previous next

[328] of Bath county, described the opposite of free government —abroad, he said, people saw in government ‘an entity different from themselves.’ When people feel that their government is their own, one for which they are responsible, that the administration of justice represents their own conviction of what is just; so long, said the speaker, ‘we can count on a continuance of free government.’ But why go abroad for the object lesson which on such continental scale, has been seen at home? The republican party, said Wendall Phillips, ‘is—a party of the North pledged against the South.’

In 1856, Rufus Choate, in contemplation of a government thus acquired by the North, wrote: ‘I turn my eyes from the consequences. To the fifteen States of the South that government will appear an alien government. It will appear worse. It will appear a hostile government.’ Was the government organized in 1861 ‘responsive to the will of the people,’ or responsive to the will of a North ‘pledged against the South?’ Was it unnatural for them against whom it was ‘pledged’ to see in it ‘an entity different from themselves; in a sense antagonistic to themselves;’ and to feel they could not ‘count on a continuance of free government’ if this became supreme? It was as if the word went forth, ‘That which moral force has wrung from us, by material force shall be reversed; persuasion having failed to win your voluntary vote, we must needs have corruption of coercion.’ The policy to procure this result had been championed as that of ‘a higher law than the constitution.’ A far higher law, coeval with man's aspiration to be free; not at variance with the constitution, but intended to be secured thereby; was the right of a free people to be free of alien rule. For a free people there can be but one ground for submission to such rule; that the ability to resist is lacking. Laws for one community imposed by another foreign in sympathy, opposed in interest, was not current with our forefathers as the idea of self-government.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Bath County (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Wendall Phillips (1)
Rufus Choate (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1861 AD (1)
1856 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: