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 could not admit that the Federal power reached the subject even in States that were in rebellion, as they saw fit to designate the Southern States. Still they kept in line with the dominant and aggressive power, and contented themselves with gentle protests against the destruction of the States. The old question, which in fact led to the war — the question of the right, of local self-government in the States, which was the substantial political issue between the Abolitionists and the States of the South--was for a time silenced in the tempest of war. It slept until slavery was destroyed, and then arose again, when it was attempted to destroy the States. Thousands of men engaged in the destruction of slavery, and, having that for the purpose of every blow they struck, were assisted by tens of thousands who fought to save the Union of the States, leaving the question of the rights and powers of the State and Federal governments, which led the South to secession, undecided by the results of the war. All these are free now as they were before the war to assert or to deny that the States have still the right of local self-government, and some of them deny it, while others admit the right. It may be safely said, in 1877, that this question will never again result in war. It has become impossible to excite the country to war upon sectional divisions, because there remain no questions of material interest upon which they can divide by lines of latitude or longitude. All sectional controversies being removed from the domain of discussion, whatever affects one State in like manner affects all the States. If one is wounded in its rights, all suffer alike, if not equally. The turning point in the destiny of the South that has been reached in 1877 is the final practical restoration to the States of the right of local self-government. It was for this that the people of the South fought in 1861; for this they suffered ten years of terrible persecution, from 1867 to 1877; and it is with this right firmly secured that they are content. This is the end of a period of trials and suffering in which we have been exposed to the danger of the total subversion of our State governments, and with them to the loss of all substantial guaranties of our personal rights and liberties. It is the beginning of an era of peace, which is the result of the failure of a pernicious effort to subordinate the States to the absolute will of Congress. The political forces that have so long acted with repressive power upon the States have ceased, and they rise again with restorative and compensatory energy to their former dignity and influence. In this year those institutions of government which we have been so proud to call American reached their lowest depression in the respect of mankind; and with quick and safe reaction they have regained their lost
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