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But the future of the nation lies in the filling out of such a character by every man for himself. However dark and threatening the evils of the present, I adopt the heroic faith and prophetic hope of the noble Queen of Prussia, the sainted Luise, in the gloomiest hour of her land : “I believe firmly in God and in the moral order of the world. ... Assuredly a better time will come; but it can only become good in the world through the good. ... Let us care only for this, that we with every day become riper and better.” The stream cannot rise higher than the fountain ; and seldom in political life does it rise so high. If we would have the republic worthily represent us, we must remember that we represent the republic; that its life and character are our own. More and more is there need of men whom no office could honor, no position elevate, and who, though ready for any service to their country, feel that the highest dignity is that of the citizen who clothes himself with all virtues, and so represents and honors his nation in his own person. The republic is the school of manhood. If it does not train men, lift up the average man above the average level, and raise the higher man to the highest dignity and worth of character, how shall it justify its claim to be ? Ah! should Americans but live up to their opportunity, and fill out the ideal of manhood under freedom, there would be no longer care for the republic at home, nor criticism of the republic abroad. At home, truth, justice, honor, virtue, generosity, magnanimity, culture, would adorn every person, every house, every office; or rather cease to adorn the individual, as the common features of the whole. Abroad it would be said of such a one, “ He is an American: I know it by his breadth of view, his liberality of opinion, his generosity of spirit, his courtesy of manner, his brotherhood of feeling; by his freedom from prejudice, bigotry, particularism, vanity; by his quiet self-possession, and his respect for others; by the gentleness of his bearing and his speech; by his taste for music and art; by his sympathy with truth and freedom; by his enthusiasm for humanity, and his reverent and loving devotion to God.” Let our schools and churches produce a generation of such men, and especially such women, and the future of the republic is sure.
A PLATFORM FOR THE NEW CENTURY.
As a summary of the recommendations of the preceding Lecture, and to give them a practical shape, I here reprint an article which I furnished to “ The Christian Union” of Aug. 18, 1875, as a “Platform for our Second Century:"
In these days of political uncertainty, when parties are dissolving, and “independent voters” are floating about, seeking some new line of crystallization, it seems open to any one to offer a platform of public policy that may serve at least for a basis of speculation. The platform which I herewith volunteer has several advantages. First, not being framed as a bid for office, nor to obtain the suffrages of any party, it declares itself openly and explicitly upon the questions that are of real and present interest; secondly, since no one could hope just now to be elected to office upon this basis, the acceptance of it could not be imputed to any other motives than those of the purest patriotism; thirdly, ten years hence, no one need look for the votes of intelligent and conscientious Americans for any place of public trust who shall not plant himself squarely upon the principles of this platform.
(1.) Trade. — Trade of every description, domestic or foreign, commercial, agricultural, manufacturing, carrying, should be entirely free to follow its own laws, without interference from government, whether for hinderance or for guidance. If, for the ease and convenience of raising a revenue by indirect taxation, the government shall impose duties upon certain imports, these should be taxed upon precisely the same principle as articles of domestic growth or manufacture, — that is, as articles which, by their nature or consumption, are likely to yield the most revenue with the least inconvenience to the public, and not at all as articles that come into competition with the products of domestic labor or skill. Any form of “protective” tariff is false in principle, unjust in its application, and ruinous in its effects. .
(2.) Finance. — The only true and safe financial basis for government and people is specie, in such proportion that it serves as the circulating medium of commerce, or is faithfully represented by paper, which the holder knows to be, at any time, convertible into specie at par. The government of the United States in its financial policy should aim directly and constantly at a return to specie payments : indeed, as often happens at a critical turn of disease, it might be best for the patient to take the whole of the bitter potion at a single gulp. After a few convulsive contortions, he would recover the equilibrium of health.
(3.) Education. — The German notion, that it belongs to the State to provide for the culture and the religion of its citizens, cannot be applied to the American system of government. In matters of taste, as in matters of conscience, men must be left free for their own improvement and development, in so far as they do not trespass upon the rights of others, nor threaten the peace and order of society. But the American system does demand that every man shall be sufficiently educated for the intelligent discharge of his duties as a citizen; and this education the State must not only provide, but require of every man as a qualification for voting, jury-duty, and the like. As this education is indispensable to the safety of the State, every citizen must be taxed for it, whether he makes personal use of it or not, just as he is taxed for the police, firemen, militia, &c. The State must prescribe a course of preliminary education, simply and purely secular; and this course should be obligatory as to the fact and matter of it, but optional as to the place and method of it; that is to say, there should be public shools for a plain secular education, open to all. This same education, or its equivalent, should be obligatory for all; but it should be at the option of parents to send their children to the public school, or have them taught in a private school, or by tutors at home.
