[1863 Civil War-Era Independence Day Oration preceding a Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence evoking the U.S. Constitution and referencing Slavery and “Our Imperilled Government”].
“...shall Northern democracy and liberty give way to southern aristocracy and slavery?”
Civil War-era oration delivered on Independence Day in 1863 to a northern audience evoking the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, mentioning both slavery and “our imperilled government.”
The speaker begins by reminding his audience of an earlier “bloody war”, the American Revolution, the Constitution that followed after it, and the incipient evil of slavery. In part:
Eleven years later  they sought to perpetuate the principles they had successfully maintained by the establishment of a government which should form a more perfect union… But a portion of our citizens had established social institutions antagonistic to the great doctrines promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, and this doctrine that the life, liberty and happiness of one class shall be wholly in the power and under the control of another class, soon began to clash with the eternal principles of truth and justice. ... Shall we who have all our lives breathed the pure air of Liberty consent to give up our cherished birthright and become the basest of slaves to the meanest of tyrants. In short, to speak to the point, shall Northern democracy and liberty give way to southern aristocracy and slavery? ...
Would to God that the prayers, the exhortations and the truth to be proclaimed here to-day shall rouse us all to act as one in defense of our imperilled government and liberty and that throughout our free north such a spirit may this day be aroused that shall speedily destroy the armed hosts of despotism…
The anonymous author’s address was immediately followed by his reading of the Declaration of Independence. An internal notation in the text: (“I read the Declaration of Independence.”)
Description: [1863 Civil War-Era Independence Day Oration preceding a Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence evoking the U.S. Constitution and referencing Slavery and “Our Imperilled Government”].
[America, July 4, 1863]. [2½]pp. Manuscript Speech. Sm. 4to. Bifolium. Folds; Very Good.