The character of our nation is highly complex. It includes many elements, influences, and tendencies, of different degrees of strength and importance. In any real survey of the life and thought of the country the chief of these qualities and forces must be noted and compared with each other, and some estimate made of their relative significance. Some of the influences are wholesome and vital, and tend to national prosperity. Others are of the nature of disease, and depress the national strength, tending, so far as they are effective, to disorder and the decay of society. An exact measurement of intellectual and moral elements is of course impossible, but there can be no just estimate of our national character and tendencies as a whole which is not based upon some such careful study and comparison of the separate factors, some real knowledge of the principal influences which, reinforcing or opposing each other, are all included and summed up in the life and thought of the people. Such an examination has not yet been attempted, I believe, though it would be difficult to overestimate the value of the undertaking if it should be successful; that is, if one who has observed widely and truly could report accurately and plainly what he has seen.
Since the civil war we have had new elements and conditions in our national life, and there have been important changes in the relative strength of certain of the old forces. We have been confronted by problems and dangers which we had thought could never arise in the path of a nation with institutions like ours. Not only had we come to regard our system of government as superior to all others, but we trusted still more to that wonderful perfection and vitality of character which we believed ourselves, as a people, to possess, and which, as we boasted, enabled us to receive from all other countries the most incongruous and unfavorable materials, and assimilate and transmute them all into the texture and substance of a noble national life. We had not, before the war, been prepared in any way for the tasks or difficulties which we have since encountered. We had little practical knowledge of pauperism or the labor question. Our politicians had but slight knowledge of political economy, and generally thought the study of such subjects unnecessary in our country. They knew little of financial theories or methods, or of the principles which the long experience of the civilized world had established in connection with the relation of government to the money and industries of the people. Indeed, the politicians of those days cannot be said to have studied anything very deeply besides party politics, except the slavery question; and they were fond of repeating that history had no lessons for us, and that the experience of other nations was not in any way valuable for our guidance. We rejoiced in our exemption from the ills and dangers of European society.
The intensity of interest which the slavery question at last aroused, and the peculiar direction which it gave to the thought of our people, left no time or vitality for matters pertaining to the science of government. That agitation unavoidably exaggerated the sentimental character which already marked our politics, and gave them an impulse toward humanitarian and intuitive methods which has not yet spent its force. The war destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of property, and the government was compelled to borrow some two thousand millions of dollars to enable it to continue the struggle and maintain the existence of the nation. These two facts are, for any study of our present national life and conditions, the significant features and results of that contest. The more dramatic accompaniments, the emancipation of the slaves and the management of the revolted States after the war, have had far less influence upon the life and thought of our people. With our national wealth or productive property so terribly reduced, and with the new, strange burden of an enormous debt, there was but one course of wisdom and safety,—that of the most rigid economy. But by a remarkable delusion our people came to regard the paper money, every note of which was a certificate and reminder of indebtedness and loss of property, as a real and boundless addition to our wealth, which not only made good our material losses, but made us far richer than we had been before the war. Under the influence of this astounding error the people and the government plunged at once into reckless extravagance of expenditure, thus greatly increasing the loss which the nation had suffered by the war. The heroic sacrifice and endurance of the people during the war should have passed afterward into the form of self-denial and renunciation of luxury till our debts were paid. But there was very little effort to pay what we owed. On the contrary, the indebtedness of the nation, and of the States, cities, and towns of the country, was prodigiously increased. Most people lost their heads, and acted as if debts were never to be paid, and as if wealth without limit could be created at will by acts of Congress authorizing the issue of paper promises to pay. A still farther reduction, of enormous extent, of the wealth of the nation was caused by the general purchase and construction of things which were not needed by the people—articles of luxury and display—at a cost out of all proportion to the wealth or income of the owners. My neighbor, who was the possessor of fifty thousand dollars, bought a piece of land for eight thousand, and built on it a house which cost him nearly all his remaining fortune. He seemed to think that the money he had changed into stone walls, fine carvings, and costly furniture would still be productive, would yield him an income. When he had thus improved the property, as he phrased it, he claimed that it was worth at least sixty thousand dollars; that is, he had spent most of his money and thought he was worth much more than when he began. He has some high- priced European paintings, but he cannot eat them, and as he has nothing but his house and grounds he has had to stint his children in their education, and even in their clothes and food. He wishes to sell his property, but thinks it still worth fifty thousand dollars, though it would not sell for one third of that amount. This is a pretty good representation of the course of multitudes of businessmen. The result is that the country is vastly poorer than the people are willing to admit; that is, they value their property at vastly more than it is really worth. Much of our wealth consists of houses, furniture, mills, machinery, and railroads which produce nothing, and which can not be sold. This is not real wealth.
Much of the money invested in such things is irretrievably lost, and it would be better for us to face the disagreeable truth at once.
This extravagance and the delusion which fostered it had some important results in the domain of morals. Manual labor came to be regarded as in great measure unnecessary, and to be despised as a badge of inferiority by many who had always been engaged in it. Multitudes of men who had until then honestly earned or produced their living by the work of their hands now began to live by their wits, by starting and controlling business enterprises for the investment of other people's money, and by taking government contracts and corporation jobs. The abounding dishonesty which has since then been our curse, the repudiation of the debts of States, towns, and cities, with the alarming development of the disposition to steal trust funds,—these and other unfavorable elements in the life of the time had their source and main impulse in the delusion about the nature and powers of paper money, in the uncertainty of its value, and in the extravagance engendered by the war. A passionate greed for riches was developed among our people. Men had no longer any vision for realities, but built upon illusions and impossibilities as if they were the solid facts and laws of nature. The leading clergymen and writers of the nation encouraged and defended this enormous and reckless acquisitiveness, and talked, in philosophical phrases, about the aspirations of the masses for improved conditions, leisure for culture, and a higher civilization. The pulpit gave to luxury the sanction of religion, and the press urged the people onward in their career of extravagance in the name of patriotism, and declared the national debt a national blessing. It was not to be expected that the working men should be wiser than their teachers. The increase of wages for all kinds of manual labor was very great, but comparatively few of the workingmen saved anything. They imitated the profusion of their employers and guides. Economy was deemed unnecessary, stupid, and mean. New wants were invented, prudence and simplicity of life went out of fashion, and habits were formed and sentiments adopted which have wrought most important changes in the character and aims of the workingmen of this country. The sheer wastefulness of that period, if it could be adequately portrayed, would appear incredible to all who did not witness it. A curious feature of the time was the fact that for so many men all foresight seemed to have become impossible. They were intoxicated by their fancied prosperity, and were confident that it would last forever. Into these conditions was suddenly plunged a population which had no sufficient moral safeguards whatever. The transition to dishonesty had been prepared for among all classes, and was already partly accomplished.
