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1. LANDING OF COLUMBUS IN AMERICA, OCTOBER 12, 1492,
2. THE COMPACT IN THE MAYFLOWER, NOVEMBER 21, 1620,
4 THE DESTRUCTION OF TEA IN BOSTON HARBOR, DECEMBER 16, 1773, 297
Ş FIRST BLOW FOR LIBERTY, APRIL 19, 1775,
OCTOBER 19, 1781,
10. MARTHA WASHINGTON'S RECEPTION,
440 II. GENERAL JACKSON AT THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS, JANUARY 8, 1815, 531 12 GENERAL SCOTT ENTERING THE CITY OF Mexico, SEPTEMBER 14, 1847, 598 13 LANDING THE FIRST ATLANTIC CABLE, AUGUST, 1857, .
613 14. SIGNING THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION, JANUARY 1, 1863, . 15 ADMIRAL FARRAGUT AT THE BATTLE OF MOBILE BAY, AUGUST 23, 1864, 648 16. SURRENDER OF GENERAL LEE AT APPOMATTox Court House, Va., APRIL 9, 1865, .
The value of the history of America, and particularly that of the United States, as affording an epitome of the history of the development of the human race, is hardly yet realized by even the Americans themselves.
There has been so much to be done a continent to be cleared and brought under cultivation ; while the new methods of transportation and intercommunication — the railroad, the telegraph, the steam printing-press, and the marvellous results of scientific methods for the investigation of phenomena, and their application to industry of every description, have so occupied attention, that the leisure to calmly review our history, as a whole, has been scarcely possible ; and the desire to do so, had we the leisure, has hardly been excited. The new has seemed to swallow up the old, and to-morrow, rather than yesterday, or even to-day, has seemed to be all there was of interest or importance.
The advent, therefore, of the centennial anniversary of our birth as a nation, as it serves to forcibly recall our attention to the consideration of our past, to the recognition of the labors, the aspirations, the successes and the failures of the generations which have preceded ours, is of vast importance to us, as a nation.
A brief consideration of the progress which society has made upon this continent during the past two centuries, will make this plainly evident to every one. It is hardly realized that at the settlement of this country, the form of society known as feudalism was introduced among the various settlements. The Dutch and the French, as well as many of the English settlements, were based upon this system of class privilege, by which an aristocracy, supported by the taxation
of labor, was to have the entire political control and management.
It was the overthrow of this system which occupied the political attention of the people during the early colonial times, and the constant discontent they manifested through their assemblies and in other ways, can be intelligently explained only by keeping constantly in mind this fact. Unconsciously, in a great measure, but none the less persistently, they were tending towards political independence.
One by one, in some colonies more rapidly than in others, the adventitious distinctions which, socially or politically, repressed, for the benefit of one class, the development in freedom of all others, were removed as the culture of the people led them to respect themselves and become conscious of their dignity as members of the body politic. The measure for the social and political culture thus reached can be seen by a comparison of the struggles required in some of the older colonies to attain manhood suffrage, with the prompt recognition of this fundamental principle of political liberty in the organization of the more recent political commonwealths.
Nor was political liberty the only liberty sought through long and persistent struggles by the people of the colonies. Religious liberty, as now understood, was equally unknown to them. Though the first settlers in several of the colonies came over to this country to escape persecution for their religious opinions, yet in none of them, with the exception of Rhode Island, was the same liberty they claimed for themselves accorded to all others. And further, though the separation of church and state has been frequently claimed as the merit of the settlers in Massachusetts, yet not only there, but in the majority of the other colonies, a church establishment was considered absolutely necessary, and that, by the authority of the state, taxes should be raised for its support. That men should be free to follow their own convictions of duty in this respect, even though their opinions should seem to be wrong to those who differ from them, we can receive as an axiom to-day. But the culture by which we of this generation are enabled to do this, as the simple dictate of common sense applied to the organization of social harmony, has been gained through a long and arduous struggle by the generations which have preceded ours. That the state is stronger, that its