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by the intrigues of faction, or the arts of ambition, to adopt any measures, which shall subvert then. If this confidence in ourselves be justified, (and who among Americans does not feel a just pride in endeavouring to maintain it?) let us never forget, that it can be justified only by a watchfulness and zeal proportionate to our confidence. Let us never forget, that we must prove ourselves wiser, and better, and purer, than any other nation ever yet has been, if we are to count upon success. Every other republic has fallen by the discords and treachery of its own citizens. It has been said by one of our departed statesmen, himself a devout admirer of popular government, that power is perpetually stealing from the many to the few. It has been said by one of the greatest orators of antiquity, whose life was devoted to the republic with a zealous but unsuccessful patriotism, that the bad will always attack, with far more spirit, than the good will defend, sound principles. The republic, said be, with a melancholy eloquence, the republic is assailed with far more force and contrivances, than it is defended, because bold and profligate men are impelled by a nod, and move of their own accord against it. But I know not how it happens, the good are always more tardy. They neglect the beginning of things, and are roused only in the last necessity. So that sometimes, by their delay and tardiness, while they wish to retain ease, even without dignity, they lose both. Those, who are willing to be the defenders of the republic, if they are of the lighter sort, desert ; if they are of the more timid sort, they fly. Those alone remain, and stand by the republic, whom no power, no threats, no malice can shake in their resolution.* Such is the lesson of ancient wisdom, admonishing us, as from the grave ; and it was pronounced, as it were, at the very funeral of Roman liberty.

Besides; in other countries, there are many artificial barriers against sudden changes and innovations, which retard, if they do not wholly obstruct them. There are ecclesiastical and civil establishments, venerable from their antiquity, and engrafted into the very habits, and feelings, and pre udices of the people. There are hereditary honors and privileges, the claims of aristocracy, and the influences of wealth, accumulated and perpetuated in a few families. We have none of these to embarrass, or overawe us. Our statutes, regulating the descent of estates, have entirely broken down all the ordinary means of undue accumulation ; and our just pride is, that the humblest and highest citizens are upon a footing of equality.

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Nothing here can resist the will of the people ; and nothing, certainly, ought to resist their deliberate will. The elements of change are, therefore, about us in every direction, from the fundamental articles of our constitutions of government, down to the by-laws of the humblest municipality.

Changes, then, may be wrought by public opinion, wherever it shall lead us. They may be sudden, or they may be slow; they may be for the worse, as well as for the better; they may be the solid growth of a sober review of public principles, and a more enlightened philosophy ; or they may be the spurious product of a hasty and ill advised excitement, Aying from evils, which it knows and feels, to those far greater, which it sees not, and may never be able to redress. They may be the artful delusions of selfish men, taking advantage of a momentary popularity, or the deep laid plan of designing men, to overthrow the foundations of all free institutions. This very facility of introducing changes should make us more, scrupulous in adopting innovations; since they often bring permanent evils in their train, and compensate us only by accidental and temporary good. What is safe, is not always expedient; what is theoretically true, is often practically false, or doubtful; what, at the first glance, seems beneficial and plausible, is, upon more mature examination, often found to be mischievous or inefficient ; what constitutes the true policy and security of free governments, lies, not unfrequently, so distant from immediate observation and experience, that it is rashly rejected, or coldly received. Hence, it has been remarked, that a free people rarely bestow on good rulers the powers necessary for their own permanent protection, and as rarely withhold from bad ones those, which may be used for their own destruction.

Again, independently of the common causes, which are constantly at work in all governments, founded upon the common passions and infirmities of human nature, there are in re publics some peculiar causes to stimulate political discontents, to awaken corrupt ambition, and to generate violent parties. Factions are the natural, nay, perhaps, the necessary growth of all free governments; and they must prevail with more activity and influence, just in proportion, as they enlist in their ranks the interest and power of numbers. Where all the citizens are, practically speaking, voters, it is obvious, that the destiny of public men and public measures must essentially depend on the contest at the polls, and the wisdom of the choice, which is there made. We need not be told, that many other influences are present on such occasions, besides those, which arise from talents, merit, and public services. We need not be told, how many secret springs are at work, to obstruct that perfect freedom and independence of choice, which are so essential to make the ballotbox the just index of public opinion. We need not be told, how often the popular delusions of the day are seized upon, to deprive the best patriots of their just reward, and to secure the triumph of the selfish, the cunning, and the timeserving. And yet, unless the people do at all times possess virtue, and firmness, and intelligence enough, to reject such inischievous influences; unless they are well instructed in public affairs, and resolutely maintain the principles of the constitution, it is obvious, that the government itself must soon degenerate into an oligarchy; and the dominant faction will rule with an unbounded and desolating energy. The external forms of machinery of the republic may continue to exist, like the solemn pageantry of the Roman Senate, in the times of the emperors; but the informning spirit will have departed, and leave behind it only the faded and melancholy memorials of irretrievable decay.

