony, and yet each hanging by its own spar, and each under the instant control of the master on the deck. Behold, I have said, the Ship of a Republican State! What absolute independence of parts! What perfect harmony of all! What defined distinction of function! What complete unity of action! What an unrestricted individual freedom! What a steady contribution of all to the general result! and as the graceful hull, courteously bending in response to the multifarious impulse, has ploughed proudly through the waters, the exclamation has risen to my lips, “Liberty and Union; now and forever; one and inseparable!

But the actual existence of this exact balance between the National and local Governments, was not always as well established as it is to-day. At the very outset the Southern States, from the fear that the National Government would forbid a protective tariff, denied the supremacy of the National over the State Government, except during the consent of the latter.

In the later days of Calhoun, by one of the strangest transmutations ever known in politics, the same doctrine was maintained,by the same States.for the purpose of resisting a protective tariff. Throttled by the strong hand of Andrew Jackson, at that time, the monster drew back into his den, only to appear under the feeble administration of Buchanan as the champion of slavery. The doctrine that the National Government may be left at any moment, a floating hulk without canvas, rigging or rudder, the statesmanship which would launch a nation into the great ocean of human affairs, under the command of some two score of independent local governments, may now be laid away in our cabinets of moral monstrosities, as a fossil of the past. De Tocqueville, the philosopher of Democracy, prophesied forty years ago, in this wise: “It appears to me unquestionable, that if any portion of the Union seriously desired to separate itself from the other States, they would not be able, nor indeed would they attempt to prevent it, and that the present Union will last only as long as the States which compose it choose to remain members of the confederation.” That this sagacious and most friendly writer on American institutions has in this case proved to be a false prophet, is not the least among our many causes for congratulation to-day.

AmericanFlagAndCrossA century of rapid movement and of revolution; a century which has changed the political condition of nearly every nation on the face of the earth; a century during which we have twice met the whole power of the British Empire in arms, and once sustained the shock of assault from the combined power of slavery at home and in Europe; a century during which we have eliminated from the body politic the most insidious and dangerous diseases; a century during which we have determined questions concerning the relations and functions of our concentric cluster of independent democracies of the most radical and vital nature; a century during which our population has grown from three millions to fifty millions, our area of territory extended from one million to four millions of square miles, our manufactures advanced from twenty millions to forty-two hundred millions, our agriculture, mining and commerce increased in a ratio which sets all figures at defiance; a century which has raised us from insignificance, to a position as the fifth of the great empires of the world; a century which in educational and religions progress has more than kept pace with our material advancement, giving us a proportion of church members to the whole population four times greater than it was at the close of the Revolution, and a much larger increase in the ratio of liberally educated and well-educated persons; such a century we celebrate to-day. Who shall say that we do not well to rejoice. Who can fail to exclaim with devout and fervent gratification, What hath God wrought?

What Does The Future Promise? But we should make an unworthy use of this great occasion should we confine ourselves to a mere childish exultation over accomplished facts. A great future is extending out before us. What does this experiment prove, and how much does it promise? It is a time for study and thought. This centennial year, with its accomplished past just rolling out of view, with its present exciting and absorbing duty in the election of a chief magistrate, with an immediate future promising an unexampled reaction of prosperity, should be a year in which men should make great progress in the science of society and government.

