« ForrigeFortsett »
standpoint, yet it is believed that the spirit of truth has not been, in a single instance, sacrificed to party bias.
Believing that facts-plain facts-alonc are demanded by the inquiring spirit of the present age, the attempt has been herein made to give these facts in concise but clear language, repressing every impuise to use cossary words, or to waste, by long-drawn statements or superfluous comments, the reader's time,
The work has been arranged so as to present, in addition to the history of parties, a complete account of the different questions that have occupied the attention of the country in the past, thus enabling the reader to form just conceptions of what interests were involved, and what rights affected, by the questions of “State Rights,” “Disunion," “Nullification," "Freo Trade,” “Tariffs,” etc., etc.
In addition, biographical sketches of a number of our most cminent statesmen are given, to illustrate more fully the truths which they may have advanced or opposed. A copy of the Constitution of the United States, which onght to be in the hands of every citizen in the country, is also appended. It is believed that the work will thus possess invaluable information for crery person, but especially for those just entering upon the rights and duties of citizenship; and that unlike a newspaper or periodical, soon read and forgotten, its usefulness and interest, as a work of reference, will not be early impaired.
The opinions of opponents have also been treated with respect. Violent language may inflame and ircense, but will not convince an adversary. The moral of the old fable should never be lost sight of: “The Sun and Wind disputed which was the stronger, and agreed to a trial, in depriving a traveler of his cloak. First the Wind blew with great fury, which only caused the man to wrap the closer; then the Sun beamed forth with pleasant rays, and soon the cloak was cast aside."
MAN has been defined a gregarious animal. In other words, the advantages of society hare been found such, that from the remotest times until the present, in all countries, and amongst all races, men have instinctively come together, first, for the advantages of combined strength in offensive or defensive war, and next for the benefits of the division of labor which finally resulted, through trade and commerce, in the development of civilization.
This tendency to association has created a necessitythat of government-in direct proportion to the advance in the varied stages of civilization. For society has, developed evils as well as advantages, and it was to palliate these evils that rules of action were laid down, and the means of their enforcement provided, which, in a word, constitutes Government.
The first forms of government, as the earliest histories of all nations show, were simple; men attached themselves to the leaders most able to defend them from enemies, or to lead them to victory. This disposition was usually taken advantage of by these leaders to increase and extend their own authority, which finally resulted in large masses of society, and the establishment of nations and governments, by written laws. But as men progressed in intelligence, these laws began to be framed by themselves, for their own benefit, in place of the arbitrary systems hitherto imposed on them by their rulers. Yet this was not always of easy accomplishment. The contest indeed has been
great effort, extending over long periods of history, and cven now has proved successful in but a few instances.
To us the proposition that all governments can only justly derive their powers from the consent of the gove erned seems self-cvident. Yet it has cost years of toil and immense sacrifices of treasure and blood to establish the fact; still unrecognized, except by the people of a few nations, who “ know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain."
The different forms of government by which mankind have been governed, may be divided into three classes : the aristocratic, democratic, and representative. The first found among all nations just emerging from barbarism. Dissatisfied with this, the second form was adopted, which, though correct in theory, has been found too unwieldy to be practicable ; and the third from a combination of the features of the other two has been established in most civilized lands. The conflict which naturally exists between Monarchy and Democracy, has caused antagonism in the formation of the representative plan, and the wars thus induced form a large portion of history. In our own country although pronouncedly democratic, this antagonism has been freely exhibited,* and we still have a large party in the country which openly professes measures and principles that lead directly to centralization, and to the concentration of all power in the hands of those servants of the people who constitute the government.
Opposed to this party of aristocratic principles, has always stood the one of which it is proposed to give the general history in these pages. Always opposed to
* Hamilton (Federalist) advocated appointing the President for life, and a property qualification of all voters of $1,000. He said: "The King is necessarily above corruption--who must always intend the true interest and glory of his people.” When Samuel Adams (Democrat) remarked : The love of liberty is interwoven in the heart of man.” John Adams (Federalist) replied: "So it is in that of a wolf."
“ rings” and monopolies, it has steadily sought the greatest good to the greatest number, and has exemplified, by the practices of its leaders and their lives of probity and unostentatious republicanism, the great principles which have been its foundation.
These two principles, antagonistic in fact as well as in theory, have been opposed to each other in England from the restoration of the Stuarts until the present day, under the names of Whig and Tory.* The same ideas crossed the Atlantic with the Pilgrims to New England, and the Cavaliers to Virginia, and during the Revolutionary War were designated by the same names—the patriots being termed Whigs, and those who were still loyal to the King, Tories.
While the was in progress, the colonies had united under articles of confederatio), adopted in 1778. It soon became apparent on the conclusion of peace, that a
more perfect Union' was desirable, and a convention for that purpose assembled in 1787, whose labors resulted in the establishment of our Constitution. In the debates in that convention the same antagonistic principles were developed-one party proposing a strong central government, with the President and Senators appointed for life, a property qualification for voters, and the State, organization to be nearly abolished; the o:her, fearful of monarchy, and believing that the independence of the States would best secure the perpetuation of liberty, were jealous of this establishment of the central power. Our present Constitution is a compromise of the ideas of these parties, secured by the influence of Washington, Madison and other eminent men. But 'the party nomenclature was changedthose who favored a strong government became known as Federalists; the State Rights party as Republicans.
* “The Whigs now (1688) held that extreme oppression might Justify resistance; while the Tories claimed that all resistance to the Sovereign was unlawful."- Macaulay.
The latter party were also called Democrats by their opponents as a term of reproach, and it was not unti 1815, when the Republican party divided, that the desig. nation of Democratic was generally adopted.
It will thus be seen that the old adage, change-principles never,” is not a mere theory. The right of man to control the institutions under which he lives—this had been the battle-cry of Whig and patriot and early Republican in succession. To enjoy the right of self-government they had opposed tyranny in its most odious forms, and having in our country won the battle for liberty, they have bequeathed it to us, with the warning that 'eternal vigilance is the price of its preservation.” It remains to be determined whether we shall continue to prove worthy of our inheritance, and in the irrepressible conflict always going on between right and wrong we shall fulfill an honorable destiny and acquit ourselves as me?.
" What constitutes a Sta'e?
Not high raised battlements, nor labɔr'd mounds,
These constitute a State." But it is not in good resolitions alone that a citizen can discharge his political obligations. Unfortunately it has become a custom with very many men to underestimate the importance of political affairs. Connecting with them the idea of all that is dishonorable or contemptible, they give the subject little or no attention, and leave all party management to the unscrupulous and ambitious. And then having neglected their duties because unpleasant, they indulge in unfavorable reflections on the present situation and future prospects of the country. And indeed it seems at times, on first in