Is American Republicanism a Failure?
Easton Daily Evening Express, March 27, 1861
It remains for history to fully reply to this question—so full of momentous import to the entire civilized world. Simultaneous with the establishment of the Independence of the original thirteen colonies, a new era uprose in the annals of time. The natural dignity and equality of man asserted itself in deeds, "more eloquent than words," and that blasphemous theory of the "divine right of kings" was indignantly exploded by the action of a brave and vigorous people, rebelling against long suffering and outrage.
A century has not yet elapsed since that period, and the uncultivated forest has been felled to make way for a populous and flourishing empire, bounded only by the two superior oceans. Wealth and population have been produced and reproduced at such a marvellous ratio of increase, that the "New World" is a geographical term of far more significance than the mere fact of its original discovery foreshadowed.
A new race has been remodelled from the old, whose proud destiny but yesterday seemed to be to enfold the universal world in its own sympathetic bond of freedom—rich in every instinct of Art and Religion.
But truly, we know not what a day may bring forth. The daily miracle of prosperity appears to have lost its charm. Liberty is threatened with immolation on the alter of avarice and ambition.—Our prestige would seem to be fast departing our proud boast becoming as "a sounding brass or as a tinkling cymbal," and our government—commencing with the fairist auspices on which the sun of Liberty ever shone—threatens to end in frightful Pandemonium.
What remarkable trait is it in our national character which seems to render us impatient of our own unexampled prosperity? Is it that man has only a certain capacity for happiness, and that beyond that point a reaction of necessity transpires? Has Providence prescribed certain bounds [to] human excellence and ingenuity, saying: "thus far shalt thou go and no further?" Or, (what seems to us far more probable,) has our prosperity corrupted us as a nation, at this early period in our history, and rendered us too unmindful of that High Source to whom we owe our all of national and individual success and happiness?
These are indeed grave questions of consideration—worthy of the reflection of the sage, the legislator, the philanthropist, and patriot. And he, who sinking his own selfish policy in favor of principle or party, shall step forward at this hour of our national extremity, and rescue a hitherto happy and united people from the dark chaos of threatened dissolution and internal warfare—he, who shall weave reunion out of discord, and cement in holier bonds of brotherhood these decaying fragments of the greatest political system the world ever saw—his position in annals of fame and story it is easy to determine. Side by side with the illustrious Washington will he march down throughout all time—the one the creator, the other the saviour of his country. And springing into new life and taking fresh hope from this "happy issue out of all our difficulties" we will learn wisdom of the past—guard our future with religious caution, and in a renewed and undying bond of inseperable union we shall shine forth as ever—unbroken, undimmed and unharmed—the Light of the World!!