We must not fail therefore to note and to admit freely, that our experiment has been in some respects an indecisive one. It does not prove that a Democratic form of government is necessarily and everywhere the best form. We are isolated from all the leading powers of the world by the intervention of great oceans. We entered upon an unoccupied continent. The rivalries of mankind, and their strifes have been adjusted upon other fields. While Russia, our comrade and contemporary in national growth, has been advancing upon the line of effete human civilizations, we have assailed only the forces of the wilderness. She has fought with men, we with nature. She has conquered by the sword; we by the plowshare. She has flourished by diplomacy; we by enterprise. She is a consolidated military despotism; we an extended Democratic Republic. Yet a philosophical statesmanship has often declared that we are approaching the same goal of empire and power. The comparison is full of interest and challenges our closest scrutiny. Russia, primarily the soldier, never out of uniform, her villages but military camps, her cities vast garrisons, her railroads and chausses only lines of army communication, is yet an inventing, manufacturing, agricultural and emphatically a commercial nation. America, primarily a land of peace and thrift, has been transformed in a day, into one vast battle field, and its rustic as well as its civic population have left the shop and furrow at night to appear in the morning assembled in armies of Titanic size, armed with the weapons of the Titans, while the thunder of their encounter has shaken the astonished world. Russia has exalted autocracy and punished democracy as a crime against God and man. America has proclaimed universal liberty and held the despot to be the enemy of the human race. Yet within the shell of imperial absolution, Russia holds to-day, as its inheritance from the depths of a Slavic antiquity, a communal organization which is almost a facsimile of a New England township; while America, beneath its outward freedom of thought, speech and act, covers a force of public opinion, both national and local, which few men have the courage to defy, and still fewer the strength to resist.

Under these curiously opposite conditions is the problem of the State being wrought out, for the Golden Age which is to come. From these diametrically opposite stand points, are the two most youthful nations of mankind advancing to the possession of the Earth.

freedomThe Democratic idea and the Democratic ideal. Such a comparison between two opposite civilizations serves to show us that democracy, as a form of government may or may not contain the elements of  freedom and the assurance of stability. In other words, the democratic idea, as men have conceived it and embodied it in governments, may or may not accord with the democratic ideal as it is enunciated in the royal law of Christ, and as it will one day be seen, embodied in the governments of men. Democracies may hide within themselves the seeds of despotism. Autocracies may nourish the germs of liberty. A democracy, which is administered in the interests of individuals, or of a party, or one in which the majority deprive the minority of freedom of speech and act, through the action of law or the terrorism of public opinion, is essentially despotic. There is despotism enough exercised within the Republic to-day, which if it had occurred in a monarchy would have cost a king his throne, and perhaps his life. On the other hand absolutionism may be so administered that the highest good of every subject shall be sought, and all his rights secured, according to the law. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and thy neighbor as thyself.

There is then a political democracy, and there is a moral democracy. The slow and reluctant translation of the abstract ideal into the actual idea, and its expression in governmental institutions, is of surpassing interest and importance.

The Question of the Day. It is this history which concerns us on this centennial anniversary. The inquiries which are being discussed to-day from ten thousand rostrums, and which are pressing upon the thoughts of millions of men are these and such as these.

What is democracy, as distinct alike from the mob and the despot? What is liberty, as limited by law, and contrasted with license?

What progress had been made up to the fourth of July, 1776, in translating this ideal democracy into the thoughts and institutions of men?

What did the assembly over which John Hancock presided, on that memorable morning, achieve for this great thought of the ages?

How has this imperial gem, inherited from our fathers—the Koh-i-noor of our political treasures—been cared for by us?

US flag and bible crossOur first answer to these questionings is a radical and sweeping answer.

We assert that this perfect ideal of liberty, this basal principle of a Democratic State, this Minerva embodying all temporal good for man, sprang full armed and perfect from Christianity.

In the image of God made He man, male and female created He them,” was the first announcement of this seed principle of political and social happiness. While the rights and needs of the sexes vary, as do those of all individual men and of all classes of men, the image of God gives a grandeur of dignity and consequence to every human being, be his descent, or rank, or abilities what they may. While the king inscribes upon the seal of his authority, “By the grace of God, a monarch over men,” while the magistrate, the parent, the master, the wife, the husband, and child, may each claim a special divine statute as the basis of his rights; the man, as a man, wears the very signet of Jehovah. Like the incarnate Son, he has “on his vesture and on his thigh ” a name written: A King among kings is he, a Lord among lords.

