January 16, 1896
WHEN in the course of human events the lands of this hemisphere had become peopled with those who, fleeing from the hard and oppressive conditions which beset their existence in the Old World, sought to establish themselves under the happier conditions afforded by a new country and a new order or things, it at length became necessary, in view of the threatening attitude of certain European powers, and especially of a combination calling itself the “holy alliance,” to declare as the sentiment and determination of the United States of America, that the monarchies of the Old World must not be permitted to extend their systems further upon these shores; but that the peoples of this New World must be left free to work out their own destinies under the inspiration of their own genius, and the guiding star of the republican principle of government. This was the Monroe doctrine,—a highly proper one, and a credit to the nation which gave it birth.
But prior to this pronouncement, upon another and even greater occasion, a doctrine had been proclaimed from this country, which, broader in principle and wider in application, interposed a shield between all despotism and the rights of mankind. An assembly of men great alike in statesmanship, patriotism, and political wisdom, speaking with a voice that was heard throughout the world, had said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
And in the spirit of this declaration, the Constitution of the new Republic—its fundamental law—declared, in the language of its First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishing of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Thus did this new-born nation lay the foundation of “a new order of things,” by proclaiming its adherence to the great principle of equal civil and religious rights for the men.
This is the greater and higher Monroe doctrine,—the foundation upon which rests all the force and propriety of the doctrine which warns off from these shores the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World. And this higher doctrine is being violated; not by a foreign foe, but by a domestic one,—a conspiracy within out own borders. The AMERICAN SENTINEL declares to the people to-day that the great American principle of equal civil and religious liberty to all is denied both by words and deeds in this land, and is likely to be overthrown completely in our very midst.
Do you ask the proof? Witness the rapid growth of the sentiment in favor of religious legislation; witness the organizations springing up all over the land, powerful in numbers and influence, which demand legislation enforcing the observance of a religious institution,—the Sunday sabbath; witness the Sunday Court of the United States declaring, in February, 1892, that “this is a Christian nation,” and the Congress of the United States declaring, in the summer of the same year, that “the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,” is the Christian Sabbath; witness the revival of the dragon spirit of religious persecution against good and honest citizens who observe the seventh day, as enjoined by the fourth commandment; witness these men, everywhere acknowledged as good citizens, dragged before the courts, fined and imprisoned, and worked in chain-gangs, because they will not exalt the Sunday to an equality with the Bible Sabbath; witness the bill now before Congress to secure an amendment to the Constitution which will make it “acknowledge” God, and declare his revealed will to be the supreme law of the land. Witness all these efforts being made to plunge our nation into the deadly vortex of religious controversy, and witness also the blind indifference of the people to their danger.
Shall the higher Monroe doctrine be maintained? Shall a halt be called upon this conspiracy against American liberty? Citizens, Americans, What is your answer?