« ПретходнаНастави »
INSCRIPTION ON THE WASHINGTON Post OFFICE
Messenger of Sympathy and Love
Consoler of the Lonely
of Peace and Good will
When we know people we are far more likely to remain friends. The less we know them the more likely we are to be suspicious. If it had not been for the railroad connecting the Pacific states with the eastern part of the country, it is very doubtful whether we could have remained one nation. In still more recent times the telegraph and telephone have come to strengthen the bonds of union between city and country, and between
various sections of the Union. Slavery
But while all these forces were steadily making for the great greater union, one great cause of division was left in strain
the Constitution. This was slavery. In early colonial upon the Union
times slaves were held in all parts of the country, and in 1790, when the first federal census was taken, slavery existed in all the states and territories except Vermont, Massachusetts, and the district of Maine. There were very few slaves in New England, but there were almost as many in proportion to the population in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware as in Georgia
and Kentucky. Cotton But in most parts of the country slaves had been became
chiefly house-servants or personal servants.
South and the Mississippi Valley proved the most profitable enterprise of the time. “ The plantation owners increased their exports alone from $25,000,000 in 1815 to $250,000,000 in 1860, which gave them almost twice as great an income as all other exporters combined.”
Thomas Jefferson was a Virginian, but he was strongly opposed to slavery and hoped to provide in the new government for its abolition. Gradually, however, the great Democratic Party, which was at first largely a party of peasant farmers, came to be more and more identified with the great plantation interest. On the other hand, people in the Northern States became increasingly opposed to slavery. At first there was little disposition to question the right of slavery within the region where it had been established, but there was strong objection raised to its spread into the newer Northwest country acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. Missouri, Kansas, and the neighboring region were the seat of contention. The North was gradually building up industries on a system of free labor. Many believed that the increase of slavery would make it harder for the independent farmer and laborer to prosper. Finally an increasing number of Northern people came to believe that slavery was wrong. The great Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist churches divided on this. The Northern churches condemned slavery, the Southern churches upheld it. One of the fairest statements as to the sincerity of both sides in this great issue was that of Lincoln in 1854:
They (the Southerners) are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not exist among them they would not introduce it. If it did now exist among us, we should not instantly give it up. I surely will not blame
them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself.
Webster as advocate of the Union
The great point for our purpose is that it was the question of slavery which was the greatest strain upon the unity of the nation. At first, statesmen like Daniel Webster made great efforts to exalt the sentiment for union without going into the radical causes of separate interest. Webster insisted that the Union was not a mere matter of profit and loss, that it was not to be preserved “ while it suits local and temporary purposes to preserve it; and to be sundered whenever it shall be found to thwart such purposes.” He believed “ that the union of the States is essential to the prosperity and safety of the States." (First Reply to Hayne.)
“It is to that Union that we are chiefly indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our country. That Union we reached only by the discipline of our virtues in the severe school of adversity. It had its origin in the necessities of disordered finance, prostrate commerce, and ruined credit. Under its benign influence, these great interests immediately awoke as from the dead and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its duration has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings. . . . It has been to us all a copious fountain of national, social, and personal happiness.” (Second Reply to Hayne.)
Liberty and Union
Some of the Southern leaders had set off liberty against union. They had stood for what seemed to them the liberty of their own part of the country to manage its affairs as it pleased and had regarded the Union as interfering with that liberty. As contrasted with any attempt to calculate the exact profit and loss or to oppose liberty and union, Webster ended his address with words which became classic and stirred a
great depth of feeling for the Union. He prayed that his last look might be upon the flag of the Republic,
'not a stripe erased or polluted, not a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory 'what is all this worth?' Nor those other words of delusion and folly, ‘Liberty first and Union afterwards' but . . . that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart,-Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable! (Second Reply to Hayne.)
Henry Clay was known as the Great Compromiser because he sought to compromise between the North and South in the division of the new territory which from time to time was being added to the nation. But gradually the conviction increased which was expressed by Lincoln: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this government cannot endure. permanently, half slave and half free;" and the Civil War was the outcome.
Few in the South would now wish to have two nations A united instead of one even if this were possible. The fact is people that the great interests of trade, of common ancestry,
great and common purpose, are so strong that the country things is naturally adapted for one great nation. The interests of each part are so bound up with the interests of the rest that all gain from union. The tasks which lie before us are tasks which we can only accomplish
a united people. Only through mutual help and coöperation can we do the largest things.
PRESENT PROBLEMS OF UNION
(1) Race problems
HE present problems of union arise in part from
our inheritance and in part from new tasks with
which the country is confronted. These are (1) union between different races, (2) union between different classes, (3) union for the great tasks of conservation of resources, improving health, and protecting the individual. In short, the need of union is to do together what we cannot do separately. In early times this meant chiefly defense against enemies; now it means chiefly control over nature, defense against disease, and finally defense against harsh or unfair treatment of one class by another.
It is hard to say whether the most difficult problem of our country today is the race problem or the labor problem. The race problem is probably as old as the human race itself. At any rate, as far back as we can go in history we find people of different tribes and races fighting with one another. We have seen that in savage society all of the same tribe or group stood closely by one another and practised blood revenge upon any other group in case of injury by some one of that group. When certain tribes or races, such as the Assyrians or Romans, grew strong, they set out to conquer all other peoples. In some cases they even exterminated those whom they conquered. In other cases they made slaves. In our country it was the desire of men to gain wealth and property which led