Have we even been taught them? The answer to the immediately preceding question is ‘yes’, at least at one time in our history, as we can see by these excerpts from an 1844 American public school reader (included in Pious to Progressive: A Century of American Readers).

Tragically, though, many Americans, at that time, failed to learn the lessons — lessons about the dangers of politics in a self-governing society. That failure plunged the United States into a brutal civil war from which we have never yet fully recovered. Does that have any bearing on our lives today? Judge for yourself. The Civil War of 1861 arose because the pro-slavery Democrat Party refused to accept the election of anti-slavery Republican Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election. The Democrat controlled states seceded from the United States and declared war upon it – only somewhat more openly and recklessly than they are doing today.

Ironically, the parties remain the same, and the basis of the conflict remains unsettled. Chattel slavery1 of Africans was the issue at the forefront of the war, but was not the basic conflict of interests. That underlying conflict was the distribution of political power. Remember that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address does not directly mention slavery, but declares the war to be so that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.

I won’t conduct an autopsy upon the late Civil War, only observe that history has many lessons to teach; but, not only are young Americans not taught the lessons of that history, they don’t even seem aware that any exist. Let’s look back at some lessons that were offered then, and compare them for relevance with with current events. The following excerpts are all from just one pre-Civil War reader, for about the eighth year student (in ungraded schools).

1. Chattel property is any personally owned property, such as livestock, vehicles, furniture, etc., that is not in a fixed position like lands and buildings (real property).

The following is a very brief excerpt from one of Henry Clay’s speeches, but it sums up his point quite succinctly. When we look upon, often in dismay, the American political scene, we can, perhaps, draw some solace from the fact that it has always been much the same.


Henry Clay

[Extract from a Speech on the new Army Bill.]

They are for war and no restrictions, when the administration is for peace. They are for peace and restrictions, when the administration is for war. You find them, sir, tacking with every gale, displaying the colors of every party, and of all nations, steady only in one unalterable purpose,—to steer, if possible, into the haven of power.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844


William Gaston*

Threats of resistance, secession, separation,— have become common as household words, in the wicked and silly violence of public declaimers. The public ear is familiarized, and the public mind will soon be accustomed to the detestable suggestion of Disunion! Calculations and conjectures; What may the East do without the South, and what may the South do without the East?—sneers, menaces, reproaches, and recriminations, all tend to the same fatal end! What can the East do without the South? What can the South do without the East?

If it must be so, let parties and party men continue to quarrel with little or no regard to the public good. They may mystify themselves and others with disputations on political economy, proving the most opposite doctrines to their own satisfaction, and perhaps, to the conviction of no one else on earth. They may deserve reprobation for their selfishness, their violence, their errors, or their wickedness. They may do our country much harm. They may retard its growth, destroy its harmony, impair its character, render its institutions unstable, pervert the public mind, and deprave the public morals. These are, indeed, evils and sore evils, but the principle of life remains, and will yet struggle with assured success, over these temporary maladies.

Still we are great, glorious, united, and free; still we have a name revered abroad, and loved at home,—a name which is a tower of strength to us against foreign wrong, and a bond of internal union and harmony, —a name, which no enemy pronounces but with respect, and which no citizen hears, but with a throb of exultation.

Still we have that blessed Constitution, which, with all its pretended defects, and all its alleged violations, has conferred more benefit on man, than ever yet flowed from any other human institution,—which has established justice, insured domestic tranquility, provided for the common defense, promoted the general welfare, and which, under God, if we be true to ourselves, will ensure the blessings of Liberty to us and our posterity.

Surely, such a country, and such a Constitution, have claims upon you, my friends, which cannot be disregarded. I entreat and adjure, then, by all that is near and dear to you on earth, by all the obligations of patriotism, by the memory of your fathers, who fell in the great and glorious struggle, for the sake of your sons, whom you would not have to blush for your degeneracy; by all your proud recollections of the past, and all the fond anticipations of the future renown of our nation,—preserve that country,—uphold that Constitution. Resolve, that they shall not be lost, while in your keeping; and may God Almighty strengthen you to perform that vow!

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Gaston, 1778-1844, was a US Representative from North Carolina.


James A. Bayard*

These are short excerpts from the selection carried in the old reader, but it demonstrates the importance of the issue both then, and now.

Sir, the morals of your people, the peace of the country, , the stability of the country, rest upon the maintenance of the independence of the judiciary. … Am I asked, Would you render the judges superior to the legislature? I answer, No, but coordinate (equal). Would you render them independent of the legislature? I answer, Yes, independent of every power on earth, while they behave themselves well. The essential interest, the permanent welfare of society, require this independence: … You calculate on the weakness of human nature, and you suffer the judge to be dependent on no one, lest he should be partial to those on whom he depends. Justice does not exist where partiality prevails.

Let it be remembered, that no power is so sensibly felt by society, as that of the judiciary. The life and property of every man, are liable to be in the hands of the judges. Is it not our great interest to place our judges upon such high ground, that no fear can intimidate, no hope seduce them? The present measure humbles in the dust; it prostrates them at the feet of faction; it renders them the tools of every dominant party. It is this effect which I deprecate; it is this consequence which I deeply deplore. What does reason, what does argument avail, when party spirit presides? Subject your bench to the influence of this spirit, and justice bids a final adieu to your tribunals.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Bayard, 1767-1815) was a US Representative, and Senator, from Delaware, and was influential in the early political life of the country.


Joseph T. Buckingham*

Look abroad, over the face of this vast and almost illimitable continent, and behold multitudes which no man can number, impatient of the slow process of education, wrestling with the powers of nature, and the obstructions of accident, and, like the patriarch1, refusing to let go their hold, till the day break, and they receive the promised blessing, and the recompense of the struggle.

You will perceive, too, in the remotest corners, where civilization has planted her standard, that there the Press, the mightiest engine ever yet invented by the genius of man, is producing a moral revolution, on a scale of grandeur and magnificence unknown to all former generations. By it, information of every transaction of government, and off all important occurrences, in the four quarters of the world, is transmitted with a degree of speed and regularity, that the most sagacious (informed) could not have foreseen, nor the most enthusiastic have dared hope for, fifty years ago. By the Press, every cottage is supplied with its newspapers, and elementary books, in the most useful sciences; and every cradle is supplied with tracts and toy-books, to teach the infant to lisp lessons of wisdom and piety, long before his mind has power to conceive, or firmness to retain, their meaning.

