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The South and the National Government   By: (1857-1930)

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The South and the National Government

By The Honorable William Howard Taft President elect of the United States

An Address Delivered at the Dinner of the North Carolina Society of New York, at the Hotel Astor, December 7, 1908


The speech of the President Elect at the recent annual banquet of the North Carolina Society, New York, found a warm response in the hearts of the Northern people, who have not failed to sympathize deeply with their Southern fellow citizens during their long years of affliction.

The orator expresses our feelings with rare felicity, and so keenly did his sentiments touch our hearts, it was resolved to publish his address and send it to our fellow citizens of the South as the messenger of peace and perfect reunion from their Northern countrymen.

Our Southern friends will note that no phase of the present unfortunate situation is neglected by Mr. Taft; all are dealt with in a clear and masterly manner. The North, as well as the South is enlightened as to their respective duties toward bringing about the desirable return of the South to its normal condition politically, so that American citizens in all sections of our common country will again belong to both of the great political parties, thus proving to the world that both parties command the allegiance of good citizens in all parts of the country who are desirous only for what they believe to be best for the good of the nation as a whole.

The future President of our common country, North, South, East, and West, who appeals to us, is a man of large heart, warm sympathies, and cool brain, of sound judgment and lofty purpose, who has at heart as one of the greatest possible triumphs of his administration the restoration of normal political conditions in the South. Under his wise and sympathetic leadership the writer is sanguine of success certain of it if the influential people of all sections give him the support he so richly deserves in this truly patriotic mission.


%The Solid South%



At the Dinner of the North Carolina Society of New York, at the Hotel Astor. December 7, 1908

Here, if nowhere else, we leave political parties and preferences alone. But here, as everywhere else, we are patriotic men; and we North Carolinians have as our background a community that from the first showed a singularly independent temper. A freedom of opinion is our heritage. We once drove a Colonial Governor who disputed our freedom of political action to the safer shelter of the Colony of New York; and throughout our history we have shown a sort of passion for independent action, in spite of occasional eclipses; and that same temper shows itself now. We are, in fact, never sure that we are right till half our neighbors have proved that we are wrong.

We are, therefore, and have long been, much distressed by the political solidity of the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania; and we wish that it were broken not for the sake of the Democratic party nor for the sake of the Republican party (for the breach would benefit each alike) but for the sake of greater freedom of political action by our unfortunate fellow citizens who dwell there. Where one party has too long and secure power it becomes intolerant and the other party falls into contempt. Thus these states have become stagnant or corrupt. For the sake of free political action we wish that their political solidity might be broken, so that the whole conscience and character of their people might find full political expression. What constructive influence have they, or have they in recent years had, in the nation's thought and political progress?

For the same reasons we have taken an especial pleasure in the recent breaking up of Ohio, Minnesota, and Indiana where on the same day presidential electors of one party and governors of the other party were chosen; for this breaking asunder of party dominance makes both parties tolerant and careful, helping them both and showing the utmost freedom of political action... Continue reading book >>

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