Constitution divided the sovereign authority, and in imitation the Americans split up theirs.
The result is seen now. At the critical moment of their history there is no ready, deciding power. The South, after a great rebellion, lies at the feet of its conquerors: its conquerors have to settle what to do with it. They must decide the conditions upon which the Secessionists shall again become fellow citizens, shall again vote, again be represented, again perhaps govern. The most difficult of problems is how to change late foes into free friends. The safety of their great public debt, and with that debt their future credit and their whole power in future wars, may depend on their not giving too much power to those who must see in the debt the cost of their own subjugation, and who must have an inclination towards the repudiation of it, now that their own debt,—the cost of their defence,—has been repudiated. A race, too, formerly enslaved, is now at the mercy of men who hate and despise it, and those who set it free are bound to give it a fair chance for new life. The slave was formerly protected by his chains; he was an article of value; but now he belongs to himself, no one but himself has an interest in his life; and he is at the mercy of the “mean whites,” whose labour he depreciates, and who regard him with a loathing hatred. The greatest moral duty ever set before a government, and the most fearful political problem ever set before a government,
- This was written just after the close of the civil war, but I do not know that the great problem stated in it has as yet been adequately solved.