The inference is direct and clear. A man despised, is God blasphemed. A man enslaved, is the glory of God changed into a thing of wood, or stone, or into a beast, or creeping thing. A man wronged, is God insulted. To hold a man in ignorance, is the crime of not retaining God in the knowledge. “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, my brethren, ye did it not to me,” is the malediction, written by an invisible hand upon all the banners of war, and over the bloodred skies of every battle-field of history. This is the answer to the question, “Whence comes wars and fightings among yon?” The Nemesis of the nations has been no other than the loving Father of all, avenging his outraged children who have cried day and night unto him. “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily” is the interpretation given by the Son of God himself to the dispensations of war, and agonies, and, blood, which has been to wondering philanthropists only a mystery of iniquity, from the first murder to the last battle. To the ideal humanity, to the man stamped with the divine image, God declares, “The nation and the kingdom that will not serve Thee shall perish; yea it shall be utterly wasted;” and in that word is the whole philosophy of the civil state. The state that God perpetuates and blesses is not the state that merely worships God, but it is the state that also honors the image of God in man. Devotion without humanity may be found in every idol temple and Mohammedan mosque on earth. But devotion without humanity never exalted a nation or saved a single human being. The hell of perished nations, like the hell of lost souls, is crowded with the peoples who have cried “Lord, Lord,” who have even prophesied in his name, and reared their temples like the trees of the forest, and sent up their orisons like the sons of the forest birds; but because a man was ahungered and they gave him no land, because a man thirsted and they gave him no springs of water, because man was a stranger and they made him a slave, because a man was naked and they kept back his wages by fraud, because a man was sick and they left him, as the North American savage leaves his worn out father, to perish by the roadside, because a man was in prison and they visited him only to add scorn to his sorrow, for these things, and such as these, the sentence has gone out against the nations—among them, some of the grandest and greatest, ” Depart from me, ye cursed!”

A True Democracy. What then is a true Democracy? It is the Government which honors man as man. It is the Government which protects all his God-given rights—the right to do right, as God may teach him, the right to do good, as God may give him opportunity, the right to be good, as God may give him grace, and the right to be happy, as God may bestow the means of happiness.

It is a Government which avenges all his wrongs—the wrong oft attempted of forcing him into sin; the wrong of forbidding him to do good in the name of Christ; the wrong of leading him, in self-defence, into all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor; the wrong of robbing him of his Heavenly Father’s gifts and excluding him from the Heavenly Father’s home.

It is the Government which provides for the development of all his faculties, which educates him, not merely so that he may be a money maker, a wages earner, but to be as much of a man as God-like a man as he is able and willing to become.

It is the Government which recognizes and honors all his capacities for happiness in every feasible way, making this earth beautiful for him, filling his cup with innocent pleasures, uncontaminated by vileness and sin.

It is the Government which writes on all its banners, which engraves on its seal of State, which re-enacts in the legislative hall and administers in the court of justice, the great law of human weal. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself.

And “Liberty,” what is that? It is full encouragement, both by negative permission and positive aid, to do that which is God-like, and it is equally the utmost possible restraint upon whatever is degrading and evil. Any other liberty is the liberty given to a child to burn itself in the fire. It is the license which is the worst form of cruelty and slavery.

1God’s plan in history. This is the work of God in history. Toward such a democracy has all the discipline of the race been tending. De Tocqueville says, “The development of equality of conditions, is a providential fact, and it possesses all the characteristics of a Divine decree. My book (Democracy in America) he adds, has been written under the impression of a kind of religious dread, in contemplation of so irresistible a revolution. To attempt to check democracy would be to resist the will of God.

Steadily, though often slowly, has the race been led on to this grand consummation. This is the meeting of war, and conquest and revolution. The progress of democracy has in it the might of omnipotence. The gravitation of matter which directs rivers in their courses, is a feeble agent, compared with the gravitation of love, which directs all the streams of human society toward the great ocean of universal order and purity and joy.

