The Republican party in possession of the Government was not willing to lose its advantage, and the Democratic party, declaring its majority to be rightful, was ready to rise in insurrection. As to the facts in the case, neither Samuel J. Tilden nor General R.B. Hayes was clearly elected to the presidency.
"We need a new orientation which shall deliver democratic thought from national restrictions, and from the sinister contemporary trend towards the reign of material force." True democracy, supra-national democracy, must take its stand against "imperialism masquerading as democracy." The New Education. This lengthy discussion leads up in the end to practical conclusions.
As much in foreign as in domestic affairs must the American people seek to unite national efficiency with democratic idealism. The Monroe Doctrine, consequently, is not to be condemned, as it has been condemned, merely because it went far beyond the limited foreign policy of Hamilton.
The Democratic party was split into two wings, one of which, with Douglas for its choice, claimed that it did not pretend to decide whether slavery was right or wrong; the other with Breckenridge was directly in favor of slavery and sought to extend it and to add new States to the slave list.
Voting is not only coercion, but collective coercion. I think Queen Victoria would have been yet more popular and satisfying if she had never signed a death warrant. I think, in short, that the great historic woman is more herself when she is persuasive rather than coercive. But I feel all mankind behind me when I say that if a woman has this power it should be despotic power not democratic power.
Thus our democracy was, from an early period, the most aristocratic, and our aristocracy the most democratic in the world; a peculiarity which has lasted down to the present day, and which has produced many important moral and political effects. The government of Henry the Seventh, of his son, and of his grandchildren was, on the whole, more arbitrary than that of the Plantagenets.
Whether there is not, among us, a certain democratic reserve in this matter, I do not know; but I suspect it. Reserve is the natural defence set up against the claims of universal equality. In the autumn of 1823, on Dr. Channing's return to his pulpit, I went to New Bedford to preach in the Congregational Church, formerly Dr. Tuckerman giving the sermon.
The denial of responsibility was producing irresponsibility; and even if the Stamp Act and the Tea Duties had never been proposed, this state of things was bound to lead to increasing friction. Nor must it be forgotten that this friction was accentuated by the contrast between the democratic conditions of colonial life, and the aristocratic organisation of English society.
In America the people appoints the legislative and the executive power, and furnishes the jurors who punish all offences against the laws. The American institutions are democratic, not only in their principle but in all their consequences; and the people elects its representatives directly, and for the most part annually, in order to ensure their dependence.
It shows us how completely that distinction between the military or governing, and the productive class, which belonged to the normal Greek conception of the state, had been broken down, on the side at least of privilege and right, though not on that of social estimation, in this most democratic of the ancient states.