This leads me to consider the religious and moral character and equipment which our people possessed fifteen years ago, and the effect of the new conditions upon these factors of our national life. The nominal faith or religion of the country was what is called evangelical Protestantism. Its early creeds and symbols were still unchanged; but the real religion of the people was already, to a great extent, a decorous worldliness. The formal observances of religion depended largely upon habit; that is, the religious activities of our people had long been chiefly the momentum remaining from old impulses, from influxes or evolutions of moral or spiritual force, which had inspired men in former times, and had then produced an earnestness and selfdenial of which even the tradition was mostly lost. The force which remained was constantly diminishing. The moral impulse received long before had mostly passed into structure, had produced very nearly its full effect upon the character of men and the forms of life in society; and by a wellknown law, which appears in the working of all forces of whatever nature, the power that had thus been embodied could not be used again in the same form. There was no longer any considerable influx or evolution of new religious power or vitality. Many ministers and multitudes of the more intelligent members of the churches had become skeptical in regard to some of the cardinal doctrines of the popular Christianity. These doctrines were, in the preaching of the time, habitually so softened and accommodated to the growing doubt that nearly all their original meaning was explained away. A vague feeling of alarm and uncertainty had for some time pervaded the more earnest portion of the church,—a distrust of tendencies which yet seemed necessary and irresistible. Preaching be came more and more speculative and rationalistic. Everywhere it almost ceased to deal with morals or duty. It lost all edge, all directness of application to the real questions and interests of human life in this world. It was no longer addressed to the conscience, but to the taste, to the aesthetic judgment. The sweep of the new time carried us out of the region and conditions in which it had been the function of the pulpit to rebuke the sins of men, to quicken and reinforce their consciences by faithful teaching of the moral requirements of Christianity. The effect of the new hunger for wealth and display extended to religion and its organic activities. The new tide of worldliness rose everywhere, and submerged to a great extent a church which it found open and without defense against the flood. The conditions of life, the temptations and enticements, were new. The allurements to greed and dishonesty were appallingly strong. The religious people of the country in general had no adequate training or moral discipline to prepare them to face the new foes. The church failed to meet the needs of the time. She did vastly better than those who did nothing, than many of her critics. But that was not enough.
The disintegration of religion has proceeded rapidly. There are now several features of our national religious life and thought which must be noted in any real study of our present condition. No one statement or affirmation can be made to include all the truth. The religion of our country cannot be studied adequately or successfully in the churches of the large cities alone. What of the people in the smaller towns, the villages, and country neighborhoods? What is their religion? The church is now, for the most part, a depository of social rather than of religious influences. Its chief force or vitality is no longer religious. There are still, of course, many truly religious people in the churches, who sincerely believe the old doctrines embodied in all the creeds. But these are everywhere a small minority, and they are mournfully conscious that the old religious life and power have departed from the church. They distrust the methods of the modern revivalism, and do not feel at home among the younger members of the church, with their advanced views and fashionable, thorough going worldliness. They are alarmed to find the atmosphere and tone of the church becoming more and more secular and businesslike. These people, who thus represent the better elements of a former state of things, are the real strength of the evangelical Protestant churches, so far as religion is concerned, and their character is one of the most wholesome and truly conservative forces of our national life. They are not liberal in their views, but they are sincere. They live pure and good lives. They speak the truth, a rare virtue now, and they can be trusted with anybody's money. They will do what they believe to be right, though all men deride or oppose, and at any cost to themselves in business or worldly interests. But they are too few to regenerate the American church, though their influence is highly valuable in resisting some of the evil tendencies of the age. Most of them are old, and they have few successors among the younger people. They have already done most of their work, and their number and strength diminish from year to year.
For a very large class of which we may next speak the church furnishes opportunity for a pleasant social life, which is in no way different from the social life of amiable, intelligent people out of the church that is, there is nothing distinctively religious about it. For this class all the barriers and distinctions between the church and the world have been removed. Church work is for them, in all its forms, a kind of sacred amusement. Public worship, with its pulpit oratory and modern church music, is an aesthetic entertainment. They have developed a religion which is not religious. They have learned how to be Christians, according to their meaning, without self-denial, or any abridgment of the pleasures, pursuits, or ambitions of people who acknowledge no religious obligations. They are the most intelligent members of the popular churches of this country. They are decorously moral, conforming to the easy, worldly criterion of people of like social position. They are nearly all able to live comfortably, possessing the necessaries of life and a few of its luxuries. They are not usually scrupulously truthful or conscientious, and do not believe it possible to maintain a very high standard of justice or honesty in business life. They regard the golden rule as impracticable, and with more or less sincerity deplore the existence of insurmountable obstacles in the way of obeying it. They do not believe the creeds which they subscribe when they join the church, and generally make no secret afterward of their doubt or disbelief respecting various fundamental doctrines of Christianity. But they have a horror of all dissent which takes a man out of the popular church, and show no respect for the plea of conscience in such cases. They are all optimists, believing that things are sure to come out right. They distrust personal earnestness in religious matters, but are capable of self-sacrifice or action for the public good in ways approved by their class, while they are without the qualities or temper enabling a man to serve an unpopular principle or cause. They give largely for all kinds of charities. In them the religion popularly professed has spent its force, and they can contribute little to aid in the moral regeneration of the country. They are almost destitute of moral insight, and have little confidence in principles, trusting entirely to management, to policy, and to present success.
