Beecher lecture

February 9, 1855

Excerpts from Henry Ward Beecher’s lecture at Broadway Tabernacle (N.Y.)

“The struggle between the North and the South is not one of sections, and of parties, but of Principles  — of principles that cannot coalesce, nor compromise; that must hate each other, and contend, until the one shall drive the other out.” ….the speech comments on the need for a restructuring of the political parties ….he commends the Governor, who has recommended that new-comers to the country go through a period of probation before they become citizens….   “But I ask you, fellow citizens, whether the simple accident of birth is a basis broad enough for a permanent National party?  Is it a principle, even? Is it a mere fact?…..Ought we not to look a little at what a man is, after he is born, as well as at the place where?  Especially when we remember that Arnold was born in Connecticut, and LaFayette in France. …If then a party is American, ought it not to be because it represents those principles which are fundamental to American Institutions, and to American policy?…..Which of these two theories, the Northern or Southern, is the American?  The North has one theory, the South another; which of them is to be called the American idea?  .. that which declares all men free, or that which declares the superior races  free, and the inferior, slaves?…..”