The power of this engine, in the moral and intellectual universe, in inconceivable. There is no ordinary operation of the physical elements, to which its mighty influence can be compared. We can find, only in the visions of the apocalyptic saint, a parallel to its tremendous action.

Guided by truth and reason, like the sound of the seventh trumpet, it opens the temple of God in heaven, and shows to the eye of the faithful and regenerated spirit, within the veil of the temple, in the presence-chamber of the Almighty, the ark of his testament.

Controlled by falsehood and fraud, its force, like the opening of the sixth seal of the mystic volume, produces earthquakes, turns the sun to sackcloth, and the moon to blood, moves every mountain and island out of their places, and causes even the heaven we hope for, to depart as a scroll, when it is rolled together.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Joseph Tinker Buckingham, 1779-1861, was a New England journalist and politician, and a descendant of a Mayflower Pilgrim (Tinker).

1. Jacob wrestling with the angel, Genesis 32:24 ff.

2. Chapter 8 and following, of the Book of The Revelation to the Apostle John.


G. S. Hilliard*

Let no man accuse me of seeing wild visions, and dreaming impossible dreams. I am only stating what may be done, and what will be done. We may most shamefully betray the trust reposed in us,—we may most miserably defeat the fond hopes entertained of us. We may become the scorn of tyrants and the jest of slaves. From our fate, oppression may assume a bolder front of insolence, and its victims sink into a darker despair.

In that event, how unspeakable will be our disgrace,— with what weight of mountains will the infamy lie upon our souls. The gulf of our ruin will be as deep, as the elevation we might have attained, is high. How wilt thou fall from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!

Our beloved country with ashes for beauty, the golden cord of our union broken, its scattered fragments presenting every form of misrule, from the wildest anarchy to the most ruthless despotism, our “soil drenched with fraternal blood,” the life of man stripped of its grace and dignity, the prizes of honor gone, and virtue divorced from half its encouragements and supports,—these are gloomy pictures, which I would not invite your imaginations to dwell upon, but only to glance at, for the sake of the warning lessons we may draw from them.

Remember, that we can have none of those consolations, which sustain the patriot, who mourns over the undeserved misfortunes of his country. Our Rome cannot fall, and we be innocent. No conqueror will chain us to the car of his triumph,—no countless swarms of Huns and Goths will bury the memorials and trophies of civilized life, beneath a living tide of barbarism. Our own selfishness, our own neglect, our own passions, and our own vices, will furnish the elements of our destruction. With our own hands, we shall tear down the stately edifice of our glory. We shall die by self-inflicted wounds.

But we will not talk of themes like these. We will not think of failure, dishonor and despair. We shall elevate our minds to the contemplation of our high duties, and the great trust committed to us. We will resolve to lay the foundations of our prosperity on that rock of private virtue, which cannot be shaken, until the laws of the moral world are reversed. From our own breasts shall flow the salient springs of national increase. Then our success, our happiness, our glory, will be inevitable, as the inferences of mathematics. We may calmly smile at the croakings of all the ravens, whether of native or foreign breed.

The whole will not grow weak, by the increase of its parts. Our growth will be like that of the mountain oak, which strikes its roots more deeply into the soil, and clings to it with a closer grasp, as its lofty head is exalted, and its broad arms stretched out. The loud burst of joy and gratitude, which this, the anniversary of our Independence, is breaking from the full hearts of a mighty people, will never cease to be heard. No chasms of sullen silence will interrupt its course,—no discordant notes of sectional madness, mar the general harmony. Year after year will increase it, by tributes from now unpeopled solitudes. The farthest West shall hear it and rejoice, —the Oregon shall swell it with the voice of its waters,—the Rocky Mountains shall fling back the glad sound from her snowy crests.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Presumably George Stillman Hilliard, 1808-1879, a New England lawyer, politician, and author.


Orville Dewey*

One of the circumstances of our moral condition, is danger. Religion, then, should be a guardian, and a vigilant guardian; and let us be assured that the Gospel is such. Such, emphatically do we need. If we cannot bear a religion that admonishes us, watches over us, warns us, restrains us; let us be assured that we cannot bear a religion that will save us. Religion should be the keeper of the soul; and without such a keeper, in the slow and undermining process of temptation, or amidst the sudden and strong assaults of passion, it will be overcome and lost.

Again, the human condition is one of weakness. There are weak points, where religion should be stationed to support and strengthen us. Points, did I say? Are we not encompassed with weakness? Where, in the whole circle of our spiritual interests and affections, are we not exposed, and vulnerable? Where have we not need to set up the barriers of habit, and to build the strongest defenses, with which resolutions, and vows, and prayers, can surround us? Where, and wherein, I ask again, is any man safe? What virtue of any man, is secure from frailty? What strong purpose of his, is not liable to failure? What affection of his heart can say, “I have strength, I am established, and nothing can move me?”

How weak is man in trouble, in perplexity, in doubt;—how weak in affliction, or when sickness bows the spirit, or when approaching death is unloosing all the bands of his self-reliance! And whose spirit does not sometimes faint under its intrinsic weakness, under its native frailty, and under the burden and pressure of its necessities?

Religion, then, should bring supply, and support, and strength. And it thus meets a universal want. Every mind needs the stability which principle gives; needs the comfort which piety gives; needs it continually, in all the varying experience of life.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Dewey, 1794-1882, was a New England educator, writer, lecturer, and Unitarian minister.


S. Reed*

It was the design of Providence that the infant mind should possess the germ of every science. If it were not so, the sciences could hardly be learned. The care of God provides for the flower of the field, a place wherein it may grow, regale the sense with its fragrance, and delight the soul with its beauty. Is his providence less active over those to whom this flower offers its incense?—No. The soil which produces the vine in its most healthy luxuriance, is not better adapted to that end, than the world we inhabit, to draw forth the latent energies of the soul, and fill them with life and vigor. As well might the eye see without light, or the ear hear without sound, as the human mind be healthy and athletic without descending into the natural world, and breathing the mountain air.

