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American now holds his head high, proud in the knowledge that he belongs to a nation whose glorious past and great present will be succeeded by an even mightier future; whereas had you failed we would all of us, North and South, East and West, be now treated by other nations at the best with contemptuous tolerance; at the worst with overbearing insolence.
Moreover, every friend of liberty, every believer in self-government, every idealist who wished to see his ideals take practical shape, wherever he might be in the world, knew that the success of all in which he most believed was bound up with the success of the Union armies in this great struggle. I confidently predict that when the final judgment of history is recorded it will be said that in no other war of which we have written record was it more vitally essential for the welfare of mankind that victory should rest where it finally rested. There have been other wars for individual freedom. There have been other wars for national greatness. But there has never been another war in which the issues at stake were so large, looked at from either standpoint. We take just pride in the great deeds of the men of 1776, but we must keep in mind that the Revolutionary War would have been shorn of well-nigh all its results had the side of union and liberty been defeated in the Civil War. In such case we should merely have added another to the lamentably long list of cases in which peoples have shown that after winning their liberty they are wholly unable to make good use of it.
It now rests with us in civil life to make good by our deeds the deeds which you who wore the blue did in the great years from '61 to '65. The patriotism, the courage, the unflinching resolution, and steadfast endurance of the soldiers whose triumph was crowned at Appomattox must be supplemented on our part by civic courage, civic honesty, cool sanity, and steadfast adherence to the
immutable laws of righteousness. You left us a reunited country; reunited in fact as well as in name. You left us the right of brotherhood with your gallant foes who wore the gray; the right to feel pride in their courage and their high fealty to an ideal, even though they warred against the stars in their courses. You left us also the most splendid example of what brotherhood really means; for in your careers you showed in practical fashion that the only safety in our American life lies in spurning the accidental distinctions which sunder one man from another, and in paying homage to each man only because of what he essentially is; in stripping off the husks of occupation, of position, of accident, until the soul stands forth revealed, and we know the man only because of his worth as a man.
There was no patent device for securing victory by force of arms forty years ago; and there is no patent device for securing victory for the forces of righteousness in civil life now. In each case the all-important factor was and is the character of the individual man. Good laws in the State, like a good organization in an army, are the expressions of national character. Leaders will be developed in military and in civil life alike; and weapons and tactics change from generation to generation, as methods of achieving good government change in civic affairs; but the fundamental qualities which make for good citizenship do not change any more than the fundamental qualities which make good soldiers. In the long run in the Civil War the thing that counted for more than aught else was the fact that the average American had the fighting edge; had within him the spirit which spurred him on through toil and danger, fatigue and hardship, to the goal of the splendid ultimate triumph. So in achieving good government the fundamental factor must be the character of the average citizen; that average citizen's power of hatred for what is mean and base and unlovely; his fearless scorn
of cowardice, and his determination to war unyieldingly against the dark and sordid forces of evil.
The Continental troops who followed Washington were clad in blue and buff, and were armed with clumsy, flintlock muskets. You, who followed Grant, wore the famous old blue uniform, and your weapons had changed as had your uniform; and now the men of the American Army who uphold the honor of the flag in the far tropic lands are yet differently armed and differently clad and differently trained; but the spirit that has driven you all to victory has remained forever unchanged. So it is in civil life. As you did not win in a month or a year, but only after long years of hard and dangerous work, so the fight for governmental honesty and efficiency can be won only by the display of similar patience and similar resolution and power of endurance. We need the same type of character now that was needed by the men who with Washington first inaugurated the system of free popular government, the system of combined liberty and order here on this continent; that was needed by the men who under Lincoln perpetuated the government which had thus been inaugurated in the days of Washington. The qualities essential to good citizenship and to good public service now are in all their essentials exactly the same as in the days when the first Congresses met to provide for the establishment of the Union; as in the days, seventy years later, when the Congresses met which had to provide for its salvation.
There are many qualities which we need alike in private citizen and in public man, but three above all,—three for the lack of which no brilliancy and no genius can atone, and those three are courage, honesty, and common sense.
AT THE UNVEILING OF THE SHERMAN STATUE,
WASHINGTON, OCTOBER 15, 1903
General Dodge, Veterans of the Four Great Armies, and
you, my fellow-citizens : To-day we meet together to do honor to the memory of one of the great men whom, in the hour of her agony, our nation brought forth for her preservation. The Civil War was, not only in the importance of the issues at stake and of the outcome the greatest of modern times, but it was also, taking into account its duration, the severity of the fighting, and the size of the armies engaged, the greatest since the close of the Napoleonic struggles. Among the generals who rose to high position as leaders of the various armies in the field are many who will be remembered in our history as long as this history itself is remembered. Sheridan, the incarnation of fiery energy and prowess; Thomas, far-sighted, cool-headed, whose steadfast courage burned ever highest in the supreme moment of the crisis; McClellan, with his extraordinary gift for organization; Meade, victor in one of the decisive battles of all time; Hancock, type of the true fighting man among the regulars; Logan, type of the true fighting man among the volunteers the names of these and of many others will endure so long as our people hold sacred the memory of the fight for union and for liberty. High among these chiefs rise the figures of Grant and of
Grant's great lieutenant, Sherman, whose statue here in the national capital is to-day to be unveiled. It is not necessary here to go over the long roll of Sherman's mighty feats. They are written large throughout the history of the Civil War. Our memories would be poor indeed if we did not recall them now, as we look along Pennsylvania Avenue and think of the great triumphal march which surged down its length when at the close of the war the victorious armies of the East and of the West met here in the capital of the nation they had saved.
There is a peculiar fitness in commemorating the great deeds of the soldiers who preserved this nation, by suitable monuments at the national capital. I trust we shall soon have a proper statue of Abraham Lincoln, to whom more than to any other one man this nation owes its salvation. Meanwhile, on behalf of the people of the nation, I wish to congratulate all of you who have been instrumental in securing the erection of this statue to General Sherman.
The living can best show their respect for the memory of the great dead by the way in which they take to heart and act upon the lessons taught by the lives which made these dead men great. Our homage to-day to the memory of Sherman comes from the depths of our being. We would be unworthy citizens did we not feel profound gratitude toward him, and those like him and under him, who, when the country called in her dire need, sprang forward with such gallant eagerness to answer that call. Their blood and their toil, their endurance and patriotism, have made us and all who come after us forever their debtors. They left us not merely a reunited country, but a country incalculably greater because of its rich heritage in the deeds which thus left it reunited. As a nation we are the greater, not only for the valor and devotion to duty displayed by the men in blue, who won in the