WHEN the AMERICAN SENTINEL was started upon its mission, there was no thought in the minds of its writers that this nation would set aside the principles of republican government in any other way than by the enactment of laws to compel the conscience, as was foreshadowed by the work of the National Reform party. The work of this party could only end, it was seen, in the subversion of the rights and liberties of the people which this Government was established to preserve, and therefore the AMERICAN SENTINEL opposed that work and warned the people against it, contending for the principles of government set forth in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the fundamental national law—the Constitution. It has contended for the preservation of the Constitution without alteration or amendment in such manner as was proposed by political church parties.
But lo, suddenly and in an unforeseen way, the Declaration of Constitution are completely set aside by the new national policy of imperialism; so that this is no longer a “government of the people, by the people for the people,” but a government by “some of the people,” for “some of the people.” The National Reform party aimed at no more complete overthrow of the rights and liberties of the people than is involved in this policy of imperialism. Both aim at a government of the people by “some” of the peoples—government by “the consent of some of the governed,” only in the one case “some” meant the National Reformers and their allies, and in the other case “some” means the imperialists, or the strong as distinguished from the weak. In either case the rights of conscience and all for which the SENTINEL has contended are to be swept aside.
And this is why the SENTINEL has had so much to say about imperialism. It could not be true to its mission and overlook so startling significant a sign of the times.
THE best thing to do with facts is to look them in the face. Whether they are reassuring or not, it is best to know what they are. It is poor policy to be an optimist because your eyes are shut. There is always hope, so that no one ought to be a “pessimist;” for the Scripture declares that hope “abideth,” though it is to be noted that it abideth with faith and love. But hope must rest upon knowledge, not on ignorance, if it is to be of advantage in the end.