Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
Equal Rights the Sole Basis of Union
By Charles Sumner (1811–1874)
[Speech on the Readmission of Southern States to Representation in Congress. U. S. Senate, 10 June, 1868.—Works of Charles Sumner. 1875–83.]

HIGH above States, as high above men, are those commanding principles which cannot be denied with impunity. They will be found in the Declaration of Independence expressed so clearly that all can read them. Though few, they are mighty. There is no humility in bending to their behests. As man rises in the scale of being while walking in obedience to the Divine will, so is a State elevated by obedience to these everlasting truths. Nor can we look for harmony in our country until these principles bear unquestioned sway, without any interdict from the States. That unity for which the Nation longs, with peace and reconciliation in its train, can be assured only through the Equal Rights of All, proclaimed by the Nation everywhere within its limits, and maintained by the national arm. Then will the Constitution be filled and inspired by the Declaration of Independence, so that the two shall be one, with a common life, a common authority, and a common glory.

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