Frasi di George William Curtis

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George William Curtis

Data di nascita: 24. Febbraio 1824
Data di morte: 31. Agosto 1892

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George William Curtis era scrittore, oratore.

Frasi George William Curtis

„And suddenly, in a moment smitten by the avenging storm of fire, choking and struggling in the thick clouds and blood of war, for four years we have desperately wrestled for life, and kneeling among the dear and mangled bodies of our first-born and best-beloved, we have acknowledged that even Yankees cannot shake the throne of God, that he has created men with equal rights, and that morals and politics, which his right hand has joined together, not the shrewdest head nor the basest heart, nor the most prosperous nation nor the most insolent and popular party, nor sneers nor falsehoods, nor mean men nor wicked laws can put asunder“

— George William Curtis
Context: And suddenly, in a moment smitten by the avenging storm of fire, choking and struggling in the thick clouds and blood of war, for four years we have desperately wrestled for life, and kneeling among the dear and mangled bodies of our first-born and best-beloved, we have acknowledged that even Yankees cannot shake the throne of God, that he has created men with equal rights, and that morals and politics, which his right hand has joined together, not the shrewdest head nor the basest heart, nor the most prosperous nation nor the most insolent and popular party, nor sneers nor falsehoods, nor mean men nor wicked laws can put asunder. Ah, fathers, mothers, lovers, whose darlings come no more, you whose sad voices ask, 'What have we gained? what have we gained?' how can your aching hearts believe it, but this war of four years, so full of doubt and anguish, was infinitely nobler and more glorious than the thirty years of peace before it. Four years more of such peace would have slain the very soul of the nation; and because the country was still strong enough to tear off that fair and fatal robe of compromise, because she bared her bosom and bravely endured the sharp torture of the knife, to-day the cancer is cut away, and she stands erect, though bleeding, and thanks God for health renewed.

„You say you are tired of the eternal Negro. Very well, stop trying to turn a man into a thing because he happens to be black, and you'll stop our mouths at the same time. But while you keep at your work, be perfectly sure that we shall keep at ours. If you are up at five o'clock, we shall be up at four. We shall agitate, agitate, agitate, until the Supreme Court, obeying the popular will, proclaims that all men have original equal rights which government did not give and cannot justly take away“

— George William Curtis
Context: This negative doctrine of Mr. Douglas that there are no rights anterior to governments is the end of free society. If the majority of a political community have a right to establish slavery if they think it for their interest, they have the same right to declare who shall be enslaved. The doctrine simply substitutes the despotic, irresponsible tyranny of many for that of one. If the majority shall choose that the interest of the State requires the slaughter of all infants born lame, of all persons more than seventy years of age, they have the right to slaughter them, according to what is called the Democratic doctrine. Do you think this a ludicrous and extreme case? But if the majority have a right to deprive a man of his liberty at their pleasure, they have an equal right to take his life. For life is no more a natural right than liberty. The individual citizen, according to Mr. Douglas, is not secure in his person, in his property, in his family, for a single moment from the whim or the passion or the deliberate will of the majority, if expressed as law. Might is not right. I have the power to hold a child by the throat until he turns purple and dies. But I have not the right to do it. A State or a Territory has the power to steal a man's liberty or labor, and to hold him and his children's children forever in slavery. It has the power to do this to any man of any color, of any age, of any country, who is not strong enough to protect himself. But it has no more right to do it to an African than to an American or an Irishman, no more right to do it to the most ignorant and forsaken foreigner than to the prosperous and honored citizen of its own country. We are going to do what Patrick Henry did in Virginia, what James Otis and Samuel Adams did in Massachusetts, what the Sons of Liberty did in New York, ninety years ago. We are going to agitate, agitate, agitate. You say you want to rest. Very well, so do we — and don't blame us if you stuff your pillow with thorns. You say you are tired of the eternal Negro. Very well, stop trying to turn a man into a thing because he happens to be black, and you'll stop our mouths at the same time. But while you keep at your work, be perfectly sure that we shall keep at ours. If you are up at five o'clock, we shall be up at four. We shall agitate, agitate, agitate, until the Supreme Court, obeying the popular will, proclaims that all men have original equal rights which government did not give and cannot justly take away.

