have called the civic note in our national writing.
exemplified it in his day. It is far removed from the pure literary art of a Poe, a Hawthorne, a Henry James
It aims at action rather than beauty.
It seeks to persuade, to convince, to bring things to pass.
We shall observe it in the oratory of Clay
, as they pleaded for compromise; in the editorials of Garrison
, a foe to compromise and like Calhoun
an advocate, if necessary, of disunion; in the epochmaking novel of Harriet Beecher Stowe
; in the speeches of Wendell Phillips
, in verse white-hot with political passion, and sermons blazing with the fury of attack and defense of principles dear to the human heart.
We must glance, at least, at the lyrics produced by the war itself, and finally, we shall observe how Abraham Lincoln
, the inheritor of the ideas of Jefferson
, and Webster
, perceives and maintains, in the noblest tones of our civic speech, the sole conditions of our continuance as a nation.
Let us begin with oratory, an American habit, and, as many besides Dickens
have thought, an American defect.
We cannot argue that question adequately here.
It is sufficient to say that in the pioneer stages of our existence oratory was necessary