Their ministers are men of intelligence and of considerable culture. They believe even less than their people of the doctrines of their creeds. They generally avoid doctrinal subjects in preaching, and have for some years based their teaching mostly upon utilitarian grounds. They have for themselves accepted rationalistic beliefs far in advance of what they teach, and consider themselves engaged in a most necessary and useful work,—that of leading the people gradually onward in thought and knowledge by carefully giving them the truth as they are able to bear it. Their caution is extreme, and they thus sacrifice what ever strength may belong to courage and outspoken sincerity. Their teaching is far less advanced and rationalistic than the habitual thought of their hearers. They do not understand the real tendencies of the time, lacking the insight and the synthetic judgment which result from independent search for truth, and from heartiness of conviction. They greatly overrate the success of their system of repression,—of keeping back most of what they themselves believe. It fosters skepticism, and spreads distrust of all moral and religious verity, as the people are aware that their ministers practice the concealment of their real beliefs. Their preaching is usually far more intellectual than formerly, but is not based on the creeds, nor on any announced or coherent philosophy, fragments of hostile systems of thought often appearing in amiable proximity, if not in any real relation, to each other. There is nobody to criticise the preaching of these clergymen. Their teaching is often curiously remote from all the practical concerns and conditions of life in our time and country, and is almost entirely destitute of moral authority and power. They regard the general engagement of their people in the work of charity organizations as evidence of the triumphant vitality of Christianity in our age; which is much as if the officers of an army should boast that all their soldiers able for duty are in the hospitals caring for their sick comrades, and that all the ablebodied men at home must soon be conscripted for the same service. They do not see that Christianity, to be successful, must learn how to dry up, in great measure, the sources of the rising currents of pauperism, vice, and crime, nor understand that their own methods are largely responsible for the magnitude of the burdens, rapidly becoming intolerable, of the charities which are their pride.
In the more prosperous American churches in the regions to which modern styles of dress and living have extended there are now but few poor people, and these feel more and more each year that the church is no home for them. There is for them, usually, no fraternal association with their more fortunate neighbors in the church; no wholesome, natural, cordial relation between them as human beings or brethren. And there is a very large class who are not extremely poor, but who are obliged to dress plainly and to practice rigid economy in order to obtain the necessaries of life. In favorable times they may be said to rise to conditions of comfort, but for the most part they are familiar with the pressure of hardship, and their life is a struggle for the means to live. They of course cannot aspire to what is now considered good social position, as that usually depends upon the style of dress and house furnishing more than upon character. This is a very important portion of our population. Most of them are industrious and honest, and many of them are advancing in intelligence. Some of them have a strong desire for knowledge, and read the best books they can obtain. There is good material among them for a more rational and practical culture than is yet possessed by their neighbors who are in better circumstances. This class also is rapidly passing out of the church. The movement is largely the result of impulses from the more prosperous people in the churches, and is not caused so much by the growth of irreligion among these men and their families as by the development of an unfraternal spirit,—a class feeling,—among those more successful in acquiring this world's goods. Many who are thus separating themselves from the churches are injured by the change. They enjoy their greater freedom from restraint, and often sink to a life of less strenuous effort at self-direction. They do not feel bound to resist temptation, or deny appetite its gratifications. But most of this class are still, in the main, moral and wholesome in character and personal influence, chiefly from the power of habit and family traditions of rectitude. Many of them are gradually becoming hostile and bitter toward the church and all specifically religious activities, and their children usually receive at home no religious instruction whatever, being free to go to church or not, as they please. The effect of this parental indifference upon the culture and morals of the young people is not favorable. Among the more intelligent of this class there has been, within the last fifteen years, a rapid development of what is called infidelity; that is, of opinions which involve the rejection of evangelical Christianity. Up to this time the great mass of plain people in this country, of those who work with their hands, know nothing of any religion besides evangelical Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. The people who reject the popular religious creeds, both among the poor and among the more prosperous and cultivated, with some exceptions to be noted farther on, are generally giving up religion entirely. No new system or form of religious belief or life is taking the place of the old faith which has lost its power. But these people are still accessible to any vital improving influences not specifically ecclesiastical in form. Their morals are commonly as good as those of the most prominent church members, and they are probably more truthful, conscientious, and just than most people in the church. But they are not religious; that is, they have no ideas, principles, or beliefs in regard to human responsibility which exercise any considerable power of restraint upon their conduct when interest or appetite is involved. They feel no impulse to association with their neighbors for any kind of moral or religious culture. A few are inclined to propagate their negative notions and hostility to religion; the greater number are simply indifferent. Many of them have read the newspaper and magazine dilutions of the writings of Darwin, Huxley, and Spencer, and have thus been strengthened in their opposition to the old beliefs. Most of them are sensible, practical, capable people, not given to sentiment or illusions of any kind; often somewhat narrow and hard, but with valuable intellectual and moral qualities. Their greatest defect seems to be that they feel too little responsibility for the moral culture of their children and those of their neighbors. They have too little aspiration and national feeling, and are giving themselves entirely to material interests. It cannot be said that they are as a class doing much for themselves, and nobody else is doing anything for them as to culture or morals. Their future course depends upon that of the cultivated classes. If there is within a few years a masked expansion of national culture and increase of its dynamic vitality, these people will do much to strengthen the better tendencies of the nation's life. They are capable of important changes.