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„On Palm Sunday, at Appomattox Court House, the spirit of feudalism, of aristocracy, of injustice in this country, surrendered, in the person of Robert E. Lee, the Virginian slave-holder, to the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and of equal rights, in the person of Ulysses S. Grant, the Illinois tanner. So closed this great campaign in the 'Good Fight of Liberty'. So the Army of the Potomac, often baffled, struck an immortal blow, and gave the right hand of heroic fellowship to their brethren of the West. So the silent captain, when all his lieutenants had secured their separate fame, put on the crown of victory and ended civil war. As fought the Lieutenant-General of the United States, so fight the United States themselves, in the 'Good Fight of Man'. With Grant's tenacity, his patience, his promptness, his tranquil faith, let us assault the new front of the old enemy. We, too, must push through the enemy's Wilderness, holding every point we gain. We, too, must charge at daybreak upon his Spottsylvania Heights. We, too, must flank his angry lines and push them steadily back. We, too, must fling ourselves against the baffling flames of Cold Harbor. We, too, outwitting him by night, must throw our whole force across swamp and river, and stand entrenched before his capital. And we, too, at last, on some soft, auspicious day of spring, loosening all our shining lines, and bursting with wild battle music and universal shout of victory over the last desperate defense, must occupy the very citadel of caste, force the old enemy to final and unconditional surrender, and bring Boston and Charleston to sing Te Deum together for the triumphant equal rights of man“

— George William Curtis
Context: Yes, yes, caste is a glacier, cold, towering, apparently as eternal as the sea itself. But at last that glittering mountain of ice touches the edge of the Gulf Stream. Down come pinnacle and peak, frosty spire and shining cliff. Like a living monster of shifting hues, a huge chameleon of the sea, the vast mass silently rolls and plunges and shrinks, and at last utterly disappears in that inexorable warmth of water. So with us the glacier has touched the Gulf Stream. On Palm Sunday, at Appomattox Court House, the spirit of feudalism, of aristocracy, of injustice in this country, surrendered, in the person of Robert E. Lee, the Virginian slave-holder, to the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and of equal rights, in the person of Ulysses S. Grant, the Illinois tanner. So closed this great campaign in the 'Good Fight of Liberty'. So the Army of the Potomac, often baffled, struck an immortal blow, and gave the right hand of heroic fellowship to their brethren of the West. So the silent captain, when all his lieutenants had secured their separate fame, put on the crown of victory and ended civil war. As fought the Lieutenant-General of the United States, so fight the United States themselves, in the 'Good Fight of Man'. With Grant's tenacity, his patience, his promptness, his tranquil faith, let us assault the new front of the old enemy. We, too, must push through the enemy's Wilderness, holding every point we gain. We, too, must charge at daybreak upon his Spottsylvania Heights. We, too, must flank his angry lines and push them steadily back. We, too, must fling ourselves against the baffling flames of Cold Harbor. We, too, outwitting him by night, must throw our whole force across swamp and river, and stand entrenched before his capital. And we, too, at last, on some soft, auspicious day of spring, loosening all our shining lines, and bursting with wild battle music and universal shout of victory over the last desperate defense, must occupy the very citadel of caste, force the old enemy to final and unconditional surrender, and bring Boston and Charleston to sing Te Deum together for the triumphant equal rights of man.

„Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, and West Virginia, which forbid an entire class of their citizens to vote upon equal qualifications with others. And why? Because the party of hostility to human rights, which is 'conservative' in this growing, aspiring, expanding country, exactly as sheet-iron swaddling-clothes are conservative of a new-born babe, pursued by the pitiless logic of the sublime American principle and driven from one absurdity to another, now claims that ours is 'a white man's government'. Oh, no! Gentlemen, you may wish to make it so, but it was not made so. The false history of Judge Taney was promptly corrected from Judge Taney's bench by Justice Curtis“

— George William Curtis
Context: But the spirit of caste, if naturally more malignant in a region where personal slavery has been abolished against the will of the dominant class, is not confined to it. We are apt to draw the line geographically, but it will not run so. They may be sad goats on the other side of the line, but we sheep may find an occasional speck in our virtuous wool. 'Caste must be maintained', say the governors and legislatures of Mississippi and Louisiana and Alabama and North and South Carolina and Georgia.' 'Amen', says Connecticut, 'that is a political wooden nutmeg for this market'. 'Amen', says New York, which prefers to pour political power into a foreign white whiskey-skin rather than into a native sound and serviceable vessel of a darker hue. 'Amen', says Indiana, which asks her colored children to fight and die for her upon the battle-field, and refuses by her laws to permit the survivors to return to their homes. 'Amen', say Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, and West Virginia, which forbid an entire class of their citizens to vote upon equal qualifications with others. And why? Because the party of hostility to human rights, which is 'conservative' in this growing, aspiring, expanding country, exactly as sheet-iron swaddling-clothes are conservative of a new-born babe, pursued by the pitiless logic of the sublime American principle and driven from one absurdity to another, now claims that ours is 'a white man's government'. Oh, no! Gentlemen, you may wish to make it so, but it was not made so. The false history of Judge Taney was promptly corrected from Judge Taney's bench by Justice Curtis.

„We thought we could and we tried it. The breath of our national nostrils was equal rights. The jewel of our soul was fair play for all men. But, selecting one class of our population, we denied to them every natural right and sought to extinguish their very humanity. Resistance was hopeless, but they protested silently by still wearing the form of man, of which we could not deprive them. Planting both feet upon the prostrate and helpless, men as much as we, we politely invited the world to contemplate the prosperity of the United States“

— George William Curtis
Context: We thought we could and we tried it. The breath of our national nostrils was equal rights. The jewel of our soul was fair play for all men. But, selecting one class of our population, we denied to them every natural right and sought to extinguish their very humanity. Resistance was hopeless, but they protested silently by still wearing the form of man, of which we could not deprive them. Planting both feet upon the prostrate and helpless, men as much as we, we politely invited the world to contemplate the prosperity of the United States. Forests falling, factories humming, gold glittering in every man's pocket! Above all, would the world please to take notice that it was a land of liberty, and that we offered a happy home to the oppressed of every clime? 'A wise and sensible man was John Rutledge of South Carolina', smiled the complacent country, smoothing its full pockets, 'morals have nothing to do with politics'. 'Good', mutters the ostrich, as he buries his head in the sand, 'now nobody sees me'.

„It is a wise old saw that warns us not to whistle until we are out of the woods.“

— George William Curtis
Context: It is a wise old saw that warns us not to whistle until we are out of the woods. But, as we climb the Alps and, emerging from the morass and forest, set once more the sun and the broad landscape, we may fairly shout and sing, although we are still toiling on, and are yet far below the pure peaks towards which we go. In our Revolution, a man who saw distinctly, as we can now see, that the triumph of Great Britain would have imperiled constitutional liberty everywhere, surely had a right to rejoice over the victory of Saratoga, though it was not the end of the war. The battle did not end the war, indeed. The Tories sneered and bade the Yankees wait. They did wait. They waited from Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga to Comwallis's surrender at Yorktown. Yankee pluck, as usual, waited until it won, as in later days it waited from Bull Run to Richmond. The battle of Saratoga was a skirmish compared with our later battles, but it was a fatal blow to Tory supremacy upon this continent. It was a gleam of sunshine in which it was right to shout and sing, for it was another great gain in the 'Good Fight of Man'.

