THE Government of the United States is, or should be, a perfect republican Government. The Declaration of Independence and the national Constitution were designed to be, and are, the proper basis of a government which preserves the natural rights of the governed. Every national act ought to be in harmony with the principles which these documents embody.
The Government ought to be true to the principles on which it was founded. But under the leadership of the party in power it may, and often does, depart from those principles. When this is the case, loyalty to the government does not demand that an individual side with the party in power against the principles of the fundamental law. If the party in power repudiates the doctrine of government by consent of the governed, it is not disloyalty in an individual still to adhere to that principle, at the cost of differing with the Administration.
Loyalty to the Government is loyalty to the principles of the Government, and not loyalty to the political party. The Government is broader than any party; and the party in power may be itself disloyal to the principles for which the Government stands.
The principles of the Declaration and the Constitution—the principles of free government—are fixed and unchangeable. Our forefathers did not originate them; the Declaration and the Constitution did not give them being; they, on the contrary, gave being to those great American documents. Those principles are eternal, and since time began have been worthy the homage and fealty of mankind. Such they have been and such they will be while time endure.
Political parties, on the other hand, are constantly changing; and if loyalty to the Government meant loyalty to the party in power, it would be a very unstable thing. But true loyalty must be as fixed as are the principles to which it adheres.
In true loyalty to the Government, therefore, there is nothing distinctively political; and when we are accused of taking sides in politics by adhering to American principles of government against the policy of the party in power, the charge is without foundation. On the contrary, if we said nothing when the principles of free government were repudiated, but adhere to the party in power, to show our loyalty and avoid getting into politics, by that very thing we would get into politics beyond any mistake, and be obliged to defend our course of action on political grounds. The AMERICAN SENTINEL is not, and does not intend to be, in politics; and the only way for it to keep out of politics is to adhere firmly and plainly to those principles of justice and right government which existed before politics were ever heard of, and will exist when political parties shall pass forever.