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We hazard nothing in saying that not only the most important event of the past two hundred years, but one of the most important events of all time, was the advent of the United States into the family of nations. Its profound significance was not then unfelt, but in the nature of things its far-reaching effects could not be foreseen. Even now, as we survey the momentous changes of the last few years, we seem to stand only on the threshold of American history, as if its domain were the future rather than the past. But, if we would understand the diplomacy of the United States, the principles by which it has in the main been guided, and the distinctive influence which it has heretofore exerted, we must recur to the work of the original builders. Many nations have come and gone, and have left little impress upon the life of humanity. The Declaration of American Independence, however, bore upon its face the marks of distinction, and presaged the development of a theory and a policy which must be worked out in opposition to the ideas that then dominated the civilized world. Of this theory and policy the key-note was freedom; freedom of the individual, in order that he might work out his destiny in his own way; freedom in government, in order that the human faculties might have free course; freedom in commerce, in order that the resources of the earth might be developed and rendered fruitful in the increase of human wealth, contentment, and happiness.

When our ancestors embarked on the sea of independence, they were hemmed in by a system of monopolies. It was to the effects of this system that the American revolt against British authority was primarily due; and of the monopolies under which they chafed, the most galling was the commercial. It is an inevitable result of the vital connection between bodily wants and human happiness that political evils should seem to be more or less speculative so long as they do not prevent the individual from obtaining an abundance of the things that are essential to his physical comfort. This truth the system of commercial monopoly brutally

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