Page images

powers provides for the erection of monarchy upon its ruins. And yet how have the Hamiltonians manipulated the effects of the war and distorted its meaning if not to cry out that all constitutional questions were laid at rest by the war? They declare that strict construction, a mere federalistic fiction, was shot to death at Gettysburg, as if that gave them the warrant to write such implied powers into the riddled constitution as they desire, or even to ignore it for the purpose of throwing off its crippling limitations in order that the United States may be as powerful as the monarchies of the old world.

Thus have Hamiltonism and Marshallism conducted the republic to imperialism. However pure Marshall's private character may have been, however exalted his abilities or however patriotic his course in the revolutionary war his career stands for evil in the republic if his influence leads to the overthrow of the constitution or can be employed to that end. It was not confidence in man but in distrust of human nature, that the constitution was adopted reserving to the states or the people all powers not delegated to the United States. "To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power no longer susceptible of any definition.” The doctrine of implied powers as construed by Marshall is a flat contradiction of the very intent of the constitution and thus turns into futility the declaration of independence. The blood of those who fell at Lexington and Concord cries out against their evil activity. To what beginning do the American people look for

their government? To the exalted thought of revolutionary demigods and to the consent of that bold people who adopted a written constitution by popular voice. To what beginning do the English people look for their government? To the force of William the Conqueror, who subdued and despoiled them by the sword and ruled them in contempt of their choice. Why confuse these two systems? Why exalt those who avowedly sought to pervert the republic and cast the shadow of unmerited shame upon those who founded the only republic that ever existed? The experiment is in the hands of the American people. They may destroy the republic, but they cannot obliterate the principles of Jefferson and the declaration of independence. If in the evolution of the world's history this republic was not destined to be perpetuated the truths upon

which it was founded will nevertheless survive all the shocks of time and will become the corner stones of some perfect fabric ages hence, so that a government of the people shall indeed not perish from the earth.

THOMAS JEFFERSON. Jefferson's birthday in these days is not generally celebrated at the banquet board. His character lacked the militant element which lends itself to the paganistic rites of the feast, the toast, and the high-sounding eulogium. He won no battles, he conquered no visible foe, he captured no concrete strongholds. His life was intellectual and peaceful. His mind was engaged with the sciences, with historical studies, with the practical arts, with music, with polite literature and with a new form of statesmanship. He had sworn eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. The warfare which he waged was in the domain of mind. It was against injustice, special privilege, ignorance and bigotry. These were the foes whose citadels he reduced and whose armies he subdued. Do such victories appeal to the heavy imagination of commercialism? Moreover, Jefferson is memorialized on the 4th of July, which as a national holiday really engages itself with honoring the work of this man.

Who else in American history has such universal tribute paid him?

Latterly also the root and branch of despotism have flourished to some extent in this land and a systematic effort is apparent to find some other character prophetic of the day and sympathetic with its temporary movement. Jefferson will not suffer to any great

He was

extent by this conspiracy. He will come into his own in due season. He is the genius of this republic and of the republican system and his course was not accomplished to be supplanted by some secondary influence. The real logic of history is not that way. He is to statesmanship what Luther was to the reformation and Newton to science. And he shares with them to some extent their disadvantage of after-dinner talk. But, on the other hand, who else furnishes a better theme for oratory as that art should be practiced? Here was a hundred handed man. a great lawyer, he was a scientist, a musician, a scholar, an inventor, a writer and a statesman. Like Goethe, he studied everything and tried everything. He was mediocre in nothing that he attempted. He had observed the proprieties of life. Scandal never touched his name. Party rancor failed to impeach his motives. He was just. He was generous. He was devoted to liberty and truth. There was no humbug in him. He developed no mysticism of a flag with which to enslave the minds of his fellows. He put government in the sunlight, where its workings could be seen. He was therefore hated by those who wanted to perpetuate the superstitions of the past that the administration of public affairs is a mysterious agency not to be analyzed but to be feared and worshiped. His comprehensive mind grasped the spirit of the day. If he discovered no political principles he stated those already known in such language that they have become the very elements of thought. He is the most conspicuous success in history in the application of great principles to practical affairs. He carved out the

sphere of the state. He defined the rights of the citizen in the state. He furnished every president after him, including Lincoln, with a policy and a reason for the policy. There is no system in opposition to his which is avowed and denied. Even imperialism is justified under the pretense of giving the Filipinos liberty. What greater tribute can his enemies pay him when they fear to do evil, except in the name of Jefferson? They admit his power in the land when they call the Philippine aggression the same thing as the Louisiana purchase.

What man at 33 years of age has contributed to civilization in any form such a motive power as the declaration of independence? This was an inspirational stroke which fitted into the time; in fact, we cannot conceive of the world without it. It interprets the new epoch. It is a charter of liberty beside which magna charta and the instrument of government are as dull as a declaration for slander. Who else had so elevated his mind and humanized his heart that he could have written it? It stated fundamental truths, but in such language that they armed revolution, fired the conscience of the people and raised the hopes of a discouraged land. It contains within itself all the aspiration, all the justice and all the beneficence of the human heart. It is intelligible, compact, incapable of being misunderstood or sophisticated. It means the same thing to all men. It is all-inclusive. It is a perfect repository of political truth and philosophy. It defies the insolence of monarchy and grinds to powder the absurd pretension of divine right. It takes the angry assaults of selfish expediency and special

« PreviousContinue »