John Bingham on the Promise of America

I haven’t done a Bingham post lately (I’m up to 1850 in the biography, when he was a thirty-five year old lawyer still in private practice). One early clue about Bingham’s constitutional thinking is in a speech he gave at his alma mater, Franklin College, in 1851. For those of you who are Lincoln fans, it’s the equivalent of “Honest Abe’s” 1838 Lyceum Address. Anyway, here is a quote that I love from that speech:

“When the vital principle of our government, the equality of the human race, shall be fully realized, when every fetter within our borders shall be broken, where the holy Temple of Freedom, the foundations of which our fathers laid amidst prayers, and sacrifices, and battles and tears, shall be complete, lifting its head-stone of beauty above the towers of watch and war, then conscious of duty performed, and a noble mission fulfilled, we may call to the down-trodden and oppressed of all lands–come.”


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