Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/255

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mind one of the most interesting of all the prob- lems to be found in the whole field of social, ec- clesiastical, religious, and racial movement. Why- is it that we do not find in the south as we find in the north of this hemisphere a powerful federation — a great Spanish-American people stretching from the Rio Grande to Cape Horn? To answer that question would be to shed a flood of light upon many deep historic forces in the Old World, of which, after all, these movements of the New are but a prolongation and more manifest extension.

What more imposing phenomenon does history present to us than the rise of Spanish power to the pinnacle of greatness and glory in the six- teenth century? The Mohammedans, after cen- turies of fierce and stubborn war, driven back; the whole peninsula brought under a single rule with a single creed; enormous acquisitions from the Netherlands of Naples, Sicily, the Canaries; France humbled, England menaced, settlements made in Asia and Northern Africa — Spain in America become possessed of a vast continent and of more than one archipelago of splendid islands. Yet before a century was over the sovereign maj- esty of Spain underwent a huge declension, the territory under her sway was contracted, the fabulous wealth of the mines of the New World had been wasted, agriculture and industry were ruined, her commerce passed into the hands of her rivals.

Let me digress one further moment. We have 217

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