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Nationality In The United States

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Henry Cabot Lodge in May Atlantic. The first heavy blow to the influence of foreign politics was Washington' s proclamation of neutrality. It seems a very simple and obvious thing now, this policy of non-interference in the affairs of Europe which that proclaniation lnaugurated, and vet at the time men marveled at the "step, and thought it very strange. Parties divided over it. People could not conceive how we could keep clear of the great stream of European events. One side disliked the proclamation as hostile to France, while the other apjjroved it for the same reason. Even the Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, one of the most representativo men of American demooracy, resisted the neutrality policy in the germine spirit of the colonist. Yet Washington's proclaruation was simply the sequel to the Declaration of Independence. It morely amounted to saying, We have created a new nation, and England not only cannot govern us, but jEnglish and Éuropean politics are none of our business, and we propose to be independent of them and not meddle in them. The neutrality policy of Washington's administraron was a great advanee toward independence and a severe blow to colonialism in politics. Washington himself exerted a powerful iafluence against the colonial spirit. The principal of nationaiity, then just entering upon its long struggle with state rights, was in its very nature hostile to everything colonial; and Washington, ilespite his Virginian traditions, was thoronghly imbued with a natural spirit. He believed himself, and insensibly impressed his belief upon the people, thattrue nationality could only be obtained by holding ourselves aloof f rom the conflicts and the politics of the Old World. Then, too, his splendid personal dignity, which still holds us silent and respectful aftèr the lapse of a hundred years. communicated itself to his office, and thence to the nation of which he was the representative. The colonial spirit withered away in the presence of Washington. The only thorough-going nationalist among the leaders oí that time was Alexander Hamiltcm. He was not born in the States, and was therefore free f rom all local influences; and he was by nature imperious in temper and imperial in his views. The guiding principie of that great man's public career was the advancement oí American nationality. He was called "British" Hamilton by the very men who wished to throw us into the arms of the Freneh republic, because he was wedded to the principies and the forms of constitutional English government, and sought to preserve them here adapted to new conditions. He desired to put our political inheritance to its proper use, but this was as far removed from the colonial spirit as possible. Instead of being "British," Hamilton's intense eagerness for a strong national government made him the deadliest foe of the colonial spirit, which he did more to strangle and crush out than any other man of his time. The objects at which he aimed were continental supremacy, and complete independenco in business, politics, and industry. In all these departments he saw the belittling effects of dependence, and so assailed ït by his reports and by his whole policy, foreign and domestic. So much of his work as he carried through had a far-reaching effect, and did a groat deal to weaken the colonial spirit. But the strength of that spirit was best shown in the hostility or indiffereuce which was displayed toward his projects. The great cause of opposition to Hamilton's finanpial policy proceeded, undoubtedly, from state jealousy of the central government; bvit the resistance to his foreign policy arose from the colonial ignorance hich could not vinderstand the real purpose of neutrality, and which thought that Hamilton was simply and stupidly endeavoring to force us toward England as against France. An almanac over twö hundred years old was sold at auction in New York the othor day, and brought the remarkablo price of $250. This almanac was thrown into the niavket just at the right season, and probably many of the circus oom panios start out this spring will have sorne fresh jokes frm this wonderful and costly relie. It hjfts been suggested that Wiggic oughs to start anmsane asylum he has made eo many people mad.


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Ann Arbor Democrat