The history of the gradual introduction of this conception of government into men’s minds and of its consolidation into actual institutions must be followed by the careful student in the quiet of private investigation.

Suffice it here to say that the first governments of which we have any knowledge, were constructed for protection and restraint. They took a defensive attitude against evil rather than a positive position in the promotion of good. This defensive and aggressive idea has followed government in the family and in the State, and very largely in the church down to our day. Its gradual elimination and the substitution of the Christian thought, that evil should be prevented rather than punished, that men need to be encouraged to be good, rather than be restrained from becoming bad, has proved to be one of the most difficult lessons which the race has had to learn.

Primitive Government. We know little of society before the flood. It was probably, however, a grand experiment of the power of mere law and authority in conflict with evil The chief impression which survived the deluge seems to have been that the wickedness of man was great on earth. The history of liberty through these decades of centuries which followed seems to be the record of a series of struggles to relax the unjust and cruel rigor with which this system of resistance to evil was pursued. In these struggles the subject was in a state of chronic rebellion against the sovereign, the plebeian against the patrician. Each dynasty and each class, as it gained power, used it for itself. Little by little humanity asserted its rights. The introduction of the Mosaic code was an immense advance which we now fail fully to appreciate. Its democratic features were in fact the chief study of the founders of this Republic in political science.

FlagsBibleThe American Republic. The institutions under which we are now living were slowly elaborated, in the devout study of the word of God, long before the separation from the mother country occurred. The Church of Christ, as founded by the Apostles, was strongly democratic, and the whole spirit of its administration tended powerfully to a revolution in civil government. Its doctrines all went to exalt the responsibility and dignity of the individual soul. Their religion gradually undermined, in the case of our fathers, their preconceived ideas of social order and civil government . When the new circumstances of their colonial condition compelled them to act on new lines. They found their convictions antagonism with their prejudices. It is said that the compact of the Mayflower seemed almost the result of an accident. The ideas of the colonists were strongly aristocratic and inclined them to put the whole power into the hands of a few. But the men of muscle saw that now they were of as much consequence as the men of brains and of culture and gentle birth. They firmly put in their claims and the leaders, considering the demand, saw that it was just. Set the spirit of the infant colonies was-strongly aristocratic. In manners this was seen much more plainly than in laws. The story of the punctilious etiquette which was observed in the court (as it was called) of Washington, the seating of the New England congregations according to social rank, and numerous quaint and almost ludicrous customs of the same sort show sufficiently the spirit of the age.

But all this was a matter chiefly of taste and decorum. Deep in their hearts these men loved their fellowmen. For humanity and for God, they were ready at any moment to lay down their lives. Their churches were the real morn of the State. These were formed upon the strictest model of the pattern given in the New Testament. They were local democracies of which the motto was “One is your master, and all ye are brethren.” Even churches formed upon the pattern of European usage, caught the same spirit, and became fountains of a real, if not of a nominal democracy.

It was this tendency to a sort of aristocracy, which was the conservative element in the formation of the government. This made us a constitutional Republic instead of a Greek or Polish Democracy. This was the Federalism of the early days, in which the Puritan of New England found himself in hearty sympathy with the Episcopalian of Virginia, and the Presbyterian of New York. This whole party was violently assaulted by the men, whose conception of democracy was that of a government in which every man should have equal authority, instead of one in which every man should be equally protected and cared for. The Republican party (as the ultra Democrats of that day termed themselves,) were bent simply on power for the masses. The Federalists were enlisted, with all their heart and soul, in the effort to secure order, justice, virtue and happiness for the masses.

Republican and Federalist. The contest was intense and bitter beyond any party strife of which we have any recent experience. The Republicans saw in the Federalists a reproduction of their oppressors in Europe. The Federalists saw in their opponents, the devils incarnate, who had just then closed the reign of terror in France. Both were wrong, so wrong that only this tremendous antagonism could have restrained either from making a wreck, of the new ship of state. The result was, that a substantial triumph was with the Federalists, who really created the Constitution, while the seeming victory was with the Republicans, who after the administrations of Washington and Adams gained undisputed possession of the Government. Thenceforward it became an offense akin to treason to question tho perfection of the Constitution, while it was little short of a personal insult for a politician to charge his opponent with having been a Federalist.

