November 5th, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Among the many voices raised in Europe over the disaster of secession, amid the groans of sorrow, cries of indignation and tones of sympathy which reach us from many lands beyond the sea, there is one neither loud nor mocking, but which, like the endless monotone in the poet’s description of the uproar in hell, is more tormenting than all the other sounds combined. We mean that complacent “We told you so” of the friends of the old order of things — of the men who have always predicted the downfall of the Republic — not from any knowledge of us, but from the arbitrary assumption that Democracy is a false principle, and that, therefore, every Republic must be a failure.
It may strike the reader as a quibble, as an absurdity, or as a falsehood, should we, in refutation of this principle of absolutiism and oligarchy, ask at this time of day if the United States of North America have really at any time actually constituted a Republican Government. We have been so accustomed to hear from infancy eulogies of the wisdom which shaped our Constitution, praises of its perfection, hymns to its symmetry and strength, that to doubt its fullness of all excellence has come to sound like sacrilege. A hundred refutations have been in bygone days hurled back at the skeptics; our noblest efforts of oratory and song are dedicated to the immortality of the Union, and we have never ceased to exult over those short-sighted seers of the last generation, who, having calculated the nativity of our Union, fixed its duration at fifty years.
Yet, after all, we may now, in these days of disunion and terror, venture to ask if our Government has, after all, ever been a Republic? Has it been anything, in fact, but an aggregate of confederated States — a mass of republics, if you will, but still not one Government, nor at any time one Republic? What is more expressive of political and social unity than one law for a people; the same for every one bearing the same national name? Yet, we have laws as different in our States as in the various countries of Europe. Louisiana and Massachusetts are an example of this, and the chaotic and conflicting character of jurisprudence in the lower Courts of every State as compared to others, fully confirms what we have said. The mere subject of divorce, with its contradictions, has more than once been pointed out by writers as entirely inconsistent with the idea of a stable and harmonious Government. Instead of striving vigorously to identify all portions of our country into one vast edifice of colossal strength, the tendency of our legislation has constantly been to separate the States still more widely. Local rivalry has developed a pride of mere peculiarity, which has been most disastrous to the sentiment of unity, and still more to that of that all-embracing greatness. Western legislatures have, in the mere luxury of eccentricity and in vanity of power, passed laws apparently with no other object than to be as different from others, and as odd and as provincial as possible. Had there been really but one Government, one country, in fact, this could never have been.