Is there aught in Eloquence which warms the heart? She draws her fire from natural imagery. Is there aught in Poetry to enliven the imagination? There, is the secret of all her power. Is there aught in Science to add strength and dignity to the human mind? The natural world is the only body, of which she is the soul. In books, science is presented to the eye of the pupil, as it were, in a dried and preserved state. The time may come, when the instructor may take him by the hand, and lead him by the running streams, and teach him all the principles of Science as she comes from her Maker; as he would smell the fragrance of the rose, without gathering it.

The love of nature; this adaptation of man to the place assigned him by his heavenly Father; this fullness of the mind as it descends into the works of God,—is something, which has been felt by everyone,—though to an imperfect degree,—and therefore needs no explanation. It is the part of science, that this be no longer a blind affection; but that the mind be opened to a just perception of what it is, which it loves.

The affection, which the lover first feels for his future wife, may be attended only by a general sense of her external beauty; but his mind gradually opens to a perception of the peculiar (exclusive) features of the soul, of which the external appearance is only an image. So it is with nature. Do we love to gaze on the sun, the moon, the stars, and the planets? This affection contains in its bosom the whole science of astronomy, as the seed contains the future tree. It is the office of the instructor to give it an existence and a name, by making known laws, which govern the motions of the heavenly bodies to each other, and their uses.

Have we felt delight in beholding the animal creation,—in watching their pastimes and their labors? It is the office of the instructor to give birth to this affection, by describing the different classes of animals, with their peculiar characteristics, which inhabit the earth, the air, and the sea. Have we known the inexpressible pleasure of beholding the beauties of the vegetable world? This affection can only expand in the science of botany. Thus it is, that the love of nature in the mass may become the love of all the sciences, and the mind will grow and bring forth fruit from its own inherent power of development.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*No further identification.


Dr. A. White*

Education is the personal and practical concern of every individual, and at all periods of life.—Those who have been favored with advantages of early instruction, or even with a course of liberal education, ought to consider it rather as a good foundation to build upon, than as a reason for relaxing in their efforts to make advances in learning. The design of early education, it should be remembered, is not so much to accumulate information, as to develop, invigorate, and discipline the faculties; to form habits of attention, observation, and industry, and thus to prepare the mind for more extensive acquirements, as well as for a proper discharge of the duties of life.

Those who have not the privileges of early instruction, must feel the stronger inducement to avail themselves of all the means ad opportunities in their power, for the cultivation of their minds and the acquisition of knowledge. It can never be too late to begin or to advance the work of improvement. They will find distinguished examples of success in the noble career of self-education, to animate their exertions. These will teach them, that no condition in life is so humble, no circumstances so distressing, no occupation so laborious, as to present insuperable obstacles to success in the acquisition of knowledge. All such disheartening obstacles combined, may be surmounted, as they have been in a thousand instances by resolute and persevering determination to overcome.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*No further identification.


E. Cooper*

The true Christian must show that he is in earnest about religion. In the management of his worldly affairs, he must let it be clearly seen, that he is not influenced by a worldly mind; that his heart is not upon earth; that he pursues his worldly calling from a principle of duty, not from a sordid love of gain; and that, in truth, his treasures are in heaven. He must, therefore not only “provide things honest in the sight of all men;” not only avoid everything which is fraudulent and unjust in his dealings with others; not only openly protest against those iniquitous practices which the custom of trade too frequently countenances and approves;—but, also, he must “let his moderation be known unto all men.”

He must not push his gains with seeming eagerness, even to the utmost lawful extent. He must exercise forbearance. He must be content with moderate profits. He must sometimes even forgo advantages, which, in themselves, he might innocently take, lest he should seem to give any ground for suspecting that his heart is secretly set upon these things.

Thus, also, with respect to worldly pleasures; he must endeavor to convince men that the pleasures which religion furnishes, are far greater than those which the world can yield. While, therefore, he conscientiously keeps from joining in those trifling, and, too often, profane amusements, in which ungodly men profess to seek their happiness, he must yet labor to show, that, in keeping from those things, he is, in respect to real happiness, no loser, but even a gainer by religion. He must avoid everything which may look like moroseness and gloom. He must cultivate a cheerfulness of spirit. He must endeavor to show, in his whole deportment, the contentment and tranquility which naturally flow from heavenly affections, from a mind at peace with God, and from a hope full of immortality.

The spirit which Christianity enjoins and produces, is so widely different from the spirit of the world, and so immensely superior to it, that, it cannot fail of being noticed, so it cannot fail of being admired, even by those who are strangers to its power. Do you ask in what particulars this spirit shows itself? I answer, in the exercise of humility, of meekness, of gentleness; in patient bearing of injuries, in a readiness to forgive offenses; in a uniform endeavor to overcome evil with good; in self-denial and disinterestedness (impartiality); in universal kindness and courtesy; in slowness to wrath, in an unwillingness to hear or speak evil of others; in a forwardness to defend, to advise, and to assist them, in loving our enemies; in blessing them that curse us; in doing good to them that curse us; in doing good to them that hate us. These are genuine fruits of true Christianity.

The Christian must “let his light shine before men,” by discharging in a faithful, a diligent, and a consistent manner, the personal and particular duties of his station. As a member of society, he must be distinguished by a blameless and an inoffensive conduct; by a simplicity and an ingenuousness of character, free from every degree of guile; by uprightness and fidelity in his engagements. As a neighbor, he must be kind, friendly, and accommodating. His discourse must be mild and instructive. He must labor to prevent quarrels, to reconcile those who differ, to comfort the afflicted. In short, he must be “ready for every good work;” and all his dealings with others must show the Heavenly Principle, which dwells and works in his heart.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*No further identification.


Joseph Story*

If Christianity may be said to have given a permanent elevation to women, as an intellectual and moral being, it is as true, that the present age, above all others, has given play to her genius, and taught us to reverence its influence. It was the fashion of other times to treat the literary acquirements of the sex, as starched pedantry, or vain pretension; to stigmatize them as inconsistent with those domestic affections and virtues, which constitute the charm of society. We had abundant homilies read upon their amiable weaknesses and sentimental delicacy, upon their timid gentleness and submissive dependence; as if to taste the fruit of knowledge were a deadly sin, and ignorance were the sole guardian of innocence. Their whole lives were “sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought:” and concealment of intellectual power was often resorted to, to escape the dangerous reputation of masculine strength.

In the higher walks of life, the satirist was not without color for the suggestion, that it was “A youth of folly, and an old age of cards;” and that everywhere, “most women had no character at all,” beyond the purity and devotion to their families.

