American Ideals

American Ideals

American Ideals

American Ideals

Excerpt

"Before our war we were to Europe but a huge mob of adventurers and shopkeepers. Leigh Hunt expressed it well enough when he said that he could never think of America without seeing a gigantic counter stretched all along the seaboard."

It is the Civil War that James Russell Lowell referred to in this passage; it is the Civil War that revealed once more, as the War of Independence had also revealed, the idealism of those remote forbears of ours who came to this continent "not to seek gold, but God." But after the Civil War, our material prosperity grew apace, until our ideals seemed gradually to become dimmer and, in the view of many observers, both foreign and American, faded away altogether. And now, having accepted our responsibilities in world affairs, we believe that we shall reveal once again some of the ideals we have cherished in the past and some of the new ideals that the age calls for.

It is the function of this little book to bring together certain essays, addresses, and state papers that express, from the point of view of American statesmen and men of letters, these ideals, past and present. A final chapter of "Foreign Opinion of the United States" regards a few of the same subjects from an interestingly different angle.

One who reads these utterances reflectively will come to the conclusion that they exhibit a marked nobility of will and mind. For that the reader was amply prepared. But at the same time one cannot but confess that these expressions of the ideals that have guided us in the past and are animating our action in the present are somewhat deficient . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.