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fect embodyment of this principle; but they contain the germ of it, and we should therefore seek to perfect them, and not to destroy them. When we can make them corporations, as we may, of operatives and employers in the same persons, and not of employers alone, they will be great blessings.
Banks are at present monopolies, for they have the privilege of making a use of their credit, which is denied to individuals. But when they cease to be banks of issue, and restrict themselves to the ordinary functions of banking, that is, to negotiating loans and exchanges, they will not necessarily be monopolies, and may be suffered to exist. If, however, they are found to have any privilege, which an individual has not, or which he can have only by becoming a member of them as bodies corporate, they should be modified, and this principle taken away,
Monopolies disposed of, many other questions will come up:
The reforms we need are in very few cases political. By political reforms, we understand reforms in the organization of the state. A few of these may, perhaps, be needed. The right of suffrage needs some extension, and, perhaps, the judiciary some constitutional changes. But the principal questions which come up relate not to political, but legislative reforms. There are several of these, which we intended to specify, but we have already exceeded our limits. We can only add, that we must complete the abolition of imprisonment for debt, and revise our laws relating to the collection of debts. The expenses annually incurred by the collection of debts by law exceed the amount of debts so collected. These expenses are borne chiefly by the debtor class, already embarrassed ; and serve to maintain a set of legal harpies, which public morality would willingly dispense with altogether. Why should not all ordinary debts be regarded as mere individual matters, which are to be adjusted by individuals, without calling in the aid of society? Why not leave the whole subject to individual probity and honor ? If so left, the demand
for these virtues would be increased, and thereby public and private morality be promoted.
Reforms in the criminal code are demanded. We cannot specify them now; we can only say that our criminal code should be made to harmonize with the principle, that human governments have no right to punish, except for the purpose of restraint from actual violence, done either to individual rights, or social.
In fine, we must insist upon a system of education, combining industry with science and literature. Or, in one word, a system of industrial schools, in which some branch of industry shall be pursued, in connexion with literature and science. Schools of this kind are needed for ennobling labor. When all the children of the commonwealth labor, labor will be honorable. They are needed for the promotion and preservation of health. A few hours' labor every day are essential to the health of the student. They are also needed in order to enable each child in the commonwealth to have access to the best education the community can afford. They may easily be made self-supporting schools, and cost the state nothing, and then education may be really universal.
Some other things we would specify, but we have said enough. What we have said indicates that the Democracy has a great work to perform, and that it cannot engage too soon, nor be too much in earnest to perform it.
Doubtless, some will dissent from the policy we have marked out, the measures we have suggested. Be it
We have merely given our own views, freely and boldly. We have told what we honestly think the Democracy should attempt, stated the ground on which it should rally, and some of the measures, on which it should insist. If others think us wrong, wild, rash, impracticable, or wicked, all we have to say is, let them bring forward something better. But, whatever they have to propose, let them be speedy. Time flies. The enemy is already in our midst, has already entrenched himself in some of our strong holds, and threatens to
bring us under his accursed dominion. Friends of the Constitution and of Equal Rights, be on the alert. You have no time to waste. Now, or never, must you recover your kingdom, and establish your empire. Now, or never, must you seize upon a true democratic policy, and stake everything on one bold effort to save the Constitution, and establish the reign of Justice and Equality.
Art. IV. – An Address of the Working men of Charles
town, Mass., to their Brethren throughout the Commonwealth and the Union. 1840. 8vo. pp. 18.
This Address was published on the eve of the late elections, and has no doubt been thrown aside with the mass of ephemeral productions, which they called forth; but it seems to us to have been designed not merely for electioneering purposes, and to be worthy of grave consideration, even now that the elections are over. We cannot perceive that it has lost much in interest or appropriateness.
In 1829, the workingmen, mechanics, and other laborers, in the city of New York, organized themselves into a party, put forth a declaration of principles, and succeeded in electing one of their men to the State Legislature. Their movement created considerable excitement at the time ; and was speedily followed by similar movements in various sections of the Union. There was even a moment, when this party seemed not unlikely to become a dominant party in the country. It was sustained by several leading journals of the then National Republican party, as well as by several of its own, conducted with great spirit and ability, and somewhat extensively circulated. But as an organized party, it proved to be short-lived, and soon became almost entirely merged in one or both of the great political parties, which then divided the country,
This workingmen's party owed its origin to the insufficiency of the democratic party of the time to meet the new democratic wants of the country. The questions, which had given rise to the old Federal and Republican parties of '98, had in 1829 well nigh lost their hold on the popular mind ; and new questions, of far graver import, had come up, or were struggling to come up, for practical solution. The Federal and Republican parties were purely political parties, and the questions on which they divided related almost entirely to the organization of the State. At the epoch of the adoption of the Constitution, men honestly differed in their views of the form which should be given to the government. Hamilton and his friends, believing it the
, main duty of government to provide for itself, its own permanence and stability, were for giving it as much of an aristocratic cast, as the habits of our people would permit. They wished to protect the government from the fickleness and turbulence of the Democracy. Thomas Jefferson and his friends, inspired by an ardent love of freedom, and reposing a generous confidence in the people, leaned the other way, and sought to establish a pure Democracy. But in 1829, the controversy
a between these two parties had virtually subsided. Both parties had accepted the democratic form of government; each claimed to be the democratic party; and it was no easy matter to say whether the claims of the one were better founded than those of the other. Democracy, as a form of government, had triumphed over all its enemies, and become the established creed of the country, which nobody thought of disturbing.
But Democracy, as a form of government, political Democracy, as we call it, could not be the term of popular aspiration. Regarded in itself, without reference to anything ulterior, it is no better than the aristocratic form of government, or even the monarchical. Universal suffrage and eligibility, the expression of perfect equality before the State, and which with us are very nearly realized, unless viewed as means to an end, are not worth contending for. What avails it, that all men
VOL. IV. NO. I.
are equal before the State, if they must stop there? If under a Democracy, aside from mere politics, men may be as unequal in their social condition, as under other forms of government, wherein consist the boasted advantages of your Democracy? Is all possible good summed up in suffrage and eligibility? Is the millennium realized, when every man may vote and be voted for ? Yet this is all that political Democracy, reduced to its simplest elements, proposes. Political Democracy, then, can never satisfy the popular mind. This Democracy is only one step, — a necessary step, — in its progress. Having realized equality before the State, the popular mind passes naturally to equality before Society. It seeks and accepts political Democracy only as a means to social Democracy, and it cannot fail to attempt to realize equality in men's social condition, when it has once realized equality in their political condition.
But prior to 1829, no attempt had been made to realize this social Democracy ; no party had recognised it; no prominent politician had avowed it. Parties and politicians were continuing on in their old beaten track, repeating till hoarse their old war-cries, without once dreaming, that to the popular mind these war-cries had lost their significance. They perceived not, that the day, when the cry of Federal or Republican could decide the fate of an election, had gone by. Indeed, up to this day, our politicians have not pereeived this, and many is the friend of the Administration, who, during the late canvass, has thought to annihilate the supporters of General Harrison by shouting Hartford Convention, and Old Federalism. But this shouting has availed nothing, for the questions laboring in the public mind are not the old political questions which originated the Federal and Republican parties. A new phase of the mighty revolution, which has for the last seven hundred years been going on throughout all Christendom, has come up, and one which our politicians see not even now, but which they especially saw not in 1829. If the political democrats of that time had seen this new phase,