The first decade of the nineteenth century occupies a vital position in the history of the growth and development of the United States of America. As it opened the young Republic had been functioning under its new constitution for scarcely a dozen years. The twelve-year supremacy of the Federalists under George Washington, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton -- which by the establishment of wise precedents had in the midst of controversy given a newly independent people a sound and orderly government -- was drawing to an end. Responsibility for the destinies of this energetic young nation was about to descend on the shoulders of the idealistic and democratic leader of the Republican group, Thomas Jefferson. In the next ten years, with the leadership of Jefferson and James Madison, the United States was destined to grow vastly in size, in experience, and in significance among the nations of the world. This was a period fraught with challenge -- and attended by perils at home and abroad. It was a period during which the new nation must chart for itself a pathway to security and prestige. Such a time required in all walks of life men of foresight, initiative, and courage.
What is the function of education if it be not to produce such men?
Such a man was Senator Rufus King of Massachusetts and New York, able and eloquent delegate to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia, an original signer of the Constitution. He was four times elected to the Senate of the young Republic and at the opening of the nineteenth century was appointed by George Washington to be minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain, from whom the Colonies had so recently won their freedom. At a critical time in her history, Rufus King employed brilliant diplomacy at the court of his country's deposed oppressor. Although later twice defeated as candidate for the Vice-Presidency of the United States and the defeated Federalist candidate for the Presidency in 1816, King served his country 'in key positions until his death. In the words of Daniel Webster, certainly no mean judge of such talents: "You never heard such a speaker. In strength and