Admirable as are these qualities, it seems an abuse of the gifts of providence, to deny to mothers the power of instructing their children, to wives the privilege of sharing the intellectual pursuits of their husbands, to sisters and daughters the delight of ministering knowledge in the fireside circle, to youth and beauty the charm of refined sense, to age and infirmity the consolation of studies which elevate the soul, and gladden the listless hours of despondency.

These things have, in a great measure, passed away. The prejudices, which have dishonored the sex, have yielded to the influence of truth. By slow, but sure advances, education has extended itself through all ranks of female society. There is no longer any dread, lest the culture of science should foster that masculine boldness, or restless independence, which alarms by its sallies, or wounds by its inconsistencies.

We have seen, that here, as everywhere else, knowledge is favorable to human virtue and human happiness; and that the refinement of literature adds luster to the devotion of piety; that true learning, like true taste, is modest and un-ostentatious; that grace of manners receives a higher polish from the discipline of the schools; that cultivated genius sheds a cheering light over domestic duties, and its very sparkles, like those of a diamond, attest at once its power and its purity.

There is not a rank of female society, however high, which does not now pay homage to literature, or that would not blush, even at the suspicion of ignorance, which, a half century ago, was neither uncommon, nor discreditable. There is not a parent, whose pride may not glow at the thought, that his daughter’s happiness is, within a great measure, within her own command, whether she keeps the cool, sequestered vale of life, or visits the busy walks of fashion.

A new path is thus opened for female exertion, to alleviate the pressure of misfortune, without any supposed sacrifice of dignity or modesty. Man no longer aspires to all exclusive dominion in authorship. He has rivals, or allies, in almost every department of knowledge; and there to be found among those, whose elegance of manners and blamelessness of life, command his respect, as much as their talents excite his admiration.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Story, 1767-1815, was a long time early and influential Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.


Dr. Noyes*

The peculiar religious character of the Psalms, which distinguishes them from the productions of other nations of antiquity, is well worthy of the attention of such as are disposed to doubt the reality of the Jewish revelation. I do not refer to the prophetic character, which some of them are supposed to possess, but to the comparative purity and fervor of religious feeling, which they manifest; the sublimity and justness of the views of the Deity, and of his government of the world, which they present; and the clear perception of a spiritual good, infinitely to be preferred to any external possession, which is found in them. Let them be considered as the fruit of the principles of the Jewish religion, as they existed in the minds of pious Israelites, and do they not bear delightful testimony tot he reality of the successive revelations, alleged to have been made to the Hebrew nation, and of the peculiar relation which the Most high is said to have sustained towards them?

Let the unbeliever compare the productions of the Hebrew poets, with those of the most enlightened periods of Grecian literature. Let him explain, how it happened, that in the most celebrated cities of antiquity, which human reason had adorned with the most splendid trophies of art, whose architecture it is now thought high praise to imitate well, whose sculpture almost gave life to marble, whose poetry has never been surpassed, and whose eloquence has never been equaled, a religion prevailed, so absurd and frivolous as to be beneath the contempt of a child, at the present day; while in an obscure corner of the world, in a nation in some respects imperfectly civilized, were breathed forth those strains of devotion, which now animate the hearts of millions, and are the vehicle of their feelings to the throne of God. Let him say, if there be not some ground for the conclusion, that whilst the corner-stone of the heathen systems of religion, was unassisted human reason, that of the Jewish was an immediate revelation from the Father of lights.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*No further identification.


C. C. Felton

The greatness of the genius of Aristophanes, is not generally appreciated. The value of his comedies, as illustrations of the political antiquities, the life, morals, and manners of Athens, is not fully understood. The truth is, we are indebted to him for information upon the working of the Attic (Greek) institutions, which, had all his plays been lost, we should have vainly sought for in the works of other authors. With what boldness and vigor does he sketch that many-headed despot, the Demos of Athens1; with what austere truth, does he draw the character of the Athenian Demagogue, and, in him, the Demagogue(s) of all times; how many rays of light are poured from his comedies, upon the popular and judicial tribunals,—the assemblies in the Pnyxn2, the Senate, and the Heliastic courts!

No intelligent reader can doubt, that Aristophanes was a man of the most profound acquaintance with the political institutions of his age; no reader of poetic fancy can fail to see that he possessed an extraordinary creative genius. It is impossible to study his works attentively, without feeling that his was the master mind of the Attic (Greek) drama. The brightest flashes of a high poetical spirit, are constantly breaking out, from the midst of the broadest merriment, and the sharpest satire. An imagination of endless variety and strength, enlivens those lyrical passages which gem his works, and are among the most precious brilliants of the Greek language. In the drawing of characters, his plays exhibit consummate skill. The clearness of his conceptions, the precision of his outlines, the consistency with which his personages are throughout maintained, cannot fail to impress the reader, with the perfection of his judgment, and the masterly management of the resources of his art.

He had the inestimable advantage, too, of writing in a language which is undoubtedly the highest attainment of human speech; and all the rich varieties and harmonies of this wondrous instrument, he held at his supreme command. Its flexibility, under his shaping hand, is almost miraculous. At one moment, he is reveling in the wildest mirth, and the next, he is sweeping through the loftiest region of lyrical inspiration; but the language never breaks down under his adventurous flight. The very words he wants, come, like beings of instinct with life, and fall into their proper places, at his bidding. His wit is as manifold and startling, as the myriad-minded Shakespeare’s. Indeed, although these great men stood two thousand years apart, and moved in widely differing spheres of poetical activity, still many striking points of resemblance exist between the genius of the English, and of the Grecian bard.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Cornelius Conway Felton, 1807-1862, was a Greek scholar, professor, and for a short time before his death, President of Harvard.

1. “Demos”, from which we get the word “democracy”, means ‘the people’. To paraphrase one side of an ancient political argument: ‘Tyranny by a minority is bad, tyranny by a majority is worse’; hence a “many-headed despot”. And so the United States Constitution was designed to limit the power of the government as a limit on the power of the majority over the minority — a Constitutional Republic (“if you can keep it.”)

