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History of Negro Citizenship
690                CHURCH REVIEW

versal brotherhood; and God apparently hid this conti-
nent in obscurity till the world was prepared to recognize
this truth and to conscientiously strive for its practical
application in society and in government.
  For eight-seven years Jefferson's conception of liberty
had only a partial application. Politicians read the dec-
laration as if it said, "All white men are born free and
equal."   But, meanwhile,  the Nation  was  passing
through a great evolution. The conscience of the peo-
ple was in process of education and development; the
spirit of liberty was gradually clothing itself in the ves-
ture of a national consciousness. It is hardly a possi-
bility to over-estimate the influence of the sentiment of
nationality in the overthrow of slavery.   The people
had become attached to the Union because it made them
a Nation with the prospect of a magnificent destiny be-
fore them. The disruption of the Union exposed their
liberty to attacks from without, and the moment they
became convinced that the Union was endangered by
domestic slavery, they were ready to deal it a death-
blow. Hence, the years between Jefferson and Lincoln
measure the Nation's callow youth. They were years
of unrest because they were years of growth. In the
language of nurses, the unrest was due to the Nation's
growing pains. America had caught a vision of her
true mission, of her bright and whole future, and con-
sent to the continued presence of slavery in her midst
by which her most cherished principles were dishonored,
and her destiny threatened, became a moral impossi-
bility.  There was poison in the body politic, and so
there was a vital necessity that the blood should be
  Reckoned from Lincoln's great act of statesmanship,
thirty-four years cover the period of America's true man-
hood. Now, all her subjects are free and all her free-
men are citizens.  The great charter of her liberty is no
longer betrayed in the home of its friends; the stains up-
on her honor has been cleansed in the blood of her


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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 15, Num. 3

History of Negro Citizenship


Volume:  15
Issue Number:  03
Page Number:  689
Date:  01/1899


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