THE DUTY OF AMERICAN WOMEN TO THEIR COUNTRY.
Too Long; Didn't ReadMy countrywomen, you often hear it said that intelligence and virtue are indispensable to the safety of a democratic government like ours, where the people hold all the power. You hear it said, too, that our country is in great peril from the want of this intelligence and virtue. But these words make a faint impression, and it is the object of what follows to convey these truths more vividly to your minds.
This will be attempted, by presenting some recent events, in a country where a government similar to our own was undertaken, by a people destitute of that intelligence and virtue so indispensable; and then it will be shown that similar dangers are impending over our own country. The grand point to be illustrated is, that a people without education have not intelligence enough to know what measures will secure safety and prosperity, nor virtue enough to pursue even what they know to be right, so that, when possessed of power, they will adopt ruinous measures, be excited by base passions, and be governed by wicked and cruel men.
Look, then, at France during that awful period called the Reign of Terror. First, observe the process by which the power passed into the hands of the people. An extravagant king, a selfish aristocracy, an exacting priesthood, had absorbed all the wealth, honour, and power, until the people were ground to the dust. All offices of trust and emolument were in the hands of the privileged few, all laws made for their benefit, all monopolies held for their profit, while the common people were condemned to heavy toils, with returns not sufficient to supply the necessities of life, so that, in some districts, famine began to stalk through the land.