It was the fashion fifty years ago to speak of this Constitution as almost a miracle of human wisdom. Of late there seems to be a disposition to regard it a very common place affair. The estimate of fifty years ago is much more nearly correct. It was a miracle not only of human wisdom, but of Divine teaching. It was the fruit of centuries of the teaching and training of mankind. It was the product of no one mind or class of minds. It was the result of Providential circumstances quite as much as of human thought. It was the work of many centuries and of many men. It was the work of God as well as of men. It was the practical embodiment of the great law of love, in the civil state. It was by far the best translation the world had ever seen, or has seen as yet, the great ideal of democracy —the Utopia of Christianity—into actual institutions and practicable government.

The next great advance of democracy in this country is seen in the overthrow of the institution of slavery. If I pass by this whole history with a mere mention here, you will understand that it is because of the familiarity of the subject to the men of our day, and not because it was not a most extraordinary, a most instructive, a most important victory for the rights, both of master and slave, and for the weal and progress of mankind.

Now we stand on the mount of vision. The past extends back, reaching into the farthest depths of history, studded more and more thickly as we approach our modern era, with the monuments of victory for justice, law and freedom. It is a magnificent and an inspiring spectacle. It is well that we celebrate this anniversary of freedom, as John Adams predicted we should do, “with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires and illuminations.

patriotismThe Present Duty.
But we should be unworthy sons of heroic sires, if we did not look about us, in the surroundings of the present, and inquire if there is not something to be done, as well as something to be enjoyed.

Men and brethren, I do but follow the example of the men of a hundred years ago, when I bid you pause in the midst of your rejoicings to-day; when I ask you to consider whether an instant and a deadly peril be not concealed, like a worm in the rose, beneath the fair blossoming of this hour; when I ask you if it is not certain that, unless there be radical, sweeping, uncompromising reform in the administration of our Government, if it is not certain that we are celebrating the first and the last centennial of the American democracy. Such, fellow-citizens, is my profound conviction, and out of the abundance of my heart I speak to you to-day.

The time was, in the days of Washington and the elder Adams, and the same continued to be substantially true to the close of the administration of the younger Adams, that an officer of the Government, employed in its administration, who should actively engage in its construction, through the elections, would have been regarded as guilty of an impropriety—a misdemeanor, a dishonorable unworthy act, similar to that judge in our day who should appear as an advocate or a client in a court over which he presides. Even at so late a date as the impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson, it was charged as a crime that he had given civil appointments for the purpose of strengthening his own political position.

We look back to the otherwise creditable administration of Andrew Jackson, and find the first open and acknowledged departure from this principle. Adams had refused a re-election on terms which he regarded subsersive of the government. Jackson seems to have yielded with reluctance to a demand which the rapacity of many of his supporters forced upon him with a fury which marked a complete revolution in public feeling. To the horror of all right minded men of all parties, Mr. Marcy, of New York, on the occasion of the nomination of Martin Van Buren as minister to England, declared in his place in the Senate, the revolutionary doctrine, “We practice as we preach. To the victors belong the spoils” The horror of the opposing party and of all good citizens, gradually changed to acquiescence, and on all sides the principle was accepted as a practical necessity.

The heroic struggle with slavery, which lifted the nation to a moral elevation, of the grandest sublimity for the moment, checked this downfall in the lowest slums of knavery and peculation. But with the close of the war came a temptation and an opportunity such as never had been dreamed of, and with them an entire absence both of moral principle and of legal restraint to meet the evil.

How we stand to-day, how humiliated before our own consciences and before mankind, I need not pain you by describing. You know it all, and you feel it deeply.

