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[90] recognition; but we must content ourselves with a brief statement. For over thirty years, from the time of the Missouri Compromise until almost the outbreak of the Civil War, he was prominent in public life, an active, untiring representative of the active, untiring West. No man, not even Clay or Jackson or Lincoln, better typified the young, self-confident Western democracy; he represented the West of his day not only in the measures he advocated and the principles he followed, but in his very manner of speech—earnest, assured, buoyant, boastful, idealistic. If one would know America and its differences, how training and environment have affected oratory as well as views of public policy, one could get no better lesson than by comparing the full-blooded oratory of Benton with the acrid speech of Josiah Quincy or the polite eloquence of Everett. After Benton's retirement from Congress, he prepared and published his Thirty years view, a political history of the decades between 1820 and 1850 written from the viewpoint of an actor in the scenes described, with copious extracts from his own speeches and without special care to diminish the importance of his own influence. After this, though he was now past threescore and ten, he prepared his Abridgment of the Debates of Congress from 1787 to 1856, the last sentences of which he is said to have dictated in whispers from his deathbed.

Though only the most noteworthy persons have been spoken of in this chapter, enough has been said to indicate that in the first fifty years of the nineteenth century there was much good oratory and a large amount of able writing on subjects of political interest. As we look back on those decades, the years seem to be hurrying past with great rapidity, changing the primitive United States in the span of a single lifetime from a row of scattered republics scarcely realizing national existence into a great empire stretching across the continent. And in those hurrying years, all sorts of questions arose to be vehemently and earnestly discussed before an increasing number of eager hearers who felt that their destiny was in their own hands. These crowding problems full of intense human meaning; this developing democracy with all its trials, hopes, and determinations; this people, beset with slavery and boasting its freedom, bent upon the big job of taking possession of a continent and

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