Below these as to intellectual character and equipment there is a larger class, in whom prehistoric or savage thought still survives with very slight modifications from science or any other modern influence. Our fellow citizens of this class believe in luck, omens, dreams, signs of many kinds (that is, in supernatural indications or foreshadowings of future events), and in the presence and influence of the spirits of the dead, whom they habitually or occasionally consult in various ways. These have not all rejected evangelical Protestantism, as great numbers of them are members of the popular churches. Many of them have wealth and social position. The women of this class constitute the larger portion of the great army of readers of worthless books of fiction and serials in the storynewspapers. Perhaps a ma jority of the members of the evangelical Protestant churches in this country have at some time consulted the spirits of dead people, by the help of some professional ghost-seer or medium. But outside of the church the believers in spirits, spells, possessions, omens, visions, warnings, and the other features of prehistoric supernaturalism are usually hostile to Christianity. They think the inspirations and revelations of many trance speakers and mediums in this country superior in value to those recorded in the Bible. They have usually a scorn of history, and of the past as a teacher, and are especially hostile to belief in any authority except that of the individual soul. They mostly regard society as a great oppressor, and believe that priests (they call all ministers priests) have been the authors and are now the chief supporters of nearly all the evils which afflict mankind. They are all sentimentalists; that is, they attach little value to facts, and do not think it important to study them. Their contempt for scientific methods of investigation is nearly equal to their scorn for history. They depend chiefly upon intuition and the great instincts of humanity for their guidance, and for the determination of all problems. They would like to see the existing organization and institutions of society displaced, and think it would be a great gain to stop trying to patch up the old systems of religion and law, and begin anew. They see no great difficulty in the attempt to establish an entirely new organization of society, with all necessary institutions, machinery, and activities, and believe that it could be done at once, with immense advantage to the people, if only the priests and the money power were put down. They have a kind of rage against churches and all the organized activities of Christianity. They have not yet any religion of their own, in the modern sense of the word, as they do not worship or revere anything as higher or better than themselves. Their nearest approach to adoration is their belief in the omnipotence of a free platform; that is, of a mass-meeting of believers in the sovereignty of the individual, with absolutely no restrictions as to the direction or extent of the discussions. They have a stronger impulse to propagate their sentiments than is manifested by any other class in our country at present, and have more enthusiasm and self-sacrifice for their cause and objects than the people who hold better doctrines. (This stirring of powerful impulses among the more ignorant and undeveloped, while the cultured classes, the leaders of society, are bewildered and indisposed to action, is one of the most significant features of our age.) They have not wholly escaped injury to their morals in thus casting off the restraints of the old beliefs. There has been a serious and general lowering of moral tone and quality among them during the last fifteen years, and this deterioration is still going on. But this has not yet resulted in any great increase of concrete immorality, except the immorality of worthless talk, incessant, universal, and interminable. There has been some sexual vice among them, but it has been mostly of a cold-blooded kind, the effort of theorists making experiments and ostentatiously trying to be wicked, rather than the wild play of ungoverned impulse and passion. There is not yet a large growth of licentiousness in American society. It increases only as the criminal classes increase, and especially as thieves become more numerous. Thieves of all grades, burglars and pickpockets, habitually resort to houses of ill-fame. It is the common method of spending money dishonestly obtained. But there is not yet any considerable spread of licentiousness upward through society, and life is probably cleaner and better in this respect in our time than ever before. In other ways the immoral effects produced by the ideas and sentiments of the large class which I am now describing are extensive and important. They have seriously weakened respect for law in all parts of our country, and have profoundly influenced public sentiment in opposition to the punishment of criminals. They have to a great extent abjured the doctrine of individual responsibility for wrong-doing, and their ideas have pervaded the atmosphere of the age, and have so benumbed the conscience of the nation that the unwillingness of good people to have the laws enforced, and their sympathy for criminals, are among the most threatening evils of our society. Their worst immorality is their teaching; especially the character of their addresses, lectures, and discussions, in which there is almost everywhere a wild vehemence of attack upon all the principles of religion, morality, and social order, which is unrestrained by any regard for truth, decency, or justice. The orators are absolutely irresponsible, as they recognize no authority but their own wills. They have a fluency of extempore utterance, with ability to talk for any length of time, which inspires great admiration among the people; for the masses in our country have a boundless delight in what they call eloquence, meaning usually a great flow of words and a confident manner, with many sounding phrases about the progress of humanity, the grandeur of free thought, and the resistless uprising of the people. No other class is at present so successfully educating the people of this country. They are positive and aggressive, and have a certain power of enthusiasm or afflatus which no other class now possesses. They have many organized societies, traveling lecturers, and missionaries, and a score or two of newspapers, besides an enormous literature of their own, if one may apply the word literature to their productions. It is a great and successful movement for the propagation of uneducated thought, the spectacle of the untaught classes and disorganizing forces of the time taking possession of the printingpress, of the rostrum, and of the ballot, and attacking modern society with its own weapons. It is a widespread revolt against civilization.
There can be no doubt, after any real investigation of the matter, that this class in whom the method and tendencies of prehistoric thought are still dominant and almost unmodified by modern culture—the class believing in omens, visions, spirit communications, impressions, and intuitions, and in the sovereignty of the individual's impulses—includes several millions of our country men. They incline to think nearly all labor unnecessary,and generally regard employers as oppressors who defraud the workingmen of the larger part of the fruits of their toil. They are met and reinforced upon this ground by a great number of the workingclass, who have no theories or ideas of progress, but who have done little honest work since the great inflation of prices a few years ago. That inflation had a most disastrous effect on the conscience and sense of honor of multitudes of workingmen. They have ever since acted on the plan of getting all they possibly can out of their employers, and giving as little as possible in return. They regard the capitalist, that is, whoever has money, as their natural enemy and prey. The theorists who wish to reconstruct society outright, and govern it afterward by mass meetings in continuous session, encourage the discontent and indolence of the men who believe they ought to be paid high wages for very light work. The prostration of business and industry extending over the whole country during the last few years has given all these people unprecedented opportunity, and has greatly stimulated the sentiments and tendencies which they represent. They have the immense advantage and sanction which their attack upon the existing order of things derives from the extreme hardship and real suffering now for some time endured by many of the working people in different parts of our country.
The political objects and plans of this large class of our citizens are much more fully defined and articulate than is yet believed by those who regard them with contempt or indifference. Of course they do not themselves know what their own part may be in later stages of the enterprise which they are undertaking. But some of their aims are clear. They believe that the interests of the laborer, of the people, as they say, will be advanced by crippling and injuring capital in every possible way; and this they intend to do. They will influence legislation in this direction wherever they have the power. They do not regard the capitalist as one of the people, but as a criminal and enemy who has no rights that the people should respect. Those who possess property and who live in comfort and refinement are more and more regarded as the foes of the workingmen. Intellectual labor is not respected. Professional men, scholars, teachers, and cultivated people are none of them acknowledged as laborers, or as having any just title to labor's rewards. The relations between the people who have property and culture, on the one hand, and the workingmen, on the other, are regarded by the latter more and more as a state of war; so that any advantage gained or injury inflicted by the laborers is to be regarded as justifiable and right. We are in the earlier stages of a war upon property, and upon everything that satisfies what are called the higher wants of civilized life. The workingmen are taught to regard works of art and instruments of high culture, with all the possessions and surroundings of people of wealth and refinement, as causes and symbols of the laborer's poverty and degradation, and therefore as things to be hated. The movement has already in many places attacked and crippled the higher departments of our public school education, and its leaders assail all endowments and appropriations for scientific research. The strongest tendencies and influences now operating among these people are leading them to a region and condition in which regard for the higher elements of the life of civilized man, for art, literature, and culture, is impossible. They do not value science more than art or religion, except in those applications of it which have an immediate commercial value. The war against all these things will be prosecuted with desperate energy and persistence unless something is speedily done to counteract and change some of the chief tendencies of the age; unless there is an evolution or application of forces adequate to create a new series of circumstances. The instincts of destruction are already very strong in multitudes of men in this country. They are becoming fiercely hostile to everything that does not belong to the material life of man, or which is not required to satisfy his bodily wants.
