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 ground and have become a pattern for the nations of the earth. Our people of all sections and all parties have shown that they are fully capable of exercising with wisdom and prudence the vast powers which reside in them under our free system of government, so that the most violent storms of popular excitement shall not destroy it, or defeat the ultimate power of the law. When forty millions of people, with ten millions of voters, raise themselves above the atmosphere of hot and bitter recrimination engendered by a terrible civil war, and, forgetting party ties and prejudices, and overlooking insults and injuries which affect their keenest sensibilities, declare for the Constitution as the inviolable rule of government in all public administration and as the security of every private right, the world may again confidently believe that all enlightened races are capable of self-government. Until 1867 it was supposed that it was impossible that there could be evolved through our political system a greater or more disastrous evil than our great civil war. But this opinion has been disproved by subsequent events. When that war closed faith and confidence between the real belligerents was immediately restored, so that the soldiers of the Confederacy were disbanded on the field of battle and discharged from every restraint that did not apply to every citizen of the United States. But one right, which had been the subject of controversy before and during the war, was destroyed — the right of property in slaves. This was not destroyed by actual agreement, but was left to a tacit understanding, which was afterwards confirmed by the formal consent of the Southern States and people, acting as a free people, under the forms of law and through solemn constitutional ordinances. In this action several of the States even anticipated the propositions of Congress to add the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States. This is all that we yielded. Of course the Government of the Confederate States perished in the war, but the government of the States that composed the Confederation remained as if the war had never been waged, as to their rights and powers of home-rule. It was not through the magnanimity of the Federal Government that the Southern States were restored to these rights and powers. This is a common but most mistaken view of the matter. The United States Government has always held that we could neither forfeit nor abandon the rights and duties of the States--that ours is an imperishable union of indestructible States. It was the only avowed purpose of the war to restore the seceding States to the Union. This could not be done by destroying their autonomy as States of the Union-States like the others, and with equal powers and privileges. There can be no conquered States
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