The Training of an American: The Earlier Life and Letters of Walter H. Page, 1855-1913

By Burton J. Hendrick | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE PUBLISHER AS CITIZEN

I

WHATEVER may be thought of the nineteenth century," wrote Page, as that epoch in human annals was approaching its end, "whenever it can be seen in the perspective of universal history, to men who have caught the spirit of its closing years, it seems the best time to live that has so far come. It is unlike all former periods in this, that it has seen the simultaneous extension of democracy and the rise of science. These have put life on a new plane, and made a new adjustment of man to man and of man to the universe. An incalculable advantage that we have over men of any other century is the widening of individual opportunity. It has been the century of the abolition of slavery throughout the English-speaking world, and of serfdom in Russia. It has been the century of the spread of well being among the masses; for there are in the United States perhaps fifty millions of persons better fed, better clad, freer from care, and more cheerful masters of gainful crafts than ever before lived contiguously. It is the century of machinery, of swift travel, and of instant communication; and these have brought greater social betterment than had before come within the historic period.

"It has been the century of the expansion of the Republic, and of the earth-girdling spread of the British Empire -- the widest domination that has been won by men of the same stock. They are men, too, of one speech, of one literature, and that the greatest; and wherever they have gone they have carried their love of order and of fair

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