EVERYBODY knows that the Government of the United States was founded upon the Declaration of human rights. And though it is equally true, yet not everybody knows that this Declaration of human rights upon which the Government of the United States was founded, was deduced directly from Christianity. The principles of this Declaration were intentionally adopted from Christianity, by those who framed the Declaration, and were laid down as the basis of the Government of the United States, upon which this Government was to stand forever.
The two vital principles of that Declaration are, that “All men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” and that “to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Thus this nation presented to the world every man first of all subject to the Creator and by the Creator endowed with inalienable rights. The founders of this nation, when discussing this before the people, said that these were the principles upon which the gospel was first propagated, and upon which the Reformation was carried on. They said that the Almighty God, being Lord of the human mind, and Lord only of the conscience, and having all power, chose not to propagate his religion by impositions of power upon the bodies or minds of people as was in his almighty power to do, but that he created the mind free, and that he left it free.
Thus and here for the first and only time in history the Christian principles of civil and religious liberty were intentionally chosen and established as the foundation of a nation. And thus from its beginning this nation has been the beacon light of liberty, civil and religious, “the classical land of religious liberty,” to all the world. Through these principles alone, in quietness and peaceful isolation, this nation has most powerfully influenced all other nations in the world and drawn them away from their former selves toward enlightenment and liberty. This was the wisdom and this the power of this nation in the eyes of all the other nations, who were compelled to say “Surely this is a wise and understanding people.”
But suddenly a change has come: and how great the change! a complete revolution in principle and practice. To-day the United States Government has abandoned the principles which were laid down as the foundation upon which the Government should stand, and by which alone it could be able or worthy to stand. The United States Government to day openly denies to people the equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and is governing, and expects forever to govern, people without their consent.
To-day in this nation the Declaration of Independence which has ever been the pride and the ultimate source of appeal of every American, which has been taught to the youth as the sum of all earthly good, is ignored, belittled, explained away, set aside, and repudiated, by leading journalists, both religious and secular, by leading men of all professions, and by national representatives at the Capitol. The following passage from the Congressional Record, of Dec. 19, 1898, p. 330, is only a sample of much that has been said at the Capitol, all of which has been indorsed by the ratification of the treaty of peace:—
“MR. HOAR.—May I ask the senator from Connecticut a question?
“MR. PLATT, of Connecticut.—Certainly.
“MR. HOAR.—It is whether, in his opinion, governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed?
“MR. PLATT, of Connecticut.—From the consent of some of the governed.
“MR. HOAR.—From the consent of some of the governed?
“MR. PLATT, of Connecticut.—Yes.”
Long ago it was written, “If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?” So in this case, when the foundation is destroyed, what shall the people, even the people of other nations, do?
This nation which God established for the enlightenment of the human race upon the divine principle of human rights—when this nation abandons these principles in the eyes of all the nations, what then? Where then lies hope for the other nations who have never yet had any opportunity to have any benefit of these principles except as the principles by their own inherent power have forced themselves upon the other nations? There is the danger that is involved in this subject of human rights. Abraham Lincoln, when he was conducting that immortal contest in behalf of human freedom against human slavery in the United States, said, “Not only do I hate slavery because it is slavery, but I hate it in addition, because it leads so many good men to whittle away the Declaration of Independence.”
There is to-day the cry of “national expansion,” “imperial America.” This cry is a fact. The nation has  entered upon her world’s career—no longer the career of the quiet and peaceable conquest of sound principles, but the career of conquest, and so of force. And when the defense of this new feature compels so many good men to explain away the Declaration of Independence and openly repudiate divine principle, there is in it all an element of danger to the world: and as in the days of Abraham Lincoln, it is a thing to be supremely hated.
Lord Salisbury, last November, in his speech to the world—for when the Prime Minister of Britain speaks he speaks to the world, and all the world listens—mentioning the fact that the United States Government had entered as a new element in world’s affairs and the Eastern question, said that this does not promise peace to the world. But that though that may be so, it promises only good to Britain—no harm to her, but it is not an element that makes for peace among the nations.
The nations themselves are staggering and about to fall, under the weight of the immense armaments which they are compelled to maintain because of the mutual anger and jealousies that have persisted for more than half a century. The tension is already so great that by the chief ones concerned it has been likened to a magazine with the train already laid, and every moment in danger of being touched with the fire.
All this being acknowledged to be so, what alone can be the effect of the entrance into this awful arena of this new world-power which, beforehand, the world is told by its chiefest spokesman, is not an element that will make for peace to the world? And above all, what alone can be the effect of it, when this new world-power enters that awful arena with the direct repudiation of its own fundamental and native principles which alone can make for peace, and which are the very principles of the Prince of Peace?
What alone can be the influence of this nation upon the world when it has repudiated the principles by which alone it has influenced the world for good, the principles which were its life, which were given to it for the world, and which alone can make for peace on earth and good will to men?
In all these things there is involved the great question of Human Rights. The American people must face this fact. They cannot ignore it and still regard human rights. And when this nation openly disregards human rights, what shall humanity do?
A. T. J.