Page images
PDF
EPUB

he, who is to exercise the one or to enforce the other, has certain views upon civil polity, which will make him a partisan in his acts. What patriotism is to partisanship, religion is to sectarianism. Each is the whole in its spirit and essence universally received, while the form may vary with the mood of the individual. The genius of our government forvids only the spirit of the proselyte, the trade of the partisan. It favors the life of the patriot—the influence of the man who goes forth in the catholic spirit of that religion which is drawn not from the theories of men, but from the precepts of the sacred Scriptures. “What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this : to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Such a religion must become an integral part of school instruction, or the energies of this nation must be expended upon attempts to restrain bad men.

The religion I would emphasize is that which recognizes man's right to freedom, mau's right to rule, subject only to the “imminence of God in society.” This suujection removed, I see not how the rights of man, as set forth in the first and second sections of this Ordinance, could receive their fullest exercise and obtain their assured security—“the right to unmolested exercise of his own mode of worship, conditioned only upon his being an orderly person, and the right to liberty, property, and the enforcement of private contracts.” Especially will the sixth section demand this subjection, since it forbids the exercise of lordship to man over his fellow-man. The independence and the value of the human soul are recognized only where a Supreme Power is acknowledged.

5. But with all this admitted, the spirit of the school of the future must be catholic; in its literal significance, universal, general, and in the derived signiticance, tolerant, sedate, complaisant, but never too easily compliant. The man of catholic spirit holds his own opinions not as inferior, but as equal to those of his neighbor; not to be surrendered when challenged, but to be courteously defended as held, of right and not by sufferance.

The men who passed this Ordinance, eighteen in number (with two exceptions, men whose names do not figure much in history), representing only Atlantic States, could have had little conception of the importance of their work. They could hardly have foreseen that, in a hundred years, the States formed out of this territory would have upon the floor of Con. gress a delegation, more than four times as large as that which gave validity to the Ordinance.

Were they permitted to return to earth and journey in a palace-car from New York to Chicago, with but a single night upon their journey, it seems to me they would pass by the immense warehouses as they enter the city, the marts of trade, the factories, until they had first paid their respects to the assembly, whose work for many years has been upon the factors of this prosperity, brain and heart of the great Northwest—and to say: Progress as you have begun, leaven the land, devote your energies to Américanizing all citizens; be tolerant; and as you look but a few rods from this hall into the cells of those convicted of efforts to destroy this fair structure, we bid you, in God's name, in freedom's name, in humanity's name, make good character the end of your highest efforts, and put into your schools whatever will build up a virtuous character.”

EDUCATIONAL INFLUENCE AND RESULTS.

B. A. HINSDALE, PH.D., SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, CLEVELAND, OHIO.

The educational influence and results of opening the territory northwest of the Ohio river to civilization may be treated in a narrower and in a broader way. The narrower treatment would embrace school lands, school laws, school systems, with all that these imply; the broader treatment would deal with the general forces and conditions that have wrought out the peculiar character of the Northwestern people, and through them have acted upon the national life. This brief paper is a mere glance at some of these general facts.

There are two colonizing periods in the history of the United States. The first saw the English race established, in the seventeenth century, on the Atlantic slope, between the Kennebec and Savannah rivers. The second saw the planting of the Anglo-American race in the Mississippi valley. This second planting began before the Revolutionary war; but its success was not assured until at Paris, in 1782, the American commissioners thwarted the purpose of the three powers to shut us up between the Appalachian mountains and the Atlantic ocean, and secured the Mississippi river as our western boundary. It is no exaggeration to say, that the immediate effect of the first planting on the Englishman was small compared with the immediate effect of the second on the Anglo-American. For example, in the period of our history that lies before the Revolution, constitutional monarchy was developed into conservative republicanism, while in the period since the Revolution, conservative republicanism has been developed into democracy. How thoroughly English the fathers of the Revolution were in political ideas and temper is conclusively shown by all their constructive political work.

In some respects the Ordinance of 1787 is the most interesting document that ever passed the doors of the Continental Congress. All the constitutions of the Revolutionary era, including particularly the nation. al Constitution, were largely the result of compromise ; but the framers of the Ordinance legislated for the wilderness, and so were not compelled to consult facts accomplished; they were free to put into the Ordinance their best ideas of what a charter of a free government should be. It will be instructive to note a single feature of their work.