The greatest danger is not that of armed violence or riotous destruction of property. The chief point of attack, naturally, and as arranged by the leaders of the movement, is to be for some time to come the money or currency of the country. They have for some years endeavored to bring the whole subject of the currency, its character, basis, and amount, under the direct and immediate control of the people in mass meeting assembled, so that all questions of the issue and circulation of money shall be brought before the country, voted upon, and decided anew at every election. At present the leaders favor a series of feints, that is, strenuous advocacy of some measure that cannot be adopted; and, when it is defeated, the attempt, without attracting attention or exciting opposition, to obtain in another form as nearly as possible the same legislation. Unless there is more effective effort to prevent such a result, our experience of a vast inflation of the currency, with the slow and painful climbing up again to specie payments, is likely to be repeated. There never was much purpose or cooperation among people of this class in our country until very recently, but they are now awaking to a sense of their power. Their idea of government is to place less emphasis upon constitutional provisions, to disregard or set them aside when necessary, and to depend more and more upon congressional legislation; to make the judiciary and all other offices elective, to increase as much as may be the power of Congress, or rather of the House of Representatives, and to place, as nearly as possible, the entire administration of the government directly in the hands of the people, to be conducted by means of the political canvass or campaign. The aim is to destroy, little by little, the constitutional and representative character of the government, in order to enable the people to decide everything anew, if they wish to do so, at each annual election. There is to be an agitation or series of efforts for the reduction of all terms of office to the shortest possible time. Our fellow citizens of this class hold that representatives of the people should always obey instructions from their constituents, or should immediately resign. They do not trust each other very far, and the workingmen especially believe that if one of their own number is elected to a place in a state legislature, or in Congress, he can be bribed or "bought up" by the money power, and that for a very paltry sum. They never before had any competent directors; but while they still quarrel among themselves over details, a vast number are for the first time in substantial agreement in their purpose to seek the ends which I have described, and to advance toward them persistently, and by any methods that promise partial success. They hold that it is the function of government to "make good times" for the people, that is, for the workingmen and that there is already sufficient wealth in existence in our country to give the working people good times, if it were only rightly distributed.
This, after many years of observation, extending to most of the States of our country, I believe to be a just estimate of our present condition and tendencies. We have a great increase and development of unfavorable and disorganizing forces within our national life, and no corresponding increase of wholesome or vital activities. The influence of the church and of religion upon the morals and conduct of men has greatly declined, and is still declining. There is yet, as I have said, a large amount of moral force and healthful life in the church. Religion is not extinct. But the really significant fact here is that it is constantly losing ground. The empire of religion over human conduct, its power as a conservative moral and social force, is so far lost that some things which are indispensable to the existence of society can no longer be supplied from this source without a great increase of vitality in religion itself. The morality based upon the religion popularly professed has, to a fatal extent, broken down. Multitudes of men who are religious are not honest or trustworthy. They declare themselves fit for heaven, but they will not tell the truth, nor deal justly with their neighbors. The money of widows and orphans placed under their control is not safer than in the hands of highwaymen. There is no article of food, medicine, or traffic which can be profitably adulterated or injuriously manipulated that is not, in most of the great centres of trade, thus corrupted and sold by prominent members of Christian churches. I have made all these statements as colorless as possible, desiring to present a coldly accurate report of the more important facts and tendencies of the life and thought of our country as I have observed them. The evils mentioned are highly complex in character, and are parts of a system over which individuals, as such, have little power. We must take account of them as a wise captain acquaints himself with the position and numbers of a hostile force.
Our situation is the more unfavorable because of the inevitable decline of patriotism among us immediately after the war,—a lowering of national vitality which still affects us seriously. This was largely caused by the utter exhaustion of the faculties of the people; an incapacity of their powers of brain, nerve, and mind for continued action in the same directions after the fearful tension maintained during the struggle. As all our intellectual and moral activities are correlated with physical forces, this exhaustion was unavoidable, and any great moral effort on the part of the people at the close of the war was next to impossible. This has most probably had something to do with the great indifference in regard to the violation of the laws displayed by local communities. The leading citizens in many places habitually transgress some laws, finding it convenient or profitable to disregard them. In one of the best towns of an Eastern State the principal property holders and public-spirited citizens met from time to time for some months, last year, to devise measures to repress crime and immorality, and to promote the order and welfare of the community. The relation of society to pauperism, the sources of vice, the province of legislation, and the duty of good men in relation to such subjects were freely discussed. Two or three gentlemen urged the adoption of some expression, by these chief men of the place, of their sense of the importance of strict obedience to the laws on the part of all good citizens; but it was impossible to obtain anything of the kind. I have learned that the same thing has occurred in several other places. Some of this evil may be due to overlegislation; but, whatever may be the causes, we are becoming a nation of lawbreakers. The laws relating to streets, sidewalks, and domestic animals, for instance, and various other minor statutes, are habitually violated in country places by some of the best people. The great number of people from other countries now living in nearly all our towns and villages, and the frequent removals to other places on the part of many citizens, are hindrances to the speedy attainment of a real unity or homogeneous character by the population of our local communities. People will not love their country unless they love the place where they live and endeavor to promote its interests.
It is said that our system of popular education provides sufficient safeguards against the dangers here pointed out. But even if its work were henceforth to be perfect, its operation would necessarily be too slow for some things which our present situation requires. Our school system as it now exists cannot be depended on to remedy or avert the evils which threaten us. Most of the class whose use of prehistoric methods of thought leads them to rely upon instinct and intuition, rather than upon any results of human experience, have enjoyed the opportunities of our schools, and have received, in an average degree, the benefits which our system of education now confers. The people from whom these dangers arise are not stupid or ignorant, nor are their minds inactive. They have been through our schools; they edit newspapers, make our political speeches in all the country places, and represent us in Congress. They are not so much uneducated as miseducated; their faculties are active, particularly of late years, but they are undisciplined and misdirected, and the result of their thinking is largely erroneous. For these difficulties our public school system furnishes no adequate remedy. Two things are especially to be noted in our popular school education: it usually leads to no interest in literature or acquaintance with it, nor to any sense of the value of history for modern men,—a very serious defect; and its most characteristic and general result is a distaste for manual labor. We have some good schools, of course; but great numbers of teachers and principals of our high schools in country places have for several years explicitly taught their pupils, and urged upon parents, the sentiment that in this country education should raise all who obtain it above the necessity of drudgery; that there are better ways of making a living than manual labor "at so much for a day's work," and that these higher ways will be open to those who "get an education." All this has resuIted in a dainty, effeminate, and false view of the world as a place where only uneducated and inferior people need work hard, or engage in toilsome or unattractive employments.