„Come! Come! Brothers of my race, whether at the north or south, these things which we all execrate and abhor were the work of men of our own color. Let us clasp hands in speechless shame, and confess that manhood in America is to be measured not by the color of the skin, but by the quality of the soul“

— George William Curtis
Context: Inferior race? Was it they who carved the skulls of our boys into drinking-cups and their bones into trinkets? Was it they who starved and froze our brothers into idiocy and madness at Andersonville and Belle-Isle? Was it they who hunted our darlings with bloodhounds, or hung faithful Union men before the very eyes of their wives and children? Come! Come! Brothers of my race, whether at the north or south, these things which we all execrate and abhor were the work of men of our own color. Let us clasp hands in speechless shame, and confess that manhood in America is to be measured not by the color of the skin, but by the quality of the soul.

„The country was divided between the Whig and Democratic organizations. The Democratic Party then, as now, was in open alliance with slavery, in a conspiracy against the Constitution and the peace of the country.“

— George William Curtis
Context: The country was divided between the Whig and Democratic organizations. The Democratic Party then, as now, was in open alliance with slavery, in a conspiracy against the Constitution and the peace of the country. Of that there was no hope; and when the Whig party at Baltimore with fabulous fatuity dodged the question, the great Whig party, newly painted and repaired, with all its guns burnished, its drums beating and colors flying, went down in a moment clean out of sight, like the Royal George at Spithead, and of all that stately craft there remain but a few ancient mariners drifting half-drowned in the water, and sputtering with winking eyes that the ship had better try another voyage.

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„What advantages has the 'Good Fight of Man' gained in the war? We have shown, first, that a popular government, under which the poorest and the most ignorant of every race but one are equal voters with the richest and most intelligent, is the most powerful and flexible in history. It is proved to be neither violent nor cruel nor impatient, but fixed in purpose, faithful to its own officers, tolerant of vast expense, of enormous losses, of torturing delays, and strongest at the very points where fatal weakness was most suspected“

— George William Curtis
Context: What is our reckoning, then? How far are we towards Cathay? What advantages has the 'Good Fight of Man' gained in the war? We have shown, first, that a popular government, under which the poorest and the most ignorant of every race but one are equal voters with the richest and most intelligent, is the most powerful and flexible in history. It is proved to be neither violent nor cruel nor impatient, but fixed in purpose, faithful to its own officers, tolerant of vast expense, of enormous losses, of torturing delays, and strongest at the very points where fatal weakness was most suspected. 'If you put a million of men under arms you will inevitably end in a military despotism', said Europe. 'The re-absorption of an army is the most perilous problem of any nation'. And within six months of the surrender of Lee an English gentleman, Sir Morton Peto, found himself in a huge business office in Chicago, surrounded by scores of clerks quietly engaged with merchandise and ledgers. 'Did you go on so during the war?' he asked. 'Oh, no, Sir Morton. That young man was a corporal, that was a lieutenant, that was a major, that was a colonel. Twenty-seven of us were officers in the army'. 'Indeed!', said the English gentleman. And all Europe, looking across the sea at the same spectacle, magnified by hundreds of thousands, of citizens quietly re-engaged in their various pursuits, echoes the astonished exclamation, 'Indeed!' for it sees that a million of men were in arms for the very purpose of returning to their offices and warehouses to sell their merchandise and post their ledgers in tranquility. Yes, the great army that for four years shook this continent was only the Yankee constable going his rounds.