2. A place of assembly opposite the Acropolis.


Henry Clay*

Who is prepared to say, that American seamen shall be surrendered, as victims, to the British principle of impressment? And sir, what is this principle? She contends, that she has a right to the services of her own subjects; and that, in the exercise of this right, she may lawfully impress them, even though she finds them in American vessels, upon the high seas, without (outside) her jurisdiction. Now, I deny that she has any right, beyond her jurisdiction, to come on board our vessels, upon the high seas, for any other purpose, than in pursuit of enemies, or their goods, or goods of contraband of war.

But she further contends, that her subjects cannot renounce their allegiance to her, and contract a new obligation to other sovereigns. I do not mean to go into the general question of the right of expatriation. If, as is contended, all nations deny it, all nations, at the same time, admit and practice the right of naturalization. Great Britain herself does this. Great Britain, in the very case of foreign seamen, imposes,perhaps, fewer restraints upon naturalization, than any other nation. Then, if subjects cannot break their original allegiance, they may, according to a universal usage, contract a new allegiance.

What is the effect of this double obligation? Undoubtedly, that the sovereign having the possession of the subject, would have the right to the services of the subject. If he return within the jurisdiction of his primitive (original) sovereign, he may resume his right to his services, of which, the subject, by his own act, could not divest himself. But his primitive sovereign can have no right to go in quest of him, out of his own jurisdiction, into the jurisdiction of another sovereign, or upon the high seas; where there exists no jurisdiction, or it is possessed by the nation owning the ship navigating them.

But, sir, this discussion is altogether useless. It is not to the British principle, objectionable as it is, that we are alone to look; it is her practice, no matter what guise she puts on it. It is in vain to assert the inviolability of the obligation of allegiance. It is vain to set up the plea of necessity, and to allege that she cannot exist without the impressment of of her seamen. The naked truth is, she comes, by her press-gangs, on board of our vessels, seizes our native as well as naturalized seamen, and drags them into her service.

It is the case, then, of the assertion of an erroneous principle, and of a practice not conformable to the asserted principle,—a principle which, if it were theoretically right, must forever be practically wrong,—a practice which can obtain countenance from no principle whatever, and to submit to which, on our part, would betray the most abject degradation.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Clay, 1777-1852, was one of America’s greatest political leaders and statesmen during the first half of the 19th Century, a formative period of the American Republic. He served as a US Representative, and Senator, from Kentucky, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and Secretary of State. He was a candidate for President several times, most notably running against Democrat Andrew Jackson in a bitterly fought race. Nevertheless, he cooperated with the Jackson administration to resolve the national crises of the era. If I read history correctly, he was one of a rare breed of politicians who put country before their own political ambitions and personal grievances. This speech, made while Speaker of the House, recites one of the issues that led to the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States. Clay was also one of the negotiators on the Treaty of Ghent which ended the War.


Tristam Burgess*

This is an excerpt from a speech in the US House of Representatives that may seem irrelevant to our time; but its bitter partisanship, hypocrisy, and appeals to hatred and fear are as up to date as today’s Congressional Record. It differs only in its much more elevated, erudite style of invective. It’s interest to us is not just its similarity to today’s politics, but its illustration of where such politics can lead. Remember that this reader is from the Pre-Civil War Era. Such pieces are not to be found in Post-Civil War Readers.

The policy of the gentleman from Virginia, calls him to a course of legislation resulting in the entire destruction of one part of our Union. Oppress New England, until she shall be compelled to remove her manufacturing labor and capital to the region of iron, wool, and grain, and nearer to the regions of rice and cotton. Oppress New England, until she be compelled to remove her commercial labor and capital to New York, Charleston, and Savannah. Finally, oppress that proscribed region, until she shall be compelled to remove her agricultural labor and capital,—her agricultural capital? No, she cannot remove that. Oppress and compel her, nevertheless, to remove her agricultural labor to the far-off West; and there people the savage valley, and cultivate the deep wilderness of the Oregon.

She must, indeed, leave her agricultural capital2; her peopled fields; her hills with culture carried to their tops; her broad bays, her wide transparent lakes, long-winding rivers, and populous waterfalls; the delightful villages, flourishing towns, and wealthy cities. She must leave this land, bought by the treasure, subdued by the toil, defended by the valor of men, vigorous, athletic, and intrepid; men god-like in all making man resemble the moral image of his Maker; a land endeared, oh! How deeply endeared, because shared with women pure as the snows of their native mountains; bright, lofty, and overawing, as the clear, circumambient heavens over their heads; and yet lovely as the fresh opening bosom of their own blushing and blooming June.

“Mine own romantic country,” must we leave thee? Beautiful patrimony of the wise and good; enriched from the economy, and ornamented by the labor and perseverance of two hundred years! Must we leave thee, venerable heritage of ancient justice and pristine faith? And, God of our fathers! Must we leave thee to the demagogues who have deceived, and traitorously sold us? We must leave thee to them; and to the remnants of the Penobscots, the Pequods, the Mohicans, and the Narragansetts; that they may lure back the far-retired bear, from the distant forest, again to inhabit the young wilderness, growing up in our flourishing cornfields, and rich meadows; and spreading, with briers and brambles, over our most “pleasant places.”

All this shall come to pass, to the intent that New England may again become a lair for wild beasts, and a hunting-ground for savages; the graves of our parents be polluted; and the place made holy by the first footsteps of our Pilgrim forefathers, become profaned by the midnight orgies of barbarous incantation. The evening wolf shall again howl on our hills, and the echo of his yell mingle once more with the sound of our waterfalls. The sanctuaries of God shall be made desolate. Where now a whole people congregate in thanksgiving for the benefactions of time, and in humble supplication for the mercies of eternity, there those very houses shall then be left without a tenant. The owl, at noonday, may roost on the high altar of devotion, and the “fox look out at the window,” on the utter solitude of a New England Sabbath.

New England shall, indeed, under this proscribing policy, be what Switzerland was, under that of France3. New England, which, like Switzerland, is the eagle-nest of freedom; New England, where, as with Switzerland the cradle of infant liberty “was rocked by whirlwinds,in their rage:’ New England shall, as Switzerland was, in truth be “the immolated victim, where nothing but the skin remains unconsumed by the sacrifice;” New England, as Switzerland had, shall have nothing left but her rocks, her ruins, and her demagogues.”

The mind, sir, capable of conceiving a project of mischief so gigantic, must have been early schooled, and deeply imbued with all the great principles of moral evil.