There are two or three small bodies of dissenters from the popular religions whose work is one of the factors of the life of the nation. They have prepared some excellent material for a better state of things. A few cultivated men among them have given the nation the best of its literature. The work of most of the ministers among these dissenters is at present, indeed, rather more literary in its character than is desirable. They do not so much preach as write literary essays. Their position is, however, in large measure, a necessity, and the character of their work up to the present time has been the inevitable product of the most important intellectual and religious movement of the century. But a vital advance ought also now to be inevitable for them. Some of them see the gravity of our national situation and prospects, and are doing all in their power to prepare the people about them for wise and wholesome action and life in the service of the country. Others cherish an urbane philosophical optimism, and smile at the idea of any serious danger to American institutions, political or religious. But these live curiously remote from the common people, or meet them only in the peculiar relations which charity involves. They often know more about other times and lands than our own. Most of them are, like the best men in the pulpits of all the churches. loyally devoted to truth, and eager to be helpful to mankind, but they have to contend at every step against the spirit of the age. The people of this country are—to apply a phrase from M. Raoul Pictet—"prone to value none but paying facts." They know what kind of preaching they want, and they intend to have it. If one minister does not supply it, they employ another. It is expected that ministers will preach on national interests or morals on Thanksgiving Day and on the Fourth of July; but as things are now few congregations would listen, without serious dissatisfaction, to any thorough or adequate treatment of the subjects which are most important and vital for us as a nation. After a few such discourses there would be an imperative demand for sermons of the usual type. The good people in the churches are weary and careworn when Sunday comes, and wish to be comforted, soothed, and entertained by the preaching. And in this commercial age they will not "pay" for preaching which does not suit them. So there are many men whose religious teaching is of the wisest who have much difficulty to live, and who are entirely unable to equip themselves as they should for their work. If there is any new development of moral forces or increase of religious vitality in our time, these small companies of dissenters from the popular religion will have a close and vital connection with it, though not in sectarian ways.
As to that numerous class of people who insist that Christianity is itself exhausted and outgrown, and that we have already reached something better, they have not developed anything that can help us in our present needs. They do something in opposing the superstitions and absurdities of some church people, but thus far their criticism has been narrow, sectarian, and unpractical. The priests of the Roman Catholic church occupy a position of great importance in relation to the new conditions and tendencies of our national life. Although many of them are rather churchmen than American citizens, their influence is likely to be, on the whole, rather helpful than otherwise. They do a vast deal of good work upon very difficult material. Their course should be critically observed, but they deserve far more sympathy and recognition than they receive. Their teaching forbids consultation of the spirits of the dead, and membership in secret societies. This last requirement will keep many voters out of the movement for the inflation and debasement of the national currency, as the leaders of that enterprise make great use of the machinery of secret societies.
What then can be done? Is our condition hopeless? By no means. Are we to wait, as some people urge, until these errors and delusions have spent their force? They do not tend to exhaust themselves. They belong naturally to human beings in the stages of development to which those who are affected by them have attained. They have no self-limiting quality, but have abundant power to reproduce and extend themselves. Are we to depend chiefly upon force, as employed in the repression and punishment of riotous proceedings and crimes against property, as the best means for the protection of society and the maintenance of civilization? No. It is true that all positive law rests upon force in the last analysis, and it is often conservative and merciful to enforce obedience to law at whatever cost. But the value and permanence of property, and the vitality of other elements of civilization, depend upon settled, orderly, and peaceful conditions of society. If the evil tendencies I have described are not checked, if we are to live in a state of constant apprehension of riots and conflagrations, or if we rely chiefly upon armed force to prevent such outbreaks, our legislation will necessarily be unwholesomely affected to such an extent, and the business and industries of our country so disturbed and depressed, that our national condition would have to be regarded as little better than the real failure of our institutions. Other dangers than that of the pillage and destruction of our cities by armed mobs may he serious enough to tax the vital resources of the nation to the utmost. We must somehow eliminate and transmute a large proportion of this dangerous and inflammable material, and we must greatly increase the healthful forces in the life of the nation.
The evil of false and foolish teaching can be adequately resisted only by true teaching and wise action. It is said that persons who hold the sentiments and cherish the aims here depicted are beyond the reach of argument or reason. That is true of man, probably of all, the teachers and leaders of this class. But it is not true, as yet, of the multitude from whom this class is being constantly recruited. It is not yet true of the young people who are coming up, year by year, to take their places in those ranks. The ideas and impulses which tend to disorder and disintegration, when they have taken possession of the minds of men, indeed constitute a craze, an epidemic hallucination or contagion of unreason and folly. This conception has been well developed, and it gives us one of the most acute and discriminating notions of our time. It is the key to many things otherwise inexplicable in history. But the circumstances, infinences, and conditions which predispose or prepare men for the reception and development of the germs of this contagion have not been sufficiently considered. Here is a fact of great interest for us. The number of those who cannot be influenced by argument or any direct intellectual appeal is increasing from month to month, and it is recruited from classes who are still accessible, who could be guided if there were anybody to guide them; who could be taught and enlightened if the right means were used; who might be confirmed and established in their now wavering allegiance to truth, justice, and sound reason. There is a vast field and opportunity for successful work in this direction. It waits only the awakening of the cultured classes to the perils, needs, and duties of the hour. But the people who cannot be influenced by argument are by no means in a state so hopeless as most of our teachers believe. The truth is that comparatively few men are controlled or guiled so much by argument and reason as by the earnestness, the convictions, and the confident activity of those who have made up their minds, and are heartily interested in a definite object. And especially are men influenced and attracted by the volume and mass of the teaching and movements around them. They are swayed and decided by the continuity of attack, by the cumulative force of the constant iteration of the same idea in varying forms. These things depend upon natural laws, and the apostles of disorder are working in accordance with these laws, which are always potent in the propagation of feelings, opinions, and convictions. These laws are not partial to falsehood and folly. They lend themselves as readily and efficiently to the dissemination of truth and good sense.
