Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/428

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leading strings and all the paraphernalia of creeping childhood or timorous imbecility. We see before us, as we believe, a prospect of manhood for the American people—such a manhood as they have never before attained to—one of the chief signs of which will be a proud confidence in themselves, and, in connection and through harmony therewith, a noble and generous bearing toward all other nations. Heretofore men politically prominent among ourselves have not been ashamed to suggest that the best policy for us was the one that wrought most evil to other countries, and have thus fed and stimulated all that was meanest and most malignant in the minds of those whom they addressed. There has thus been cultivated among a people which ought, from its advantages of position, to be the most cosmopolitan and broadly philanthropic of all nations a tone of feeling more petty and parochial than could perhaps be found in any other community of the modern world. The mark has, however, been overshot, and the better feeling and better sense of the American people are now, we may trust, about to assert themselves. To be too sanguine in regard to the coming change would only lead to disappointment; but that in the main a better spirit will preside over our national life in the future we confidently believe. Once let the American people make fair trial of themselves under a régime of liberty, and nothing will lure them back to the lame and sinister devices which have been so delusively put forward in the past as the props and safeguards of national prosperity.

But not in the political sphere alone, as we have already hinted, is progress to be anticipated. The moment is propitious for an advance all along the line. It is science that has won the battle of liberty, and science should reap its reward in a fuller recognition of its claims. When we say that science has won the battle of liberty, what we mean is that the full, ample, and exhaustive discussion of economical questions that has taken place before the American people has brought certain conclusions into a clear light; the truth has forced its way through the mists of sophistry and all the obstructions that selfishness and prejudice could place in its path. The result, the great result, is that many minds have been opened to the recognition that in the recent election it was not a party that triumphed, but a principle, a truth, that vindicated itself. Hence the conclusion will inevitably be drawn that in the region of human action there are principles capable of demonstration; in other words, that science, which points the way to demonstrations and is itself built on demonstrations, is the proper guide of life. The applications of this conclusion are too numerous to point out on the present occasion; but we may hope that many such applications will spontaneously suggest themselves to our readers, and that, in such efforts as we ourselves may make hereafter to bring home the lesson, we may have many zealous helpers. The less we can all think of party and the more we can think of principles at the present crisis the better it will be; for it is upon the thorough comprehension and acceptance of a principle, and not on the triumph of a party, that the future welfare of the American people depends.


An unmistakable demand for good common roads is being heard in all parts of the United States. This demand is rapidly growing in volume and is taking on the systematic organization which is essential to the success of such a movement. That bad roads in this country cause an enormous loss of money each year to those who use them may be clearly proved, but this fact is veiled from many persons because they have never known anything better.