I have but glanced at these considerations, each of which might well furnish a topic for a full discourse. If the remarks already suggested are in any measure well founded, they establish the great truth, that, as, in the American republic, the people themselves are not only the source of all power, but the immediate organs and instruments of its due exercise, at all times, it is of everlasting importance to them to study the principles of government; and thoroughly to comprehend men, as well as measures, tendencies, as well as acts, and corrupting influences, as well as open usurpations. To whom can we justly look for the preservation of our public liberties and social rights; for the encouragement of piety, religion, and learning; for the impartial administration of justice and equity; for wise and wholesome laws, and a scrupulous public faith ; but to a people, who shall lay a solid foundation for all these things in their early education ; who shall strengthen them by an habitual reverence and approbation ; and who shall jealously watch every encroachment, which may weaken the guards, or sap the supports, on which they rest?

And this leads me to the next topic, upon which I propose to address you ; and that is, the practicability of teaching the science of government, as a branch of popular education. If it be not capable of being so taught, then, indeed, well may patriots and

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philanthropists, as well as philosophers, sink into profound despair in regard to the duration of our republic. But it appears to me, that we are by no means justified in arriving at such a desponding conclusion. On the contrary, we may well indulge a firm and lively hope, that, by making the science of government an indispensable branch of popular education, we may gradually prepare the way for such a mastery of its principles, by the people at large, as shall confound the sophist, repress the corrupt, disarm the cunning, animate the patriotic, and sustain the moral and religious.

It is true, that a thorough mastery of the science of government, in all its various operations, requires a whole life of laborious diligence. But it is equally true, that many of its general principles admit of a simple enunciation, and may be brought within the comprehension of the most common minds. In this respect, it does not materially differ from any of the abstract physical sciences. Few of the latter are, in their full extent, within the reach of any, but the highest class of minds; but many of the elements are, nevertheless, within the scope of common education, and are attainable by ordinary diligence. It is not necessary, that every citizen should be a profound statesman. But it may, nevertheless, be of vast consequence, that he should be an enlightened, as well as an honest voter, and a disciplined thinker, if not an eloquent speaker. He may learn enough to guard himself against the insidious wiles of the demagogue, and the artful appeals of the courtier, and the visionary speculations of the enthusiast ; although he may not be able to solve many of the transcendental problems in political philosophy.

In the first place, as to the constitution of the United States ; (and similar considerations will apply, with at least equal force, to all the state constitutions ;) the text is contained in a few pages, and speaks a language, which is generally clear and intelligible to any youth of the higher classes at our common schools, before the close of the usual academical studies. Nay, it may be stated with confidence, that any boy, of ordinary capacity, may be made fully to understand it, between his fourteenth and sixteenth year, if he has an instructer of reasonable ability and qualifications. He may become possessed of the actual organization and powers of the government, under which he lives, to which he is responsible, and which he is enjoined, by every duty of patriotism and interest, to transmit unimpaired to future generations. He may practically learn the leading divisions of the great powers of all governments, into legislative, executive, and judicial. He may ascertain, in some general way, the definite boundaries and appropriate functions of each. He

may understand yet more; that there are checks and balances every where interposed, to limit power, and prevent oppression, and ensure deliberation, and moderate action. He may perceive, that the House of Representatives cannot make laws, without the coöperation of the Senate ; that the President cannot make appointments, without the consent of the Senate; and yet, that the President can, by his qualified veto, arrest the legislative action of both houses. He may perceive, that the Judiciary, in many parts of its organization, acts through, and by, and under the will of the Legislature and Executive; and yet that it stands, in many respects, independent of each; nay, that it has power to resist the combined operations of both; and to protect the citizens from their unconstitutional proceedings, whether accidental or meditated. He may perceive, that the state governments are indispensable portions of the machinery of national government; that they in some cases control it; and in others, again, are controlled by it; that the same supreme law, which promulgates prohibitions upon certain acts to be done by the States, at the same time promulgates like probibitions upon the acts of the United States. He may perceive, that there are certain leading principles laid down, as the fundamental rules of government; and that they constitute a solemn bill of rights, which must be obeyed, and cannot be gainsaid. He may perceive, that the trial by jury is preserved, as a matter of right, in all cases of crimes, and generally, also, in civil cases; that the liberty of speech and of the press are constitutionally vindicated; that no national religion can be imposed upon the community; that private property cannot be taken away without adequate compensation ; and that the inviolability of public and private contracts is strenuously enforced.

Having arrived at this clear and definite view of the distribution of the powers of government, with the appropriate restrictions belonging to them, he can scarcely fail to ask, What are the reasons, which induced the framers of the constitution to adopt them? It is scarcely possible, that he should be so dull, as not to have some desire to gratify, or so indifferent, as not to bave some curiosity to indulge, such inquiries. When he is told, on every side, that this is the form of government best calculated to secure his personal happiness, and animate his love of liberty; it would be incredible, that he should feel no interest in ascertaining, why and wherefore

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