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Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln
The world has never had a...a good definition of the word liberty. The American people just now are...are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty, but in using the same word, we do not all mean the same thing.
What constitutes the bulwark of our liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling seacoasts. These are not our reliance against tyranny. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosom. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.
At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it. Shall we expect some Trans-Atlantic, military giant, to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined could not by force take a drink from the
I answer, that if it ever reach us, it must spring from amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be the authors and finishers. As a nation of free men, we must live through all times or die by suicide.
Let reverence for the law be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in the schools, in the seminaries and in the colleges. Let it be written in primers, in spelling books and almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls and enforced in courts of justice. And in short, let it become the political religion of the nation. And let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly at its altars.
And let us strive to deserve, as far as mortals may, the continued care of Divine Providence, trusting that in future national emergencies, He will not fail to provide us the instruments of safety and security.
Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, or frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.