What, then, sir, shall we say of a spirit, regarding this event as a “consummation devoutly to be wished?”—a spirit, without one attribute, or one hope, of the pure in heart; a spirit, which begins and ends everything, not with prayer, but with imprecation (curse); a spirit, which blots from the great canon of petition, “Give us this day our daily bread;” that, foregoing bodily nutriment, he may attain to a higher relish for that un-mingled food, prepared and served up to a soul “hungering and thirsting after wickedness;” a spirit, which, at every rising sun, exclaims, “Hodie! Hodie! Carthago delenda!” “Today, today! Let New England be destroyed!”

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Burgess (also Burges), 1770-1853, was Professor of Oratory and Rhetoric at Brown University, and a longtime member of the US House of Representatives from Rhode Island. His rhetorical skills were often in evidence in the House, as in this excoriation of Virginia firebrand John Randolph. His vision of an apocalyptic end of New England was very skillfully woven and affecting; though ridiculously exaggerated to the mind’s of more sophisticated Americans. Drummed up by unscrupulous newspapers, however, it was doubtless effective in moving public opinion. Even Burgess, though, acknowledged Randolph as his equal in the outraged oratory of the day, and the opportunities for rhetorical exuberance their war of words in the House occasioned them may have been satisfying to their egos, but such invective was steadily pounding in the wedges that would eventually split the nation.

Randolph is the more remembered of the two, but as a brilliant though tragic and unstable voice in the halls of Capitol Hill, engaging in wars of words with just about everyone. This one quote illustrates Randolph’s mastery of invective: “He is a man of splendid abilities but utterly corrupt. He shines and stinks, like a rotten mackerel by moonlight.”


In the case of this particular speech, Burgess favored high tariffs to protect the developing New England manufacturing base. Randolph strongly opposed tariffs as injurious to Virginia’s agricultural economy. Other issues also bitterly divided the New Englander from the Virginia aristocrat, although both opposed slavery. Both men were gone from the scene well before the final split in 1860.

1. “Carthage must be destroyed”, a Roman imperative during the struggle to the death between the two great Mediterranean powers; but hardly descriptive of the situation that existed in the United States at that time.

2. Farmland, orchards, irrigation systems, barns, etc. are ‘agricultural capital’.

3. A reference to the brutal civil war and French occupation of Switzerland during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte.


Dr. Humphrey*

[From an Inaugural address at Amherst College.]

Convened as we are this day, in the portals of science and literature, and with their arduous heights, and profound depths, and Elysian fields before us, education offers itself as the inspiring theme of our present meditations. This, in a free, enlightened, and Christian state, is confessedly a subject of the highest moment (importance). How can the diamond reveal its luster from beneath incumbent rocks and earthly strata? How can the marble speak, or stand forth in all the divine symmetry of the human form, till it is taken from the quarry, and fashioned by the hand of the artist? And how can man be intelligent, happy, or useful, without the culture and discipline of education?

It is this, that unlocks the prison-house of his mind, and brings out the captive. It is the transforming hand of education, which is now, in so many heathen lands, moulding savageness and ignorance, pagan fanaticism, and brutal stupidity, revenge, and treachery, and lust,—and, in short, all the warring elements of our lapsed nature, into the various forms of exterior decency, of mental symmetry, and of Christian loveliness. It is education that pours light into the understanding, lays up its golden treasures in the memory, softens the asperities of the temper, checks the waywardness of passion and appetite, and trains to habits of industry, temperance, and benevolence.

It is this, which qualifies men for the pulpit, the senate, the bar, the art of healing, and the bench of justice. It is to education, to its domestic agents, its schools and colleges, its universities and literary societies, that the world is indebted for a thousand comforts and elegances of civilized life, for almost every useful art, discovery, and invention.

In a word, education, regarding man as a rational, accountable, and immortal being, elevates, expands, and enriches his mind; cultivates the best affections of his heart; pours a thousand sweet and gladdening streams around the dwellings of the poor, as well as the mansions of the rich; and while it greatly multiplies and enhances the enjoyments of time, helps to train up the soul for the bliss of eternity.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*No further identification.



This is a very short excerpt from the original, and very timely to the purpose of this book.

That education is one of the deepest principles of independence, need not be labored in this assembly. In arbitrary governments, where the people neither make the law, nor choose those who legislate, the more ignorance, the more peace. But in a government, where the people fill all the branches of the sovereignty, intelligence is the life of liberty. An American would resent his being denied the use of his musket; but he would deprive himself of a stronger safeguard, if he should want the learning which is necessary to a knowledge of the Constitution.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*No further identification.

1. Information


Wilbur Fisk*

There is a spirit, an active, aspiring principle in man, which cannot be broken down by oppression, or satisfied by indulgence.

“He has a soul of vast desires,

It burns within with reckless fires:”

Desires, which no earthly good can satisfy; fires, which no waters of affliction or discouragement can quench. And it is from this, his nature, that society derives all its interests, and from here also lies all its danger. The spirit is at once the terror of tyrants, and the destroyer of republics.

To form some idea of its strength, let us look at it in its different conditions, both when it is depressed, and when it is exalted. See, when it is bent down, for a time, by the iron grasp and leaden scepter of tyranny, cramping, and curtailing, and hedging-in the soul, and foiling it in all its attempts to break from its bonds and assert its native independence. In these cases, the noble spirit, like a wild beast in the toils, sinks down, at times, into sullen inactivity, only that it may rise again, when exhausted nature is a little restored, to rush, as hope excites, or madness impels, in stronger paroxysms against the cords which bind it down.

This is seen in the mobs and rebellions of the most besotted and enslaved nations. Witness the repeated convulsions in Ireland, that degraded and oppressed country. Neither desolating armies, nor numerous garrisons, nor the most rigorous administration, enforced by thousands of public executions, can break the spirit of that reckless people.

Witness Greece: generations have passed away, since the warriors of Greece have had their feet put in fetters, and the race of heroes had apparently become extinct; and the Grecian lyre had long been unstrung and her lights put out. Her haughty masters thought her spirit was dead; but it was not dead, it only slept. In a moment, as it were, we saw all Greece in arms; she shook off her slumbers, and rushed, with frenzy and hope, upon seeming impossibilities, to conquer or to die.