„The white soul of my race naturally loves the man, of whatever race or color, who bravely fights and gloriously dies for equal rights, and instinctively loathes every man who, saved by the blood of such heroes, deems himself made of choicer clay“

— George William Curtis
Context: A white man's government? Well, I am a white man, I believe. Will anybody undertake to teach me what are the antipathies and loathings of white men? What mean whites may or may not like is of small importance. But the generous soul of my race, which has led the van in the great march of liberty and civilization, and whose lofty path is marked by the broken chains of every form of slavery, has an instinctive hatred of injustice, of exclusive privilege, of arrogance, ignorance, and baseness, and an instinctive love of honor, magnanimity and justice. The white soul of my race naturally loves the man, of whatever race or color, who bravely fights and gloriously dies for equal rights, and instinctively loathes every man who, saved by the blood of such heroes, deems himself made of choicer clay. The spirit of caste asks us to believe the outraged race inferior. Inferior? Inferior in what? In sagacity? In fidelity? In nobility of soul? In the prime qualities of manhood? And who are asked to believe this? We? We, hot, panting, exhausted from a fight for our national life in a part of the country where every white face was probably that of an enemy, and every colored face was surely that of a friend. We are asked to say it, whose brothers and sons, escaping from horrible pens of torture and death hundreds of miles from our lines, made their way through swamps and forests, safe from hungry bloodhounds and fiercer men, back to our homes and hearts, only because the men whom in our triumphant fortune we are asked to betray, in our darkest hour of misfortune risked their lives to save ours.

„I think I have not unfairly stated the spirit of the age, the sentiments of the fathers, and the original doctrine of this government upon the question of slavery. The system was recognized by law, but it was considered an evil which Time was surely removing“

— George William Curtis
Context: Our fathers, therefore, were fully alive to the scope of their words and their work; and thus, as I believe, the Constitution of the United States, in its essential spirit and intention, recognizes the essential manhood of Dred Scott as absolutely as it does that of the President, of the Chief Justice, or of any Senator of the United States. I think I have not unfairly stated the spirit of the age, the sentiments of the fathers, and the original doctrine of this government upon the question of slavery. The system was recognized by law, but it was considered an evil which Time was surely removing. And, as if to put this question at rest forever, to show that the framers of this government did not look forward to a continuance of slavery, Mr. Stephens of Georgia, the most sagacious of the living slavery leaders, says, in June of this year, 'The leading public men of the South, in our early history, were almost all against it. Jefferson was against it. This I freely admit, when the authority of their names is cited. It was a question which they did not, and perhaps could not, thoroughly understand at that time'.

„Our fathers did not say it, because they did not mean it. They were men who meant what they said, and who said what they meant, and meaning all men, they said all men. They were patriots asserting a principle and ready to die for it, not politicians pettifogging for the presidency“

— George William Curtis
Context: The principle of our Revolution, as defined by its leaders with sublime simplicity, was, that as Liberty is a natural right of man, every man has consequent equal rights in society, subject indeed to limitation, but not to annihilation. 'But', cries Mister Douglas, in his Memphis speech last November. I quote his words,. It would have been very easy to say this. Our fathers did not say it, because they did not mean it. They were men who meant what they said, and who said what they meant, and meaning all men, they said all men. They were patriots asserting a principle and ready to die for it, not politicians pettifogging for the presidency.

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„Ah, Mr. Douglas! Mr. Douglas! if the little child just born to you were stolen from your arms and sold into slavery, and you went through fire and water to rescue her, would you say so airily, so jauntily, with such pleasant humor, that if you went to steal her you trust you would be caught and put in jail with other thieves? And yet not more do you love that child hanging at this moment upon her mother's bosom, than an old slave mother whom I know in the hospital across the river loved the child who forty years ago was torn from her breast and sold, and of whose fate for forty years that silent, sorrowing Rachel has not heard?“

— George William Curtis
Context: Mister Douglas in his speech at Memphis expressly says, 'Whenever a territory has a climate, soil, and productions making it the interest of the inhabitants to encourage slave property, they will pass a slave-code and give it encouragement'. He adds that they have a right to do it, and in his late speech at Columbus he declares that there must be no interference with any action of any state, insisting, according to the report, amid great laughter at the exquisite humor of the witticism, 'If you go over to Virginia to steal her Negroes, I trust she will catch you and put you in jail with other thieves'. Ah, Mr. Douglas! Mr. Douglas! if the little child just born to you were stolen from your arms and sold into slavery, and you went through fire and water to rescue her, would you say so airily, so jauntily, with such pleasant humor, that if you went to steal her you trust you would be caught and put in jail with other thieves? And yet not more do you love that child hanging at this moment upon her mother's bosom, than an old slave mother whom I know in the hospital across the river loved the child who forty years ago was torn from her breast and sold, and of whose fate for forty years that silent, sorrowing Rachel has not heard?

