From this simple assumption flowed all that is distinctive in American society.
From it resulted, as a political inference, universal suffrage; that is, a suffrage constantly tending to be universal, although it still leaves out one-half the human race.
This universal suffrage is inevitably based on the doctrine of human equality, as further interpreted by Franklin
's remark that the poor man has an equal right to the suffrage with the rich man, ‘and more need,’ because he has fewer ways in which to protect himself.
But it is not true, as even such acute European
observers as M. Scherer
and Sir Henry Maine
assume, that ‘democracy is but a form of government;’ for democracy has just as distinct a place in society, and, above all, in the realm of literature.
The touchstone there applied is just the same, and it consists in the essential dignity and value of the individual man. The distinctive attitude of the American
press must lie, if anywhere, in its recognition of this individual importance and worth.
The five words of Jefferson
—words, which Matthew Arnold
pronounced ‘not solid,’ thus