On American Democracy


(a)        “The Right of the majority to rule”, Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 7 1861


…[We] are fighting for … [a] great fundamental principle of republican Government – the right of the majority to rule. When the ballot-box was substituted for revolution, it was thought that all violent changes in established governments, all sudden overthrowing of political structures, would be obviated, for the will of the people could be peacefully known through the ballot, and their legally established rule be patiently submitted to. So long as it answered the purpose of maintaining power in the hands of the would-be-oligarchs, its decrees were acknowledged as binding; but soon as it threatened to put power really in the hands of the majority, those who labor for their living, then the discovery is made that our institutions rest on a wrong basis, and the political equality is neither desirable for social prosperity, nor practicable for political permanency. We are fighting to expunge this great political error, and to prove to the world, that the free Democratic spirit which established a government, is equal to its protection and its maintenance. If this is not worth fighting for, then our revolt against England was a crime, and our Republican Government a fraud.



(b)        “The cause of constitutional liberty the world over”, Columbus Gazette, June 21 1861


It is not only now to be decided whether government shall put down insurrection, or insurgents shall put down government, but it is a struggle in the decision of which is involved the cause f constitutional liberty the world over. It is not only in issue whether we have a government or not, here, but we believe it is now being decided whether a free government shall again spring up in any quarter of the globe. If under circumstances as favorable as those under which we have made the experiment, a republican form of government is a failure, what nation will have the audacity to test again an experiment which has so often been tested, and has in every instance so signally failed?