Now what is to be done? What have I to do, and what have you to do?

The two great parties have so far recognized the evil and the danger, that they have both nominated men who are representatives of honesty and reform.

But neither of them has laid down any principles of reform. It is not their place to do it. Parties can represent and give voice to the principles of the people. But they cannot create them. It is for the pulpit, the press, the school, the private citizen, to solve the problem, and to hand over its execution to the politicians.

What, then, is the solution of this perplexing problem? I hesitate not for an answer. Go back to the ancient traditions of the Republic! Make it a disgrace, and as far as possible a legal misdemeanor, for any officer engaged in administering the Government to interfere with an election. Forbid the legislative and judicial departments to have any voice whatever in the appointment of an officer of the Executive Department, except in a few cases of confirmation by the Senate, acting in its executive capacity.

Make it a high crime and misdemeanor for any executive officer to remove a subordinate, except for cause. Let a man’s politics have nothing to do with the giving or retaining of office. Make it a State’s prison offense for a legislator to engage in any legislation in which his own interests are directly or indirectly concerned.

9781587366543The time is propitious for such a reform. The people are ripe for it. All the indications are that within ten years they will have it. For this let us all labor, Republicans and Democrats alike. We are just entering on a Presidential canvass, under candidates against whom not a word of reproach can be breathed. Let us thank God for so much to-day. It is likely to be a respectable canvass, in which foul-mouthed abuse will be little used.

Let this Centennial year be distinguished for a victory over the most dangerous, but most contemptible foe that ever menaced the Republic. Let the watchword of the next three months be—Honesty! Truth! Patriotism! Down with party machines and machinists! Up with the reign of purity, honor and integrity!

Thus shall the victory of this one hundredth year be worthy of the companionship of the victories, of the birthday of the Republic.

Thus shall the men of this generation stand proudly by the side of the men of 1776 and the men of 1865.

Thus shall the Republic, established by the wisdom and sacrifices of the one, and saved by the heroism and blood of the other, be handed down to our children, to be incorporated with the great empire of liberty and love, which is at last to fill the whole earth.

Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation

Justice of Massachusetts Supreme Court and United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts

Justice of Massachusetts Supreme Court and United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts


With what emotions, with what convictions, did we hail the dawning light of the new century! Were the wings of the morning those of the angel of death or of life, of despair or of hope? I answer for myself, of life and of hope; nay, more, of faith and of trust. We have causes for anxiety and watchfulness, none for despair. The evils of the times are not incurable, and the remedies, simple and efficient are in our hands.

Is there not, I am asked, wide-spread and growing corruption in the public service of States and nation? There is corruption, but not, I think, increasing—indeed we have reason to hope it is already checked in its progress; nor are the causes of the evil permanent in their nature, save that we always hold our “treasures in earthen vessels.”

We have passed through a period of expenditure almost without limit, and, therefore, of infinite temptations. Wars, it would seem, especially civil wars, loosen the moral ties of society. “The state of man suffers, then, the nature of an insurrection.” Civil convulsions always brings more or less bad men to the surface, and some are still afloat—men whose patriotism, not exhausted in contracts for effete muskets, spavined horses and rotten ships, are ready and waiting for like service. In the feverish delirious haste to get rich which a currency of indefinite expansion always excites, we find another cause; though this has disastrous results, more direct and palpable, in unsettling values and the foundations of public and private faith, trust and confidence.

The evils are curable, but not by noise of words, not by sonorous resolutions without meaning, or only the meaning the simple reader injects into them.

We may put an end to corruption by leading ourselves honest lives, by refusing to put any man into a public trust, no matter what his qualifications or past services, who is corrupt, or suffers himself to walk on the brink, or winks at those who are wading in; by using the old-fashioned prescriptions for rulers: “Men of truth, hating covetousness.” “Thou shalt take no gift.” “Ye shall not be afraid of the face of man.”