„The individual citizen, according to Mr. Douglas, is not secure in his person, in his property, in his family, for a single moment from the whim or the passion or the deliberate will of the majority, if expressed as law. Might is not right. I have the power to hold a child by the throat until he turns purple and dies. But I have not the right to do it. A State or a Territory has the power to steal a man's liberty or labor, and to hold him and his children's children forever in slavery. It has the power to do this to any man of any color, of any age, of any country, who is not strong enough to protect himself. But it has no more right to do it to an African than to an American or an Irishman, no more right to do it to the most ignorant and forsaken foreigner than to the prosperous and honored citizen of its own country“

— George William Curtis
Context: This negative doctrine of Mr. Douglas that there are no rights anterior to governments is the end of free society. If the majority of a political community have a right to establish slavery if they think it for their interest, they have the same right to declare who shall be enslaved. The doctrine simply substitutes the despotic, irresponsible tyranny of many for that of one. If the majority shall choose that the interest of the State requires the slaughter of all infants born lame, of all persons more than seventy years of age, they have the right to slaughter them, according to what is called the Democratic doctrine. Do you think this a ludicrous and extreme case? But if the majority have a right to deprive a man of his liberty at their pleasure, they have an equal right to take his life. For life is no more a natural right than liberty. The individual citizen, according to Mr. Douglas, is not secure in his person, in his property, in his family, for a single moment from the whim or the passion or the deliberate will of the majority, if expressed as law. Might is not right. I have the power to hold a child by the throat until he turns purple and dies. But I have not the right to do it. A State or a Territory has the power to steal a man's liberty or labor, and to hold him and his children's children forever in slavery. It has the power to do this to any man of any color, of any age, of any country, who is not strong enough to protect himself. But it has no more right to do it to an African than to an American or an Irishman, no more right to do it to the most ignorant and forsaken foreigner than to the prosperous and honored citizen of its own country. We are going to do what Patrick Henry did in Virginia, what James Otis and Samuel Adams did in Massachusetts, what the Sons of Liberty did in New York, ninety years ago. We are going to agitate, agitate, agitate. You say you want to rest. Very well, so do we — and don't blame us if you stuff your pillow with thorns. You say you are tired of the eternal Negro. Very well, stop trying to turn a man into a thing because he happens to be black, and you'll stop our mouths at the same time. But while you keep at your work, be perfectly sure that we shall keep at ours. If you are up at five o'clock, we shall be up at four. We shall agitate, agitate, agitate, until the Supreme Court, obeying the popular will, proclaims that all men have original equal rights which government did not give and cannot justly take away.

„Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, walked through the streets of Richmond and respectfully lifted his hat to the men who blacked Louis Wigfall's boots and curried his horse. What did it mean? It meant that the truest American president we have ever had, the companion of Washington in our love and honor, recognized that the poorest man, however outraged, however ignorant, however despised, however black, was, as a man, his equal. The child of the American people was their most prophetic man, because, whether as small shop-keeper, as flat-boatman, as volunteer captain, as honest lawyer, as defender of the Declaration, as President of the United States, he knew by the profoundest instinct and the widest experience and reflection, that in the most vital faith of this country it is just as honorable for an honest man to curry a horse and black a boot as it is to raise cotton or corn, to sell molasses or cloth, to practice medicine or law, to gamble in stocks or speculate in petroleum. He knew the European doctrine that the king makes the gentleman; but he believed with his whole soul the doctrine, the American doctrine, that worth makes the man“