The State should be forbidden to provide for religious instruction under any form in the public schools, or to make a grant of money to any sectarian school, or to aid any religious institution whatsoever, either directly by grant of land, money, or credit, or indirectly by exemption from taxation.
(4.) Suffrage. — Suffrage should be equal and impartial; that is to say, the conditions of suffrage should be alike for all, and fairly within the reach of all. Though the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States aims to make each male citizen twenty-one years of age a voter, — so far as the United States could fix the terms of suffrage, - yet each State should make it a condition of voting, that the native citizen shall have received the schooling specified in Section 3, and that every citizen of foreign birth shall pass a prescribed examination in the English language. It is true, that, at first, several States would disfranchise a portion of their citizens, and thereby lose a pro rata representation in Congress. This, however, the plan of obligatory education would remedy in one generation. And, by the way, the disqualification rule should at once be enforced against Massachusetts, Connecticut, and other States that already have an educational test. This would satisfy the South that the Fourteenth Amendment was not an act of sectional tyranny, and would open the eyes of the nation to the egregious stupidity of the second clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, against which the writer of this platform protested at the time.
(5.) Races. — The government of the United States, and the several State governments, should know no races as such, but deal with all men— Negro, Indian, German, Chinese, Native American — upon the basis of equal laws. And as, on the one hand, the Fifteenth Amendment provides that the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of race or color, so, on the other hand, when political organizations are formed upon the basis of race, and for the exclusive interest of a race, — white, black, German, or Chinese, — the ringleaders of the same should be punished by forfeiture of citizenship for a term of years, and the candidates of such “race” party be declared ineligible to office.
(6.) Immigration. — The government of the United States should
'do nothing to invite or facilitate emigration from foreign countries to America, but should leave this to the operation of natural laws. Least of all should it interfere with the civil or military laws of other countries touching their citizens, so as to tempt these to emigration as a relief from obligations at home. The overstocking of the labor market, the overcrowding of cities, the increase of strikes and of communistic demands, are a warning that immigration has been urged far beyond the normal condition of demand and supply. . (7.) Capital and Labor. — Government should in no wise seek to regulate by legislation the relations of capital and labor, but, protecting both alike from violence, should leave them to their own bargains in their own way.
(8.) The Civil Service. — The civil service should be settled upon a basis of competitive examination and graded promotion, offices to be held during good behavior.
(9.) Sovereignty. — The sovereignty of the State is supreme and indivisible. Whoever, therefore, acknowledges any other organized power as superior to the State in claiming or defining his allegiance, should be denied the rights of citizenship in the United States and in any State thereof.
The above platform is not put forth with the idea that anybody will accept it. Nevertheless, it deals with the questions of the present and the near future; and whoever has a noble ambition to serve his country in public life, will find, ten years hence, that such views as these will command the confidence and support of a great body of the American people.
CONGRATULATIONS FROM EUROPEAN SOVEREIGNS.
BERLIN, June 9, 1876. WILLIAM, by the grace of God Emperor of Germany, King of Prussia,
8c., to the President of the United States. GREAT AND GOOD FRIEND, — It has been given you to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the day when the great nation over which you preside took rank among independent States. The institutions organized by the founders of the Union, who wisely consulted the lessons of history with regard to the formation of States, have developed beyond all expectation. To be able to congratulate you and the American nation upon this occasion is all the more pleasing to me, because, since the friendly alliance which my august ancestor, now reposing in God, — Frederic II., of glorious memory, — concluded with the United States, nothing has troubled the good understanding between Germany and America. Their friendship has been increased and developed by a growing interchange in every branch of commerce and science. That the prosperity of the United States and the friendship of the two countries may continue to increase is my sincere prayer, as it is my firm belief. I beg you to receive this fresh assurance of my highest esteem.
Ems, June 5, 1876. ALEXANDER, by the grace of God Emperor of all the Russias.
MR. PRESIDENT, - At a moment when the people of the United States celebrate the centennial period of their national existence, I desire to express to you the sentiments with which I take part in this celebration. The people of the United States may, contemplate with pride the immense progress which their energy has achieved within the period of a century. I especially rejoice, that, during this centennial period, the friendly relations between our respective countries have never suffered interruption, but, on the contrary, have made themselves manifest by proofs of mutual good-will. Í therefore cordially congratulate the American people in the person of their President; and I pray that the friendship of the two countries may increase with their prosperity. I embrace this occasion to offer to you at the same time the assurance of my sincere esteem and of my high consideration.
ALEXANDER. To his Excellency GEN. GRANT.
Victor EMANUEL II., by the grace of God and the will of the nation
King of Italy, to the President of the United States of America, greet
ing. MY DEAR AND GOOD FRIEND, — On the day upon which the great American Republic celebrates the centennial anniversary of its existence, it is our desire to address our congratulations and those