Government and Rebellion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 24 pages of information about Government and Rebellion.
turn back the wheel of improvement, and leave us at the opening of 1776; estimate all the freedom of act, of utterance, of industry; reckon the sum of human comforts, even of luxuries, it has brought to our hand.  Look at all our ships, our mechanism, our homes, our sanctuaries, our institutions of morality, of mercy and of religion; our wealth, intelligence, order, power; consider the elevation given to millions in the worst form of civilization in the land, showing that such is the vitalizing force of our national life, that even slavery here, bad as it is—­and we know of nothing worse as a system—­lifts men above the natural license of savage existence.  Consider all this, and much more, that I may not stop to utter, and you cannot—­you do not—­no sane mind can question the supreme excellence—­I had almost said the divine excellence—­of our government.  And if there were need of other proof, we have only to remind you with what promptness the call of our noble Chief Magistrate was answered from every free State—­from the city and the hamlet; from the bank, the bar, the press and the pulpit; from the workshop and the soil; from the calm and comfort of home and ease and affluence, and from the cottage of the poor, as if the pulse of the government were beating in every vein, and the will of the Cabinet had its home in every bosom!  Strong men, young men, aged men, men of leisure, Christian men—­all ready to march under the stars and stripes, or to pour out their treasure for others.  Mothers and wives and sisters, with breaking hearts and tremulous benedictions, bidding the heroes go—­offering them on their country’s altar.  Oh, it would not be thus but for the true manhood which our government infuses into loyal citizens.  It would not be so, but for the Christianity it protects without dictation, and acknowledges without ostentation.

II.  We come now to the question, What constitutes rebellion against good government?

There may be criminal rebellion even against a wicked and oppressive government.  The people may take the law into their own hands, and put to death, or imprison their rulers, without first having tried constitutional methods of redress.  But I speak of rebellion against good government—­such as we have already had in review.  There is a difference between insurrection and rebellion.  The former is an act of a people or population against a single statute, or against a portion of the legislative enactments, without necessarily growing into warfare, or revolt against the whole constitution and the laws.  This may become rebellion.  There is also a difference between rebellion and revolution.  The latter, in a political sense, is a change, either wholly or in part, of the constitution.  This may be effected by argument and a peaceful vote—­by abdication, by a change of national policy in view of some new relation, and by general consent, or by warfare.  “The revolution in England in 1688, was occasioned by the abdication of James II., the establishment of the House of Orange on the throne, and the restoring of the constitution to its primitive state.”

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Government and Rebellion from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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