The evils of a vile currency can be remedied only by return to the path of the Constitution and of commercial integrity. The principles are simple and elementary. The “lawful money” of the United States is the coin of the United States, or foreign coin whose value has been regulated by Congress: that is the constitutional doctrine. Money is a thing of intrinsic value, and the standard and measure of value; that is the economical doctrine.

A promise to pay a dollar is not a dollar: that is the doctrine of morality and common sense. The difficulty with the legal tender law was and is that it sought to vitalize a falsehood, to make the shadow the substance, to sign the thing signified, the promise to pay, itself payment. Great as is the power of Congress, it cannot change the nature of things.

So long as the power is left, or assumed to be left, to make a promise to pay payment, there will be no permanent security.

One other cure of corruption is open to us,—the stamping out of the doctrine that public trusts are the spoils of partisan victory. The higher councils may perhaps be changed. An administration cannot be well conducted with a cabinet, or other officers in confidential relations, opposed to its policy; but no such reason for change applies to ninety-nine hundredths of the offices now exposed in the market as rewards for partisan service. Other than in these evils I fail to see proofs of the degeneracy of the times.

Whether the men and women of this generation had fallen from the standard of their fathers and mothers, we had satisfactory evidence in the late war, I care not to dwell upon its origin or to revive its memories. The seceding States reaped as they had sown; having sown to the wind, they reaped the whirlwind. Against what was to them the most beneficent of governments, known and felt only in its blessings, they waged, it seemed to us, causeless war, for their claim to extend slavery into the new States and Territories never had solid ground of law or policy or humanity to rest upon; they struck at the flag in which were enfolded our most precious hopes for ourselves and for mankind. They could not expect a great nation to be so false to duty as not to defend, at every cost, its integrity and life.

But while, as matter of good sense and logic, the question seemed to us so plain a one, that the Union meant nothing if a State might at its election withdraw from it; that under the Articles of Confederation the Union had been made perpetual; that the Constitution was adapted to form a more “perfect union than that of the Confederation, more comprehensive, direct, and efficient in power, and not less durable in time; that there was no word in it looking to separation; that it had careful provisions for its amendment, none for its abrogation; capacity for expansion, none for contraction; a door for new States to come in, none for old or new to go out; we should find that, after all, upon the question of legal construction, learned and philosophical statesmen had reached a different conclusion; we should find, also, what as students of human nature we should be surprised not to find, that the opinions of men on this question had, at different times and in different sections of the country, been more or less molded, biased and warped by the effects, or supposed effects, which the policy of the central power had on the material interests and institutions of the States. Each examination, not impairing the strength of our convictions, might chasten our pride.

But aside from the logic, men must be assumed to be honest, however misguided, who are ready to die for the faith that is in them.

But not dwelling upon causes, but comparing the conduct of the war with that of the Revolution, I do not hesitate to say that in the loyalty and devotion of the people to country; in the readiness to sacrifice property, health and life for her safety; in the temper and spirit in which the war was carried on; in the supply of resources to the army, men as well as money; in the blessed ministrations of women to the sick, wounded or dying soldier; in the courage and pluck evinced on both sides; in the magnanimity and forbearance of the victors, the history of the late war shows no touch of degeneracy, shows, indeed, a century of progress.

If its peculations and corruptions were more conspicuous, it was because of the vaster amounts expended, and the vastly greater opportunities and temptations to avarice and fraud. The recently published letters of Col. Pickering furnish additional evidence of the frauds and peculations in the supplies to the armies of the Revolution, and of the neglect of the states to provide food and clothing for the soldiers, when many of the people, for whose liberties they were struggling, were living in comparative ease and luxury. The world moves.

There is one criterion of which I cannot forbear to speak, the conduct of the soldiers of the late war upon the return of peace. How quietly and contentedly they came back from the excitements of the battle-field and camp to the quiet of home life, and to all the duties of citizenship; with a coat, perhaps, where one sleeve was useless, with a leg that had a crutch for a comrade, but with the heart always in the right place!

