The Man in the Street: The Impact of American Public Opinion on Foreign Policy

By Thomas A. Bailey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
THE TORCH OF DEMOCRACY

"Liberty has still a continent to live in."-- HORACE WALPOLE, 1779


1

THE MAN IN THE STREET is the proud citizen of a democratic republic, the first one in modern times to be established and perpetuated on a vast scale. This indeed may be regarded as our most significant contribution to Western civilization.

The patriotic American is perhaps shocked to learn that his form of government was once an uncertain experiment. When the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in 1776, there had already been modern republics of a sort. But they had all perished, except mountain-girt Switzerland, which still flourishes; and they had all started on a tiny scale. "Democracy," wrote Voltaire in 1764, "seems suitable only to a very little country."

The attempt of the Founding Fathers to set up a democracy on a continental basis seemed to Europeans a daring and indecent defiance of the laws of political gravitation. Experience and reason alike cried out that the monstrosity could not work; it must collapse. A consciousness that the eyes of a critical world were upon us warped the thinking of our people and leaders for many decades. Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the gravest crisis yet to confront the Union, referred to the Civil War as testing the principle whether "any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

But European observers were more than curious and critical; they were downright hostile. The monarchs of Europe feared that a dangerous precedent was being established. If the American experiment in human liberty should succeed, then their oppressed subjects, straining at their chains and pointing to the blessings of republicanism, might demand the same thing for themselves. This is precisely what happened. For more than a century the guiding star of foreign constitutionalists and revolutionists was the United States of America. The great English Reform Bill of 1867, by which England became a political democracy, followed by two years the end of our Civil War, which proved, despite the century-old vilification of British Tories, that the American venture could "endure."* The battles for British democracy were fought hardly less on the bloody fields of Virginia than on the carpeted floors of Parliament.

For more than a century and a half, the United States of America, detesting despotism in any guise, has been the bane of monarchs and dictators. We began as the world's ugly duckling; we ended as the world's overshadow-

____________________
*
Ambassador Walter Hines Page in 1915 found some British Tories secretly rejoicing at America's unwillingness to fight over the Lusitania; this was further proof to them that democracies are degenerate.

-34-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Man in the Street: The Impact of American Public Opinion on Foreign Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 338

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    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.