THE use of this ominous expression has come to be warranted, prospectively at least, by conditions which exist to-day in the United States. Upon this point the eminent scholar and deep-thinker, Carl Schurz, than whom no man better understands American institutions, in an address before the convocation of the University of Chicago, said:—
“If we do adopt such a system [the system of subjected provinces], then we shall, for the first time since the abolition of slavery, again have two kinds of Americans—Americans of the first class, who enjoy the privilege of taking part in the Government in accordance with out old constitutional principles, and Americans of the second class, who are to be ruled in a substantially arbitrary fashion by the Americans of the first class, through congressional legislation and the action of the national executive—not to speak of individual ‘masters’ arrogating to themselves powers beyond the law.
“This will be a difference no better—nay, rather somewhat worse—than that which a century and a half ago still existed between Englishmen of the first and Englishmen of the second class, the first represented by King George and the British parliament, and the second by the American colonists. This difference called forth that great pean of human liberty, the American Declaration of Independence—a document which, I regret to say, seems, owing to the intoxication of conquest, to have lost much of its charm among some of our fellow-citizens.”
When there are Americans of the second class in Porto Rico and the Philippines, it will not be long till there will be Americans and the second class in the United States, and that too among people of Anglo-Saxon blood.
When the distinction of first class and second class is allowed among Americans upon a basis of difference in race the like distinction will soon find a basis in differences of condition, as for instance, the difference between the man who has wealth, and the day laborer. There is too much distinction, socially and politically, made upon this basis already.
Are you willing to become an American of the second class? And if not, are you willing for all Americans to be of the first class, so far as concerns their individual freedom?