But there is a kind of fetich worship of the power of ideas which prevails among our cultivated people, which leads them to think that when they have demonstrated the excellence and superiority of certain principles, by means of a paper in a review, or an essay at a meeting of ministers, their work is done, and that the conquest of the world by their opinions is only a matter of time; and so they turn away, serenely triumphant, to await the happy consummation. But ideas have little practical efficiency until they are incarnated, so to speak,—made alive and personal in men and women; until a few people, at least, care a great deal about them, and feel a resistless impulse to their propagation. This impulse is precisely what our cultivated people do not feel in regard to any ideas whatever. Propagandism of any kind repels them. This is the weakness of our nation today, and the source of its greatest danger. The people who believe in civilization are giving away the victory to their wild antagonists by their own inaction, a delusion of their culture which makes them disdain to learn the use of new weapons and methods. Culture itself is not yet in this country vital or dynamic. It lacks the impulse and virility necessary for its own propagation. It is too dainty for a land like ours, and is inclined to be discouraged about the masses, or else to trust everything to "the resistless operation of the laws of progress." Now that is a phrase merely. Many persons feel soothed and strengthened when they hear it, but it does not mean much. If anything is done for the improvement of life and its conditions in this country we must begin, and must be prepared for a large and persistent expenditure of time, of thought, and of personal effort; with the usual accompaniments of partial failure, of the incompetence of some of the agents, and of much unrecognized and unhonored toil. Direct endeavor for the elevation of any class is less repulsive after we have heartily engaged in it. However distasteful it may be, it is the condition of our success, and cannot be safely postponed to a more favorable time. Such work is not so hopeless as some would have us believe. Two fluids may be kept permanently apart by a thin membrane if both are at rest; but if one is set in motion the other will pass through the intervening wall and join in the movement. When there is a vital advance on the part of our cultivated people new motions will be set up and new centres of force developed in the life of the nation at large. The working people will exert themselves for their own improvement if we begin; they are not likely to do so otherwise.
We shall wholly fail if we think we can improve society, or any portion of it, by any plan which does not require improvement on the part of the more fortunate and cultivated classes. Much of their culture is superficial and unpractical, consisting rather of unrelated fragments of thought, and vague impressions concerning what is supposed to be known, than of real knowledge resulting from the ordered activity of a disciplined intelligence. We need a better culture for our teachers and leaders; not merely more of the same kind they now possess, but culture of a higher order. it will not do to confine our interest or efforts to the lower strata. We must learn how to solve such problems as pauperism, or poor-relief, and prison management; but woe to our nation if we expend all our vitality upon them. We must do this and have strength for higher interests and more constructive work. The lower classes are now educating us. A necessary tendency and peril of democracy, of a universal suffrage arrangement of society, is a general mediocrity, the adoption of low standards, a halting of the army of civilization while we wait for the campfollowers to come up. Let us distribute rations among these if that is best. But their place is not in front, and the head of the column must move on. We must open the way ahead, and not merely fortify the rear of our position.
The people who believe in culture, in property, and in order, that is in civilization, must establish the necessary agencies for the diffusion of a new culture. Capital must protect itself by organized activities for a new object,—the education of the people. Those who possess property, and those who value it as one of the great forces and supports of civilization, will be obliged to learn that legislation, even if the laws are properly enforced, is not an adequate means for the protection of property and the repression of the disorderly and destructive elements in our society. Legislation itself is fast becoming a weapon in the hands of the hostile forces; and even if it were always the work of wise men it is only one factor of civilization, and would not give us security without a great advance in the culture and character of the people. Our present conditions cannot be permanent. If they are not improved they will soon grow worse. The evils which threaten us must be studied and understood, and then dealt with rationally, and some of their sources must be cut off.
The present slovenly and miserably inefficient procedure in dealing with tramps, vagrants, and people destitute of food and employment must be changed by taking some unit of territory, a township, ward, or county, and then confining all who need relief to the district in which they belong or may be found. Labor which will yield them food, not wages, should be provided, and all persons supplied with food should be compelled to work. As it is now, a vast army marches around the land, refusing all work, and receiving far more food and money than would be necessary to maintain it if the business were organized on business principles. Our country roads are unsafe for women, and our cities swarm with stalwart beggars who threaten when their demands are not satisfied.
A friend of mine, a missionary in one of our largest cities, last winter preached in a large hall on Sunday evenings, and spent some hours each Saturday night in the streets and alleys of that vicinity. To all who asked for money to procure something to eat or a place to sleep he gave food (when they would take it; many would accept nothing but money), and secured for them a comfortable lodging. Then, giving each applicant a card, with time and place of services for the next evening, he invited him to attend the meeting, and promised him supper and lodging for Sunday night also. More than a hundred men were thus kindly treated, but not one of them ever came to the Sunday evening meeting. My friend said that of the whole number there was but one who seemed to be really hungry.
But there are more types than one, and we must not estimate the situation by one such report alone. During the last few years I have myself seen the wives and children of workingmen in country towns die of inanition, after having long subsisted on a little Indian meal. Discovery came too late. These people met their fate silently. They were known to be poor, and out of work, and "they would not beg." Many persons have died in some regions of our country, during the last three years, from disease induced by insufficient nourishment, and many invalids among the poor have succumbed to the effects of scant and unsuitable food. A young girl, whose wages as a servant had procured a bare subsistence for her mother and three small children, lost her place recently by the death of her mistress. Unable to find employment, and distracted by the hunger of the children, she applied to a friend of mine for advice. Said she, "Mrs. what is the right way for people to live when they can get nothing to eat?" On behalf of her inarticulate class I repeat her question. As teachers of the poor we should be prepared to offer them a philosophy of life suited to their circumstances. We say truly that some of their theories are wild, and their aims fatal to their own interests. But we must give voice to the plea which they ought to make, and ourselves champion the aims which would be wise and right for them. Again the question; What are they? If we should have for several years a succession of abundant crops, the pressure and urgency of some of our dangers would be lessened. If, on the other hand, we have unfavorable seasons and continued industrial depression, these difficulties would be aggravated. It is not wise to depend for safety upon chances which are in no degree under our control.