It was ordained that the governor of the Territory, who was appointed by Congress, should have a freehold estate therein of one thousand acres of land; also that the secretary, the judges, and the members of the territorial council, appointed in the same way, should each have a similar estate of five hundred acres. Until a general assembly should be organized, the governor and the judges should adopt and publish such laws, civil and criminal, as they might deem necessary, choosing them from the laws of the original States. A general assembly was authorized, whenever there should be five thousand free male inhabitants in the Territory; but no man should be a member of this assembly, unless he held in his own right, in fee simple, two hundred acres of land in the Territory; and no man should be allowed to vote for a member of the assembly unless he had a freehold of fifty acres.

What bavoc such rules as these would make with our legislatures and electoral bodies to-day! Their object was to confine the government to those persons who had what English men call “a stake in the country." So far as the qualifications of the representative and the elector are concerned, these rules mark the average republicanism of 1787; and they still stand a land-mark, from which we may measure how far the American people have drifted on the tides of democracy in one hundred years.

The interval between the constitutional monarchy of 1690 and the federal republicanism of 1790 is less than the interval between the federal republicanism of 1787 and the democracy of 1887.

Many are the causes that have democratized the American people, but the “ West" is the name of all the most important of them that are peculiar to America. On the Atlantic slope men were powerfully restrained by tradition, by conservatism, by class ideas, and by European connections; but when the men of the second colonizing period had put the Alleghanies behind them, when they had once firmly fixed their feet on the vast plain of the Mississippi, they felt that they had been brought out into large place, and with the birth of that feeling, American civilization entered upon a new phase.

The West is responsible for no small number of the crude theories and vicious practices that disfigure our civilization. She perfected, if she did not invent, wild-cat banking; she crowned the “Spoils System” king of national politics; she gave birth to "Manifest Destiny.” But she also contributed incomparable elements to the national life. Mention may be made of her all-abounding vitality, her inexhaustible spirit, her unconquerable courage, her largeness of view, her freedom from tradition, her unshaken faith in the destiny of the Republic, and especially in her own destiny.

Western faith in the West is best shown on a back-ground of Eastern narrowness and jealousy. That the annexation of Louisiana, in 1803, was in the line of Providence will hardly be denied by any man who believes

in Providence at all ; but it was vigorously opposed at the time, on the ground that it would subtract from the weight and influence of the old States, particularly New England. Josiah Quincy avowed the sentiment of great numbers of Eastern people when, in 1811, he declared on the floor of the House of Representatives, that the admission of the territory of Orleans to the Union as a State would be its dissolution; that it would free the States from their moral obligations to each other; and that it would, in that event, be the duty of some States, as it would be the right of all, definitely to prepare for a separation, amicably if they could, violently, if they must. Daniel Webster was a man too large to share the small views of some of his Eastern neighbors; but Daniel Webster said in the Senate, in 1846: “We have heard a vast deal lately of the immense value of the River Columbia and its navigation; but I will undertake to say that, for all purposes of human use, the St. John's is worth a hundred times as much as the Columbia is, or ever will be.” The speech of the Revolution was continental ; there were the Continental Congress, the Continental money, the Continental army; but the ideas of the Revolution were not continental. It is one of the achievements of the West to have taught the East the continental lesson.

The effect of the Mississippi Valley upon the men who have filled it; the reaction of the Valley upon the Atlantic slope ; and the influence of the whole West on the national character, life, and government are themes for a volume, not for half a dozen paragraphs. That the American political system was not shattered before 1840, by the admission to it of the West, is a proof of its power and elasticity, only' second to the Civil War. What a change had taken place when, in 1829, General Jackson, a Western politician and Indian fighter, ascended the chair of Washington and Adams !

The effect of the West on the great currents of political thought is a most inviting subject. For example, the last historian of New Haven says that a full revelation of the connection between the growth of a state banking system in the West, and sundry prevalent financial doctrines about the powers of Congress, are essential to a satisfactory constitutional history of the United States.

Three streams of immigration have flowed over the eastern half of the Mississippi valley; one from New England, one from the old Middle States, and one from the seaboard South. These shade into one another; but a man travelling leisurely from Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico, can tell when he passes from one to another, almost as readily as a sailor can tell when he passes into or out of the gulf stream.

No one of these currents is more plainly marked at its source or along its course than the one that flowed from New England; and no other has been more profoundly modified by western conditions. By limiting the field of view, we shall deepen the impression.

« PreviousContinue »