We see, then, that man has a spirit, which is not easily broken down by oppression. Let us inquire, whether it can be more easily satisfied by indulgence. And, in every step of this inquiry, we shall find that no miser ever yet had gold enough; no office-seeker ever had honor enough; no conqueror ever had subdued kingdoms enough. When the rich man had filled his store-houses, he must pull down and build larger. When Caesar had conquered all his enemies, he must enslave his friends.

When Bonaparte had become Emperor of France, he aspired to the throne of all Europe. Facts, a thousand facts, in every age, and among all classes, prove, that such is the ambitious nature of the soul, such the increasing compass of its vast desires, that the material universe, with all its vastness, richness, and variety, cannot satisfy it. Nor is it in the power of the governments of this world, in their most perfect forms, so to interest the feelings, so to regulate the desires, so to restrain the passions, or so to divert, or charm the souls of a whole community, but that these latent and ungovernable fires will, sooner or later, burst out and endanger the whole body politic.

What has been the fate of the ancient republics? They have been dissolved by this same restless and disorganizing spirit, of which we are speaking. And do we not see the same dangerous spirit, in our own comparatively happy and strongly constituted republic?

Here, the road to honor and wealth is open to all; and here, is general intelligence. But here, man is found to possess the same nature as elsewhere. And the stirrings of his restless spirit have already disturbed the peace of society, and portend future convulsions. Party spirit is begotten, ambitious views are engendered, and fed, and inflamed; many are running the race for office; rivals are envied; characters are aspersed (soiled); animosities are enkindled; and the whole community are (is) disturbed by the electioneering contest.

Already, office seekers, in different parts of the country, unblushingly recommend themselves to notice, and palm themselves upon the people, by every electioneering maneuver; and in this way, such excitement is produced, in many parts of the Union, as makes the contending parties almost like mobs, assailing each other. Only let the public sense become vitiated (weakened or corrupted), and let a number of causes unite to produce a general excitement; and all our fair political proportion would fall before the spirit of party, as certainly and as ruinously, as the fair proportions of Italian architecture fell before ancient Goths and Vandals.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Fisk was a prominent New England Methodist minister, theologian, and educator. He was the first President of Wesleyan University.



Cast your eyes upon the earth that supports us; raise them to this immense canopy of the heavens that surrounds us,—these fathomless abysses of air and water, and these countless stars that give us light. Who is it that has suspended this globe of earth” Who has laid its foundations? If it were harder, its bosom could not be laid open by man for cultivation; if it were less firm it could not support the weight of his footsteps. From it proceed the most precious things: this earth, so mean (lowly) and unformed, is transformed into thousands of beautiful objects, that delight our eyes. In the course of one year, it becomes branches, buds, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds; thus renewing its bountiful favors to man. Nothing exhausts it. After yielding, for so many ages, its treasures, it experiences no decay; it does not grow old; it still pours forth riches from its bosom.

Who has stretched over our heads this vast and glorious arch? What sublime objects are there! An all-powerful Hand has presented this grand spectacle to our vision.

What does the regular succession of day and night teach us? The sun has never omitted, for so many ages, to shed his blessing upon us. The dawn never fails to announce the day; and “the sun”, says the Holy Book, “knows his going down.” Thus, it enlightens alternately, both sides of the world, and sheds its rays on all. Day is the time for society and employment,. Night folds the world in darkness, finishes our labors, and softens our troubles. It suspends, it calms everything. It sheds round us silence and sleep; it rests our bodies, it revives our spirits. Then day returns, and recalls man to labor, and reanimates all nature.

But besides the constant course of the sun, that produces day and night; during six months it approaches one pole, and during the other six, the opposite one. By this beautiful order, one sun answers for the whole world. If the sun, at the same distance, were larger, it would light the whole world, but it would consume with its heat. If it were smaller, the earth would be all ice, and could not be inhabited by men.

What compass has been stretched from heaven to earth and taken such just measurements? The changes of the sun make the variety of the seasons, which we find so delightful.

The Hand that guides this glorious work must be as skillful as it is powerful, to have made it so simple, yet so effectual; so constant and so beneficent.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Not further identified, but most probably the French Archbishop François Fénelon, 1648-1717, a prominent Roman Catholic theologian, scholar, and writer.



The Bible is the only book, which God has ever sent, the only one he ever will send, into the world. All other books are frail and transient as time, since they are only the registers of time; but the Bible is durable as eternity, for its pages contain the records of eternity. All other books are weak and imperfect, like their author, man; but the bible is a transcript of infinite power and perfection. Every other volume is limited in its usefulness and influence; but the Bible came forth conquering and to conquer; rejoicing as a giant to run his course his course, and like the sun, “there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” The Bible only, of all the myriads of books the world has seen, is equally important and interesting to all mankind. Its tidings, whether of peace or of woe, are the same to the poor, the ignorant, and the weak, as to the rich, the wise, and the powerful.

Among the most remarkable of its attributes, is justice; for it looks with impartial eyes on kings and on slaves, on the hero and the soldier, on philosophers and peasants, on the eloquent and the dumb (mute). From all, it exacts the same obedience to its commandments, and promises to the good, the fruits of his labors; to the evil, the reward of his hands. Nor are the purity and holiness, the wisdom, benevolence and truth of the Scripture, less conspicuous, than their justice. In solemnity and beauty, in the descriptive and pathetic, in dignity and simplicity of narrative, in power and comprehensiveness, depth and variety of thought, in purity and elevation of sentiment, the most enthusiastic admirers of the heathen classics have conceded their inferiority to the Scriptures.

The Bible, indeed, is the only universal classic, the classic of all mankind, of every age and country, of time and eternity, more humble and simple that the primer of a child, more grand and magnificent than the epic and the oration, the ode and the drama, when genius with his chariot of fire, and his horses of fire, ascends in the whirlwind into the heaven of his own invention. It is the best classic the world has ever seen, the noblest that has ever honored and dignified the language of mortals.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Thomas Smith Grimke, 1786 -1834, when he died of cholera), was a distinguished jurist, Christian scholar, and writer in South Carolina. This is part of a larger work, another extract from which is contained in the California Fifth Reader of 1886. Only the last sentence of the above extract, and the first of the one in the California reader are repeated in this book.


