This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 us. Every form of government to which we had been accustomed had been twisted and dislocated in its adjustment. We returned to stateless States, to States which had no certain form of government; we returned to municipalities whose government had been substantially wiped out, and in their place no new rules would apply; and yet we returned able to form out of the elements which remained undestroyed, our own government. There is something in this Anglo-Saxon race—or I think it would be better to say in this Teutonic family of ours, for that is the broader term—there is something peculiarly constructive and orderly. We are the law-makers of the world. We are the constructors of empires; we are the builders of States; anywhere, everywhere this language of ours is spoken, the very fact that it is spoken is conclusive proof that order there abides. If it is in a camp on the western plains, there was, every night, where the camp was pitched, order; and he who violated the law was tried and hung or acquitted. You can take an isolated body of us, whether at Plymouth Rock or in the Mayflower, or in Jamestown or Newport News, or down in Georgia, or on the gold coasts of California, and instantly a solemn compact is made in which there is an element of constitutional government, and that element set out in an orderly form. Now, if the Confederate had returned home absolutely without government he would have made a government. But he returned without government and without the power to make government. There was a power over him, by virtue of conquest, which stood between him and orderly reconstruction of his government. Over him, controlling him, was a non-resident power. We were infinitely worse off than we were when we landed at Jamestown. We were our own masters then. Now to be a slave was supposed to be the worst condition to which a freeman can ever be reduced; but to be a slave without a master is an infinitely worse condition. We were a surrendered army, under a pretended constitution, with many clamorous masters, who did not know what they wanted to do with us and could not agree among themselves. I do not say this in censure of anybody; I am not recalling those sad days to discuss them; I am simply trying to present them to you for the purposes which I may hereafter indicate. Now we were in another condition. We were five or six millions of white people with four millions of black people. A hostile minority a man knows somewhat what to do with. If you put five
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.