Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/146

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

section is such that it felt the recent panic less than some other sections, is evidence of the fact that the thoughts and energies of her people have been well directed in the last forty years.

But the building up of waste places is a very engrossing occupation, and when there was added to our other burdens the evils which followed in the train of the constitutional amendment enfranchising the negro, it will be seen that our people have never had since the war much opportunity for considering abstract principles of government.

It is true that we admit that the United States are a nation, but our people are, as yet, I am glad to say, unwilling to concur in the style assumed by the dominant party at Washington that the United States is a nation.


The growth of the power of this national government of ours, and the consequent diminution of the power of the State governments is a matter which should attract the attention of our people. The increase of the power of the nation at the expense of the power of the people makes it natural to inquire whether the powers that be have forgotten the tenth amendment to the Constitution, which declares that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

My countrymen, if the dead heroes in whose honor we assemble here every year could by their lives teach us no lesson for our present guidance I would feel that the sacrifice so willingly made by them of their young lives had indeed been in vain.

The last forty years has been a period of transition, a period of marvelous growth, of commercial resurrection. These things are well, and may even be said to be necessary to the attainment by our people of other things which are better. But from these soldier boys of a former generation we should learn anew fundamental lessons of civil liberty. We should learn that when the people of a republic begin to look to a distant capital for governmental favors, and cease to rely on their own individual