A. B. Muzzey*

The success of all human enterprises depends much on the importance attached to them, the dignity they assume in our view, and the associations which circle round them. The orators of immortal renown, in ancient times, were accustomed to invest the themes they discussed with a peculiar greatness, and to throw a halo of glory around the occasion that had convened their audience. But there is one assembly, unknown to their days, and compared with which, their proudest conventions fade, as the morning star before the coming day. It is the school room in a republic, the place where, in a land favored like our own, the children of the rich and the poor, of the obscure and the honored, are seated side by side.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Artemas Bowers Muzzey, 1802-1892, was an American educator and writer, especially of Sunday School literature.

1. Although capitalized in the title, it is a small r, as in a ‘republic’, not the proper name of a political party.


Samuel H. Stearns*

[Extracts from a letter of a young American to his brother]

London, July 12, 1836

My Dear Brother,—I rose early to enjoy the hallowed hour of devotion. It was my first Sabbath in a foreign land; and a delightful morning it was. The sky was clear, and the air was fresh and balmy. I walked beyond the closely built houses of the town, now closed in silence on their slumbering inhabitants, to spend those halcyon moments among cottages and gardens, fields and hedges all bright with the morning sun, and fresh with the dew of heaven, to be regaled with views as beautiful as they were new, with the fragrance of flowers I had never before seen, and the music of birds whose notes had never before struck my ear and thrilled my heart.

When I had reached the top of a broad, swelling, verdant hill, about one and a half mile from the town, I took my position upon the top of a hedge bank. The town and the harbor were before me; and all around were the neat white-washed, straw-thatched cottages, and blooming gardens, and velvet-like fields, enclosed with green and flowering hedges, and shaded with deep verdant trees, and enlivened with gay birds, which alone, of all animated beings seemed, with inanimate nature, to have caught the spirit of the morning, and to be sympathizing and vying with each other in the worship of their Maker.

I had not stood there long before I enjoyed the principal object of my search. It was the morning lark, rising and singing towards heaven,

—just as Jeremy Taylor1 has so beautifully described it to our imaginations. I could not have a better exhibition of of it. It satisfied, and more than satisfied, my previous, and most pleasing conceptions of it. I saw one rise, and watched its ascent, and listened to its song, till it was entirely above and beyond my sight. I could only hear its note, more soft, more sweet as it was nearer the home of the blest, and the object of its praise, the throne of its God.

I could think of nothing but of some returning angel, or of some sainted spirit released from its service below, and springing from the earth below, and springing from the earth, gaily ascending higher and higher, singing more and more joyously, and resting not from its song or its flight, till it folds its wing and rests its foot by the throne of Him who made it. I could still hear its note, and still I gazed after it, and presently discerned its form, and saw it descend; but its descent was, if possible, more beautiful than its ascent. It returned to earth with such a graceful and easy motion, it seemed as if conscious that it could, at any time, rise again.

I did not intend to give you any description of this hour or of this scene; and you can have no idea of it now. It was altogether the happiest hour I have enjoyed since I left my native land. I returned to my lodgings, satisfied,—filled,—and feeling as if I had had a glimpse, and caught a note, of heaven.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Likely the Rev. Dr. Samuel Horatio Stearns, (1801-1837), a New England minister and writer who died shortly after this letter is dated.

1. Probably the Jeremy Taylor who was a noted writer and cleric during the English Civil War. Taylor was something of a Royalist counterpart to Puritan poet and polemicist, John Milton. They alternated imprisonments as the political winds shifted. Taylor became a Bishop during the Restoration.



The assumption that the cause of Christianity is declining, is utterly gratuitous (without substance). We think it not difficult to prove that the distinctive principles we so much venerate, never swayed so powerful an influence over the destinies of the human race, as at this very moment. Point us to those nations of the earth, to which moral and intellectual cultivation, inexhaustible resources, progress in arts, and sagacity (wisdom) in council, have assumed the highest rank in political importance; and you point us to nations whose religious opinions are most closely allied to those we cherish. Besides, when was there a period, since the days of the Apostles, in which so many converts have been made to these principles, as have been made, both from Christian and pagan nations, within the last five and twenty years? Never did the principles of the saints of the Most High, look so much like going forth in serious earnest, to take possession of the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, as at this very day.

But suppose the cause did seem declining, we should see no reason to relax our exertions, for Jesus Christ has said, Preach the gospel to every creature; and appearances, whether prosperous or adverse, alter no the obligation to obey a positive command of Almighty God.

Again, suppose all that is affirmed were true. If it must be, let it be. Let the dark cloud of infidelity overspread Europe, cross the ocean, and cover our beloved land,—let nation after nation swerve from the faith,—let iniquity abound, and the love of many wax cold, even until there is on the face of this earth, but one pure church of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,—all we ask is, that we may be members of that one church. God grant that we may throw ourselves into this ‘Thermopylae1 of the moral universe.’

But even then, we should have no fear that the church of God would be exterminated. We would call to remembrance the years of the right hand of the Most High. We recollect there was once a time, when the whole church of Christ, not only could be, but actually was, gathered with one accord in one place. It was then that the place was shaken, as with a rushing mighty wind, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. That same day, three thousand were added to the Lord. Soon we hear, they have filled Jerusalem with their doctrine.—The church had commenced her march:—Samaria has, with one accord, believed the gospel; Antioch has become obedient to the faith; the name of Christ has been proclaimed throughout Asia Minor; the temples of the gods, as though smitten by an invisible hand, are deserted; the citizens of Ephesus cry out in despair, Great is Diana of the Ephesians; licentious Corinth is purified by the preaching of Christ crucified. Persecution puts forth her arm to arrest the ‘spreading superstition’; but the progress of faith cannot be stayed. The church of God advances unhurt amidst the racks and dungeons, persecutions and death; she has entered Italy, and appears before the wall of the Eternal City; idolatry falls prostrate at her approach; her ensign floats in triumph over the capitol; she has placed upon her brow the diadem of the Caesars.

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker, 1844

*Not otherwise identified, but probably Francis Wayland, 1796-1865, a New England Baptist preacher, university president, and notable economist whose works on political economy are influential even today.

1 A battle in 490 B.C. in which Spartan and other Greek warriors fought to the death to stop a Persian invasion.

The preceding selections are from Chapter 18 of Pious To Progressive; A Century of American Readers, and originally from:

The American Common-School Reader and Speaker

by John Goldsbury and William Russell

Copyright John Goldsbury, 1844

Tappan, Whittemore and Mason

Boston, MA

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