— George William Curtis
Context: In January 1865, Louis Wigfall, one of the rebel chiefs, said, in Richmond, 'Sir, I wish to live in no country where the man who blacks my boots or curries my horse is my equal'. Three months afterwards, when the rebel was skulking away to Mexico, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, walked through the streets of Richmond and respectfully lifted his hat to the men who blacked Louis Wigfall's boots and curried his horse. What did it mean? It meant that the truest American president we have ever had, the companion of Washington in our love and honor, recognized that the poorest man, however outraged, however ignorant, however despised, however black, was, as a man, his equal. The child of the American people was their most prophetic man, because, whether as small shop-keeper, as flat-boatman, as volunteer captain, as honest lawyer, as defender of the Declaration, as President of the United States, he knew by the profoundest instinct and the widest experience and reflection, that in the most vital faith of this country it is just as honorable for an honest man to curry a horse and black a boot as it is to raise cotton or corn, to sell molasses or cloth, to practice medicine or law, to gamble in stocks or speculate in petroleum. He knew the European doctrine that the king makes the gentleman; but he believed with his whole soul the doctrine, the American doctrine, that worth makes the man. He stood with his hand on the helm, and saw the rebel colors of caste flying in the storm of war. He heard the haughty shout of rebellion to the American principle rising above the gale, 'Capital ought to own labor and the laborer, and a few men should monopolize political power'. He heard the cracked and quavering voice of medieval Europe in which that rebel craft was equipped and launched, speaking by the tongue of Alexander Stephens, 'We build on the comer-stone of slavery'. Then calmly waiting until the wildest fury of the gale, the living America, which is our country, mistress of our souls, by the lips of Abraham Lincoln thundered jubilantly back to the dead Europe of the past, 'And we build upon fair play for every man, equality before the laws, and God for us all'.

„Out of the chaos that followed the so-called final settlement of the slavery question in 1850 arose the great political antislavery party, whose vital force is in the conscience of its supporters, whose central idea is the original American principle, the equality of human rights, and whose unswerving policy is the planting of the government ineradicably upon that principle. It is a party of ideas and interests combined. It holds with Jefferson that God has no attribute which can take part with slavery. It looks anxiously with Washington for the means by which it can be abolished. It seeks with the framers of the Northwest Ordinance to exclude it from the territories, because it is at war with the essential principles of the government and with the expressed intention of the Constitution“

— George William Curtis
Context: Out of the chaos that followed the so-called final settlement of the slavery question in 1850 arose the great political antislavery party, whose vital force is in the conscience of its supporters, whose central idea is the original American principle, the equality of human rights, and whose unswerving policy is the planting of the government ineradicably upon that principle. It is a party of ideas and interests combined. It holds with Jefferson that God has no attribute which can take part with slavery. It looks anxiously with Washington for the means by which it can be abolished. It seeks with the framers of the Northwest Ordinance to exclude it from the territories, because it is at war with the essential principles of the government and with the expressed intention of the Constitution. I confess I secretly suspect the Republicanism of an orator who is more anxious to show his hearers that he respects what he calls the rights of slavery than that he loves the rights of man. If God be just and the human instinct true, slavery has no rights at all. It has only a legalized toleration. Have I a right to catch a weaker man than I, and appropriate him, his industry, and his family, forever, against his will, to my service? Because if I have, any man stronger than I has the same right over me. But if I have not, what possible right is represented by the two thousand million dollars of property in human beings in this country? It is the right of Captain Kidd on the sea, of Dick Turpin on the land. I certainly do not say that every slave-holder is a bad man, because I know the contrary. The complicity of many with the system is inherited, and often unwilling. But to rob a man of his liberty, to make him so far as possible a brute and a thing, is not less a crime against human nature because it is organized into a hereditary system of frightful proportions. A wrong does not become a right by being vested.

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Decimo Giunio Giovenale37
poeta e oratore romano