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manifested one hundred years ago what Europe lost, namely, self-command, self-possession. Democracy, in Europe outside of closeted Switzerland, has acted always in rebellion, as a destructive force: it can scarcely be said to have had, even yet, any period of organic development. It has built such temporary governments as it has had opportunity to erect on the old foundations and out of the discredited materials of centralized rule, elevating the people's representatives for a season to the throne, but securing almost as little as ever of that every day local self-government which lies so near to the heart of liberty. Democracy in America, on the other hand, and in the English colonies has had, almost from the first, a truly organic growth. There was nothing revolutionary in its movements; it had not to overthrow other polities; it had only to organize itself. It had not to create, but only to expand, self-govertiment. It did not need to spread propaganda: it needed nothing but to methodize its ways of living.
In brief, we were doing nothing essentially new a century ago. Our strength and our facility alike inhered in our traditions; those traditions made our character and shaped our institutions. Liberty is not something that can be created by a document; neither is it something which, when created, can be laid away in a
document, a completed work. It is an organic principle,-a principle of life, renewing and being renewed. Democratic institutions are never done; they are like living tissue, always a-making. It is a strenuous thing, this of living the life of a free people; and our success in it depends upon training, not upon clever invention.
Our democracy, plainly, was not a body of doctrine; it was a stage of development. Our democratic state was not a piece of developed theory, but a piece of developed habit. It was not created by mere aspirations or by new faith; it was built up by slow custom. Its process was experience, its basis old wont, its meaning national organic oneness and effective life. It came, like manhood, as the fruit of youth. An immature people could not have had it, and the maturity to which it was vouchsafed was the maturity of freedom and self-control. Such government as ours is a form of conduct, and its only stable foundation is character. A particular form of government may no more be adopted than a particular type of character may be adopted: both institutions and character must be developed by conscious effort and through transmitted aptitudes.
Governments such as ours are founded upon discussion, and government by discussion comes as late in political as scientific thought in intellectual development. It is a habit of state life
created by long-established circumstance, and is possible for a nation only in the adult age of its political life. The people who successfully maintain such a government must have gone through a period of political training which shall have prepared them by gradual steps of acquired privilege for assuming the entire control of their affairs. Long and slowly widening experience in local self-direction must have prepared them for national self-direction. They must have acquired adult self-reliance, self-knowledge, and self-control, adult soberness and deliberateness of judgment, adult sagacity in self-government, adult vigilance of thought and quickness of insight. When practised, not by small communities, but by wide nations, democracy, far from being a crude form of government, is possible only amongst peoples of the highest and steadiest political habit. It is the heritage of races purged alike of hasty barbaric passions and of patient servility to rulers, and schooled in temperate common counsel. It is an institution of political noonday, not of the half-light of political dawn. It can never be made to sit easily or safely on first generations, but strengthens through long heredity. It is poison to the infant, but tonic to the man. Monarchies may be made, but democracies must grow.
It is a deeply significant fact, therefore, again and again to be called to mind, that only in the.
United States, in a few other governments begotten of the English race, and in Switzerland, where old Teutonic habit has had the same persistency as in England, have examples yet been furnished of successful democracy of the modern type. England herself is close upon democracy. Her backwardness in entering upon its full practice is no less instructive as to the conditions prerequisite to democracy than is the forwardness of her offspring. She sent out to all her colonies which escaped the luckless beginning of being made penal settlements, comparatively small, homogeneous populations of pioneers, with strong instincts of self-government, and with no social materials out of which to build government otherwise than democratically. She herself, meanwhile, retained masses of population never habituated to participation in government, untaught in political principle either by the teachers of the hustings or of the school-house. She has had to approach democracy, therefore, by slow and cautious extensions of the franchise to those prepared for it; while her better colonies, born into democracy, have had to receive all comers within their pale. She has been paring down exclusive privileges and levelling classes; the colonies have from the first been asylums of civil equality. They have assimilated new while she has prepared old populations.
Erroneous as it is to represent government as only a commonplace sort of business, little elevated in method above merchandising, and to be regulated by counting-house principles, the favor easily won for such views among our own people is very significant. It means selfreliance in government. It gives voice to the eminently modern democratic feeling that government is no hidden cult, to be left to a few specially prepared individuals, but a common, every-day concern of life, even if the biggest such concern. It is this self-confidence, in many cases mistaken, no doubt, which is gradually spreading among other peoples, less justified in it than are our own.
One cannot help marvelling that facts so obvious as these should have escaped the perception of some of the sagest thinkers and most thorough historical scholars of our day. Yet so it is. Sir Henry Maine, even, the great interpreter to Englishmen of the historical forces operative in law and social institutions, has utterly failed, in his plausible work on “Popular Government,” to distinguish the democracy, or rather the popular government, of the English race, which is bred by slow circumstance and founded upon habit, from the democracy of other peoples, which is bred by discontent and founded upon revolution. He has missed that most obvious teaching of events, that successful