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The American Republic

( Originally Published 1927 )



BY GEORGE BANCROFT

IN the fullness of time, a Republic rose up in the wilderness of America. Thousands of years had passed away before this child 0f the ages could be born. From whatever there was of good in the systems of former centuries she drew her nourishment ; the wrecks of the past were her warnings. With the deepest sentiment of faith fixed in her inmost nature, she disenthralled religion from bondage t0 temporal power, that her worship might be worship only in spirit and in truth.

The wisdom which had passed from India through Greece, with what Greece had added of her own ; the jurisprudence of Rome; the mediaeval municipalities ; the Teutonic method of representation, the political experience of England, the benignant wisdom of the expositors of the law of nature and 0f nations in France and Holland, all shed on her their selectest influence. She washed the gold of political wisdom from the sands wherever it was found; she cleft it from the rocks ; she gleaned it among ruins. Out of all the discoveries of statesmen and sages, out of all the experience of past human life, she compiled a perennial political philosophy, the primordial principles of national ethics.

The wise men of Europe sought the best government in a mixture of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy; and America went behind these names to extract from them the vital elements of social forms, and blend them harmoniously in the free Commonwealth, which comes nearest to the illustration of the natural equality of all men. She entrusted the guardianship of established rights to law; the movements of reform to the spirit 0f the people, and drew her force from the happy reconciliation of both.



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