Constitution of the United States
, was largely due to the education received by them in the public and private schools of the Commonwealth
This fact should be carefully noted by the school authorities, and the fullest provision be made in the future for the study of the history of our continent, of the government, and the principles on which the Constitution
of the nation is founded.
To the general education of the people in 1861 is due the calmness of-their conduct and the fixedness of their purpose.
It was not the rush of youthful fire, which over-rode the wiser and more cautious thoughts of middle and old age, nor was it the yieldings of youth to the influence of older minds; but the expression of public opinion was a unit, the result of education.
The only question that was deemed worthy of discussion, when the act of attempted dissolution was enacted, was not the right connected with it, but the humanitarian question of avoiding the horrors of a civil war. In connection with this educated thought of the people there was a moral training.
The people of Pennsylvania
were disposed to leave the solution of the slavery question to the disposition of the people of the South
, and they fully understood that it was a difficult social question to manage.
But when, through the great prosperity that the system of slavery had brought to the South
, after many years of depression, they were convinced that its social character was to be fully merged into political efforts to secure its enlargement and continuance, then the moral sentiment was aroused in opposition to such extension of its borders and attempts at making it a permanent institution in this country, which was in opposition to their view of the true principles of the form of government.
This condensed statement represents the condition of public opinion on these questions in 1860.
The political sentiments and partisan relations of the people rapidly changed from the beginning of 1860.
The exciting general election of that year brought out a full discussion of the prominent political questions, and as any party was supposed to sympathize with possible rebellion, so far was that party in the minority.
Yet even then the probability of such a result as civil war was not accepted, nor could the people comprehend what it meant, for, with the exception of the Indian
war, and the war with Mexico
, their knowledge of war was as read of in books.
The financial condition of the country in the beginning of 1861 was unpromising.
The difficulties of 1857 had not been forgotten; the traces and effects of the financial troubles of that year were still apparent.
The country was but slowly recovering.
Labor was still unemployed; wages were low; the prices of real estate