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What emancipation meant.

The sequel has shown that the emancipation which descended from the North meant a reconstruction of society, which could only be made effective by force. It carried in its wake the expulsion of a State legislature from its proper hall by the bayonets of the United States. It meant—the emancipators themselves being judge—that government of force which is indispensable when nature is superseded. It meant that which for eight years we had—a government of the bayonet, by the bayonet, and for the bayonet. One who has gained his title to popular applause by meriting the title of ‘Czar,’ very lately renewed his adhesion to this peculiar type of popular government. ‘They said,’ he exclaimed, ‘we could not coerce a State. We coerced eleven. I wish our Republicans had more courage, and we should coerce them until liberty prevails all over this land.’ In one sense the speech is logical. It is the reasoning of logicians who, ‘false to freedom, sought to quell the free.’ Only by force bills is the argument of the South refuted. And yet it is a droll idea of liberty which seeks to instill its blessings at the point of the sword. The distinction between freedom and despotism grows so alarmingly indistinct. No better proof could be given of the extent to which the movement, vainly resisted by the South, has revolutionized free institutions, than that such a compulsory freedom should have been the serious thought and purposed order of the day. ‘What is all the noise in the street?’ said a gentleman in conscription time in New York. ‘Oh, nothing, sir,’ said Pat, ‘they are only forcing a man to turn volunteer.’ Such would be the comedy of the new logic if its serious adoption does not turn it into tragedy. [279]

Nevertheless in the same year in which Virginia emancipation was receiving such cold comfort in Ohio, on all other questions—financial, economic, and constructive — the mind of Thomas Jefferson had become the governing mind of the country. The principle of ‘justice to all and special privileges to none’ became in this year the unmistakable choice of the States and of the people, and was dethroned only by the civil war. The tariff of this year had restored the revenue standard, which four years earlier had been displaced. It was soon made manifest that this tariff could only be criticised as being too high, and that the welfare of the country called for still further reduction, which in 1857 was ended.

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