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the conscience and the courage to take up,
and practise the life-inspiring principle which the Democratic party had surrendered. At last, the Republican party
has appeared. It avows, now, as the Republican party 5 of 1800 did, in one word, its faith and its works, “ Equal
and exact justice to all men.” Even when it first entered the field, only half organized, it struck a blow which only just failed to secure complete and triumphant
victory. In this, its second campaign, it has already 10 won advantages which render that triumph now both easy and certain. The secret of its assured success lies in that
characteristic which, in the mouth of scoffers, constitutes its
great and lasting imbecility and reproach. It lies in the 15 fact that it is a party of one idea; but that idea is a noble one
an idea that fills and expands all generous souls; the idea of equality — the equality of all men before human tribunals and human laws, as they all are
equal before the divine tribunal and divine laws. 20 I know, and you know, that a revolution has begun.
I know, and all the world knows, that revolutions never go backward. Twenty Senators and a hundred Representatives proclaim boldly in Congress to-day sentiments
and opinions and principles of freedom which hardly so 25 many men, even in this free State, dared to utter in their
own homes twenty years ago. While the Government of the United States, under the conduct of the Democratic party, has been all that time surrendering one plain and
castle after another to slavery, the people of the United 30 States have been no less steadily and perseveringly gath
ering together the forces with which to recover back again all the fields and all the castles which have been lost, and to confound and overthrow, by one decisive
blow, the betrayers of the constitution and freedom 35 forever.
THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS ; NOVEMBER 19, 1863.
FOURSCORE and seven years ago our fathers brought forth
upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived 5 and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should 10 do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we 15 say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that 20 from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government 25 of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
THE ENGĻISH CONSTITUTION AND GOVERNMENT.
The English speeches contained in this volume make frequent reference to a structure of government and to forms and usages unlike those with which we are familiar in the United States. Information upon these subjects is absolutely necessary to an intelligent reading of these speeches, and yet it is not always readily accessible. It has therefore been thought best to embody in succinct statement the peculiar features of the English Constitution, government, and procedure touched upon in the speeches, and incidentally to point out the pitfalls which lurk under the guise of terms and expressions similar in form to our own, but different in content and meaning. It should be noted that the point of view in the following sketch is that of the present status in England. Historical differences within the period covered will be noticed as they occur in the speeches themselves.
THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION.
When a new organization of government was adopted and put upon trial in the United States in 1789, the special features of that organization were set forth in a well-known document, which, by a natural transfer of meaning, took the name of the order and organization which it described ; that is, the Constitution of the United States of America. Ever since that time the extraordinary interest centring in this document has, in the usage of American speakers and writers, tended steadily to shift the meaning of the word Constitution to this narrower base; that is, from the actual order and organization of government to the document in which that order is officially described and promulgated. This limitation of meaning is by no means prevalent outside the realm of American politics; and the young American student should be specially cautioned against interpreting in any such narrow sense the frequent reference made by Englishmen to the British Constitution. England has no written Constitution ; nor, under the circumstances, could she well have one. Her government is the outcome of ages of experiment and struggle; of incessant re-adjustment of conflicting powers and interests; sometimes of sharp and decisive action; more frequently of insensible but irresistible drifting upon the current of national tendency. Questions of constitutionality, therefore, are settled in England, not by appeal to a state-paper like ours, since none exists, but by appeal to unchallenged usage, to precedents not reversed, or to legislation not repealed, wherever these are to be found in the centuries between Magna Charta and the present time.
Even in cases where we find citation of what is claimed to be the very language of the Constitution, we are not to understand anything more than that the language is that of some document of acknowledged authority in determining usage; as, for example, an Act of Parliament. And the English Constitution is altered, not through the formality of an amendment voted upon by the people, but by embodying the innovation directly in legislative act, — subject, of course, to prompt ratification or rejection by the people in their next return of members to Parliament. To Englishmen, then, the Constitution means primarily the established order of government, whether this be (1) with reference to its organization, its actual structure, and the relation of its parts; or (2) with reference to usage, precedent, and law; or (3) with reference to its genius and spirit. In the first sense the word is often loosely synonymous with our use of the word government; but for this last word English usage has developed a special meaning (see below), which excludes it in certain connections. Examples of these several uses of the word may be found on p. 257, 1. 32; p. 50, 1. 15; p. 79, 1. 35; and p. 42, 1. 25.
In England the executive power, as of old, is vested nominally in the Crown, but really in the Cabinet, or Ministry, with which body the sovereign is associated, both as its honorary head and as