The Art of Public Speaking HTML version
Mr. President, this is the eternal law of human nature. You may struggle against it, you may try to escape it,
you may persuade yourself that your intentions are benevolent, that your yoke will be easy and your burden
will be light, but it will assert itself again. Government without the consent of the governed--authority which
heaven never gave--can only be supported by means which heaven never can sanction.
The American people have got this one question to answer. They may answer it now; they can take ten years,
or twenty years, or a generation, or a century to think of it. But will not down. They must answer it in the end:
Can you lawfully buy with money, or get by brute force of arms, the right to hold in subjugation an unwilling
people, and to impose on them such constitution as you, and not they, think best for them?
Senator Hoar then went on to make another sort of appeal--the appeal to fact and experience:
We have answered this question a good many times in the past. The fathers answered it in 1776, and founded
the Republic upon their answer, which has been the corner-stone. John Quincy Adams and James Monroe
answered it again in the Monroe Doctrine, which John Quincy Adams declared was only the doctrine of the
consent of the governed. The Republican party answered it when it took possession of the force of
government at the beginning of the most brilliant period in all legislative history. Abraham Lincoln answered
it when, on that fatal journey to Washington in 1861, he announced that as the doctrine of his political creed,
and declared, with prophetic vision, that he was ready to be assassinated for it if need be. You answered it
again yourselves when you said that Cuba, who had no more title than the people of the Philippine Islands had
to their independence, of right ought to be free and independent.
--GEORGE F. HOAR.
Appeal to the things that man holds dear is another potent form of persuasion.
Joseph Story, in his great Salem speech (1828) used this method most dramatically:
I call upon you, fathers, by the shades of your ancestors--by the dear ashes which repose in this precious
soil--by all you are, and all you hope to be--resist every object of disunion, resist every encroachment upon
your liberties, resist every attempt to fetter your consciences, or smother your public schools, or extinguish
your system of public instruction.
I call upon you, mothers, by that which never fails in woman, the love of your offspring; teach them, as they
climb your knees, or lean on your bosoms, the blessings of liberty. Swear them at the altar, as with their
baptismal vows, to be true to their country, and never to forget or forsake her.
I call upon you, young men, to remember whose sons you are; whose inheritance you possess. Life can never
be too short, which brings nothing but disgrace and oppression. Death never comes too soon, if necessary in
defence of the liberties of your country.
I call upon you, old men, for your counsels, and your prayers, and your benedictions. May not your gray hairs
go down in sorrow to the grave, with the recollection that you have lived in vain. May not your last sun sink
in the west upon a nation of slaves.
No; I read in the destiny of my country far better hopes, far brighter visions. We, who are now assembled
here, must soon be gathered to the congregation of other days. The time of our departure is at hand, to make
way for our children upon the theatre of life. May God speed them and theirs. May he who, at the distance of
another century, shall stand here to celebrate this day, still look round upon a free, happy, and virtuous people.
May he have reason to exult as we do. May he, with all the enthusiasm of truth as well as of poetry, exclaim,
that here is still his country.