The Value of Local Governments

Posted on December 1, 2010

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“The Value of Local Governments”

There are but few even of the Democracy, who appreciate full the peril of this nation.  It is admitted on nearly every hand that our Government, under the control of the Republican party, has, for the period of that control, been undergoing a rapid and alarming change; that the strong federal features originally impressed upon the Constitution are fast fading away, and that we are moving steadily into the formation of a centralized despotism.  But it has not generally been observed that we are incorporating into our civil policy features which most centralized governments are free from, and which exist only in the odious tyrannies.  When it is remarked that we are losing our rights of local government, few appreciate fully the extent of that loss and fewer still know that in losing it the most revolting military despotism follows as a natural and almost inevitable consequence.  Indeed, our ancestors claimed this right under the British Constitution, and when it was assailed, they regarded the provocation as sufficient to warrant revolution.

A Radical Congress and a drunken President have, in a few short months, deprived us of what our ancestors won through seven long years of suffering and blood.  No more fitting illustration could be suggested than the fool who destroyed the beautiful temple whose construction progressed through the ages, whose exquisite architecture was the handiwork of genius and whose altar was the repository of jewels.  These facts are worthy of cool and solemn reflection.  The people cannot reflect too deliberately upon the character of their rights, the source from which they spring, and the fearful price with which they were bought.  Peace is always desirable and should be the wish of every good citizen.  But there is danger in the delusions of a safety purchased at the expense of all that is worth living for.  There was a generous despair that sprung from the high sentiments of our fathers which made them too noble to be followed by servile children.  They presented human nature in its grandest form.  There is something sublime in the record of their glorious achievements.  Kings were not only their pupils, but their suppliants, and princes were not regarded as targets too good for their “villainous saltpetre.”  They had a scorn of danger and a fierce, tiger spirit, but that made them not only brave but terrible.  They knew their rights and maintained them.  They were not appalled at impossibilities.  The plucked victory from the very jaws of despair, and won the right to live as freemen.

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New Hampshire Patriot
Reprinted by “The Daily Phoenix”
06-16-1871

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