previous next
[30] of the House to tears and woke the applause of the Nation by a eulogy conceived in the most magnanimous temper and closing with a plea for a fuller understanding and a closer union.

How quickly the prayer was being answered appeared in 1876. The hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence was celebrated by the International Industrial Exhibition at Philadelphia. The honor of writing the official cantata for this national occasion was conferred upon the Southern poet, Sidney Lanier. The cantata, composed for Dudley Buck's music, was sung ‘in the open air, by a chorus of many hundred voices, and with the accompaniment of a majestic orchestra.’ Daniel Coit Gilman thus describes the occasion: ‘The devotional exercises awakened no sentiment of reverence. At length came the cantata. From the overture to the closing cadence it held the attention of the vast throng of listeners, and when it was concluded loud applause rang through the air. A noble conception had been nobly rendered.’ The same glorification of American freedom was expressed by Lanier in the freer poetic form of the Psalm of the West, and by including the revised ballad, The Tournament, he voiced his own joy at the uniting of the recently antagonistic sections.

The celebration itself, followed by the immense wave of enthusiasm that ran over the country, and taken in connection with the withdrawal of Federal troops from the South in the early weeks of the Hayes administration, was significant in many ways. In the South, it marked the return to power of the responsible classes; in the North, the return of political parties to something nearer equality; and in the country as a whole, the confirmation of a conviction, arising from the panic of 1873, that problems unconnected with the war were in most pressing need of solution. The resulting consciousness of national unity, deeper and broader than had existed before, was hastened by the gathering of economic forces for an unparalleled material development. The civilization of the South was in a few

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Sidney Lanier (2)
Daniel Coit Gilman (1)
Dudley Buck (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1876 AD (1)
1873 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: