Friday, January 21, 2011

The Future of Politics

The “small experiments” recently made in Washington to initiate new party organizations, or to re-establish old ones, cannot in the present condition of affairs amount to much.  The public mind is in no mood to entertain questions which related only to peaceful times.  Now there is but one subject on hand, and on that all the loyal men are agreed.  As a nation, we are engaged in putting down the most remarkable rebellion in all history.  We are straining every muscle, taxing all our resources of strength and endurance, and tasking brains and hands to their limit of power to crush treason.  Our sons are on the field, and possibly engaged in deadly conflict this very day.  Our legislators are in their seats, devising ways and means.  Our government, from the President to the most insignificant clerk in the most insignificant department, is engaged in the one grand work of defending national integrity, supporting the constitution, and enforcing the laws.  At such a time as this, Washington politicians, forgetting the proprieties of the period, meet to plot for party ends and for power.  We tell these men, whatever may be their personal and party sympathies, that the people look upon their operations with equal indignation and disgust.

There are certain other things to be said to these men, or to be said generally, for the benefit of all men.  The first is that if Abraham Lincoln lives, and goes on the way he has thus far pursued, laboring for the single end he has proposed, and choosing for his counselors and helpers such as are loyal, without further questions or other tests, the man does not live, and the party cannot be formed, that will prevent him from a second term of office.  We have had no such President since Jackson, - an honest, patriotic, unselfish man.  The months that pass away conspire to lift him higher and higher in the popular esteem, until none but traitors and their sympathizers hate him.  If he continues the course he has begun, and succeeds in effecting the great work which seems now close on the eve of accomplishment, the gratitude of the American people will not permit him to retire to private life, and any party that undertakes to butt him off the track, will but its brains out.

Again, no party can succeed in this country which allies itself with the slave power.  We do not wonder at all that the decent democratic press of the North declines to come into Mr. Vallandigham’s nice little arrangement. – the common instinct of self-preservation is its protection.  The grand fact must be recognized that the power of slavery is forever broken, and that this country will never again trust itself in the hands that have once betrayed it.  Any body of men that undertake to bolster up the old power of slavery, and re-establish its supremacy, will only prepare for themselves disappointed lives and infamous graves.  The fact must also be recognized that reforms never go backwards, and such that the death of slavery is sure.  It is abolished in the district of Columbia, it is abolished in every part of the strictly national domain, the slaves used on the rebel works are declared free, and in all the border States there is rapidly springing up a party in favor of emancipation, in accordance with the President’s plan.  The progress which these events indicate cannot be checked by party opposition in the north, and that party will only court destruction which places itself in its path.

Once more, parties for the next ten years must necessarily be based upon questions intimately connected with the present rebellion.  There are confiscation questions to be settled, questions of personal disability in consequence of complicity with treason to be settled, questions in relations to the collection of the national taxes in the rebellious States to be settled, questions relating to such an organization of the army and navy and such an occupation of the ports as will render another rebellion impossible, to be settled.  True loyalty, above all suspicion of sympathy with treason and the traitors must, therefore, be the first stone in any successful party structure.  This party, whatever its name, will be the party of the future; and the old slave power, with all who love it and court its favor, will be in disgrace.  Twenty million people are no more to be slaves of ten millions and are no more to be subjected to the necessity of war like the present to prevent them from ruining the nation.  In short, the party of the future is to be in principle anti-slavery, and loyal to the core.  There will be time enough to organize it when the war shall be over. -{Springfield Republican.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, May 24, 1862, p. 2

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