moved all discrimination against former Confederate officers, and one of the conspicuous Southern leaders entered the service of the armies against Spain
Newspapers and magazines were filled with expressions of cordiality, such as Joined the Blues
and Wheeler at Santiago.
This new patriotism was no spasmodic affair of the moment.
Political parties were still fervidly debating about imperialism and the colonial policy when the assassination of McKinley
, in 1901, startled the whole country.
Professor William P. Trent
, an acute observer, remarked to me in conversation: ‘I recall vividly how I had to make a flying trip from North to South at the time, and how impressed I was with the fact that not a particle of difference
could be noticed between the sections-both were deep in grief. . . . I should say that few events of our time have brought out our essential unity more clearly than his assassination.’
The justice of Professor Trent
's observation is apparent from a dramatic episode of the next year.
When General Charles Francis Adams
, a veteran of the Union
armies, a New Englander, and the descendant of a long line of distinguished New Englanders, delivered his eulogy on Robert E. Lee
, in 1902, it was a sign that extremes had indeed been reconciled.
More expressive of popular feeling was an incident almost unnoticed at the time.
On February 24, 1905, a bill for returning the Confederate
flags was passed in Congress without a single dissenting vote, without even a single moment's debate.
This action was the result, not of careful prearrangement, but of spontaneous unanimity among the representatives of an harmonious people.
With this impressive proof of the completeness of American union, this record appropriately closes.