I am aware that my arraignment of the inadequacy of the means now being used requires some suggestion of more vigorous methods of action for our national regeneration, or for a decided increase of healthful activities in the intellectual and moral life of our country. A society with a plan or method of work resembling that of the New England Loyal Publication Society, which did so much to reinforce the national sentiment during our civil war, could now render quite as efficient service. Few people, except newspaper men, know to what extent most newspapers out of the cities are made up, or supplied with matter, by the mere accident of proximity, or readiness to the editor's scissors, of articles of suitable length, already printed, so that they can be rapidly glanced over and conveniently transferred to his paper. I would have a society or arrange meat of some kind for printing and sending to the country newspapers everywhere a series of broadsides or sheets filled with short articles, plainly written, direct and spirited in style, without eloquence or bookishness, and with few figures of speech; setting forth and repeating in ever-varying forms the few, great simple truths and facts which explain our present national condition, especially in connection with such subjects as debt, paper money, resumption of special payments, and the relation of individual habits and expenditures to national welfare.
We need also the publication of a small, lowpriced newspaper, for circulation in all parts of the country; to be printed in the best style, giving a good digest of the most important news; to be dedicated to the propagation and definite teaching of strict honesty, wise economy, fraternal self-denial and a religious devotion to our country, and the interests of a nobler civilization than we have yet attained; a paper for the people, which shall have for its aim the develop ment of a national spirit and temper, of a practical, capable, and wholesome nature, leading men away from empty theories of millennial progress and attainments to manly self-reliance, and intelligent recognition of the real conditions of human life in this world; a paper, in short, which shall represent and propagate principles, sentiments, and activities in accord with the central ideas of this article.
We need some small books on subjects connected with political economy, which shall teach what is known, however little that may prove to be, and not merely perplex the brains of workingmen by reporting the speculations of all the schools. We need a great deal of elementary teaching, and should have books written for plain people, by authors who can drive straight at the mark and stop when they have done.
The persuasive power of public speaking, lecturing, and preaching is of course indispensable. It should be employed in the education of the people as fast as honest men who have a real grasp upon these principles can be found to speak clearly and usefully. People everywhere who perceive these needs should meet, confer with each other, and begin to work.
The central or fundamental philosophical truth which underlies the mental and moral culture which the age requires is the truth of the moral order of the universe. Human life belongs to an actual order,—a cosmos, not a chaos; and this order is a moral order, and tends to and prefers truth, justice, and righteousness. The opposite error, which has misled a large portion of American society, is the opinion that the moral order to which man's life belongs is subjective only; that nothing is true or right in itself, but only as it seems so to us; that there is no real standard of human conduct, only a conventional one; and that if men would generally agree to it the relations and nature of right and wrong might be reversed. This is what is really fatal in unbelief in our time,—not the rejection of the creed of my church or yours, but the loss of the perception and assurance of the truth that the laws of nature and the inevitable working of the forces of the universe are hostile to falsehood and injustice; that extreme individualism is now abnormal and self destructive; and that fraternal or social justice is provided for and required by the constitution of things, by the laws of an order which man did not make and cannot change. There is a great deal to be said on the other side. If there were not, we should have no difficulties or problems, and no such arduous task before us here in the education of the people and their emancipation from error and folly.
We must insist on the necessity of sincerity and of knowledge on the part of religious teachers. We need the development of a religion for this world, for the needs and duties of life here. Strictly speaking we have no knowledge of another world or a future life. We may believe profoundly, but we do not know. Belief, trust, and faith are also, as truly acknowled, great dynamic forces in human life, and have a value of their own. We must have a religion and moral philosophy which will inspire patriotism, and hold us strenuously to the work of making this country a clean, orderly, and wholesome dwellingplace, school, and home for human beings. The religious people and the scientific people are alike foolish and blind when they do not see their equal need of each other as allies against the assault of forces which are equally hostile to both. All who will work for the health of the nation must be welcomed and encouraged. What is good and effective in the church and its teaching will disentangle itself somewhat from that which is lifeless and worldly, if there is anywhere a distinct forward movement. The secular press should criticise frankly the preaching of the day, in so far as it concerns morality and national interests, and we must all expect the most rigid scrutiny of what we teach. We must hasten the introduction into religious speech (varying a little Professor Clarke Maxwell's expression) "of words and phrases consistent with true ideas about nature, instead of others implying false ideas."
The people who believe that the utilitarian doctrines provide a sufficient basis for morality should feel an imperative requirement, in the circumstances of our country, for the development of those doctrines. So far as they are capable of becoming a religious inspiration and motive for men, they should be made available to the utmost possible extent. They do not yet constitute a religion, except perhaps to a few persons, who represent in a rare degree what is best and highest in American civilization. We need work, just here, by a master's hand, in setting forth the character, meaning, scope, and practical require ments of the utilitarian doctrines in relation to the circumstances and conditions of life in this country today. What does utilitarianism teach, and why should men regard and obey it?
A change in the reading of the people is necessary, if we are to improve the national life. Men who could really teach English literature, and show people how to read and understand it, so as to receive culture from it, would be among the most valuable missionaries of the new order of things. If there are such men it would be profitable to employ them.
Men of property or wealth, capitalists, and people of culture who understand the value of property in civilization must accept a great and direct responsibility in regard to all matters pertaining to the moral education of the people. Their course will decide what our national condition shall be for some time to come. We have been too much inclined to hold a few half-starved clergymen chiefly responsible for the moral culture of the masses. There is no good reason for making self-sacrifice and unrecompensed labor for such objects the business of ministers exclusively. People will say, All this will require a great deal of money. True; but it will save much more. If the future of this country is to be evolved from the elements and tendencies of the present, then, unless something like what is here outlined is undertaken and carried forward, the loss of property (not to speak of moral losses) will be greater than the amount of money that would be required for an educational enterprise on a larger scale than any the past has known. We ought to expend a million of dollars in this work during the next three years, as a beginning. It would be a most profitable business enterprise,—considered merely as an investment of money,—on account of the pecuniary losses which it would prevent.
I observe much complaint lately of the difficulties involved in universal suffrage. They are doubtless great. If the world were wholly different we might do fine things. But we must have methods that can be used as things are,—to begin with, at least. The age is probably the most unteachable since the Revival of Learning. But we can work today only where we are. We are shut up to this universal suffrage organization of society, and must find out how to make it serve the ends for which society exists. The franchise is not likely to be narrowed greatly in our time. If America were a jungle of human tigers, still it is our country and the country of our children, and its people, however undeveloped and intractable, are our neighbors, brethren, and fellowcitizens. We must live in some relations with them, and to make these relations orderly, beneficent, and just is worth all it can cost. The union of the States is geographical, official, and mechanical; the unity of the people must be vital, organic, and spiritual. Such unity is not yet actual, only potential.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.