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The Real Issues of the Canvass

The Real Issues of the Canvass

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Excerpt from The Real Issues of the Canvass: Or, the Need of New Men and New Measures; An Address

Fellow Citizens and Friends:

The Civil War, and the Constitutional Amendments it rendered necessary, closed a great era in our politics - that which grew out of the existence of slavery. The distinction of that era will be, that it determined the perpetuity of the Union; it emancipated and enfranchised the slaves, and it ordained that the debts incurred in the prosecution of these ends should be for ever sacred, while the debts incurred in resisting them should be for ever invalid.

This great consummation having been accepted and approved by all parties, the questions it involved are taken out of the list of party questions, and are become landmarks of history. Whether wisely or unwisely settled, they are settled, and the nation passes on to other issues. There would be no such thing as progress in politics, ii we did not admit what certain English statesmen used to call Finality. If, when a question has been fully debated and decided by the people, it can not be dismissed, our discussions would run, like mill-horses, a sterile and wearisome round, leading in the end to mere idiotic iteration and babble.

Thus to our war questions, other questions have succeeded which may have originated in the war, but which no longer pertain to the war. That violent commotion was stopped eleven years since; the structural dislocations it produced are re-adjusted; and our principal concern now is not with its causes or its management, but with its consequences.

The war left us enormous national debts, oppressive taxations, an inconvertible currency, a lax and demoralized civil service, and a vast impoverished population, whose social system was revolutionized from top to bottom.

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