The burdens of the war are yet with us; the vast debt created these heavy taxes, consuming the very seed of future harvests; the vacant seats at the fireside. Fifteen years and half a generation of men have passed away since the conflict of opinion ripened into the conflict of arms. They have been years of terrible anxiety and of the sickness of hope deferred; yet if their record could be blotted from the book of life, if the grave could give up its noble dead, and all the waste spots, moral and material, resume the verdure of the spring-time, no one of us would return to the state of things in 1860, with the curse of slavery hanging over us and the fires of discord smouldering beneath us. The root of alienation, bitterness, and hate has been wrenched out, and henceforth union and peace are at least possible.

But there is left to us a great and solemn trust,—four millions of people, whose civil status has been fixed by the organic law, but whose education and training for the duties of citizenship and all the higher duties of life, at whatever cost, is demanded alike by humanity, our sense of justice, and our sense of safety.

We have no right, and no cause, to despair of the republic.

The elements of material prosperity are all with us; this magnificent country, resonant with the murmurs of two oceans, with every variety of soil climate, and production to satisfy the the tastes or wants of man; with its millions of acres of new lands beckoning for the plough and spade; with its mountains of coal and iron and copper, and its veins of silver and gold waiting like Encaladus to be delivered; its lakes, inland seas, its rivers the highways of nations. We have .bound its most distant parts together with bands of iron and steel; we send the lightnings over it “that they may go, and say unto us, Here we are.”

We have all the tools of the industries, and arts which the cunning brain of man has invented and his supple fingers learned to use, and abundant capital, the reserved fruits of labor, seeking a chance for planting and increase.

The means of intellectual growth are with us. We have in most of the States systems of education opening to every child the paths to knowledge and to goodness; destined, we hope, to be universal. He who in our day has learned to read in his mother-tongue may be said to have all knowledge for his empire.

And our laws, though by no means perfect, were never so wise, equal, and just as now, never so infused with the principles of natural justice and equity, nor their administration more intelligent, upright, less a respecter of persons, than today. Indeed, in no department of human thought and activity has there been in the last century more intelligent progress than in our jurisprudence.

Whatever may be said of creeds and formulas of faith, there never was so much practical Christianity as now; as to wealth, so large a sense of stewardship; as to labor, so high a recognition of its rights and dignity; into the wounds of suffering humanity never the pouring of so much oil and wine; never was man as man, or woman as woman, of such worth as today.

In spite of criticism we have yet the example and inspiration of that life in which the human and the divine were blended into one.

In spite of philosophy, God yet sits serenely on his throne, His watchful providence over us, His almighty arm beneath us and upholding us.

For an hundred years this nation, having in trust the largest hopes of freedom and humanity, has endured. There have been whirlwind and tempest, it has ridden through them, bending only, as Landor says, the oak bends before the passing wind, to rise again in its majesty and in its strength. It has come out of the fiery furnace of civil war, its seemingly mortal plague-spot cauterized and burnt out, leaving for us today a Republic capable of almost infinite expansion, in which central power may be reconciled with local independence, and the largest liberty with the firmest order.

Staunch, with every sail set, her flag with no star erased, this goodly Ship of State floats on the bosom of the new century.

In her we “have garnered up our hearts where we must either live or bear no life.”

And now, God of our fathers, what wait we for but thy blessing? Let thy breath fill her sails, thy presence be her sunshine. If darkness and the tempest come, give her, as of old, pilots that can weather the storm.

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. ~ King Solomon

See also: Corruption In Politics and Society: Corrupters Of America! by John Hancock 1770
Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834
A PRAYER FOR THE NATION by Rev. William Bacon Stevens July 4, 1876
NO SLAVE BENEATH THE FLAG by George Lansing Taylor 1835-1903
Founders & forefathers pledged their Sacred Honor, what did they mean?
CHRISTIANITY AS A POLITICAL FORCE by Senator John A. Dix 1798-1879