Date of this Version
The meet to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of our national birthday. To-day, we as a nation exhibit to the world a solution of the problem that not only in numbers, in wealth, in the advancement of commercial and agricultural prosperity, in our ability to protect ourselves from both foreign and domestic enemies, but also in age, in permanency, a government "of the people, for the people, and by the people " can endure. The history of the world for the past two thousand years has been marked with the successive rise and fall of republics. Greece and Rome, Venice and Genoa have, for short periods, assumed republican forms of government, but it is reserved for the United States of America to mark the epoch in modern history of a republic enduring a century. To those fathers of the republic, to those grand men who, one hundred years ago this day, affixed their signatures to the immortal declaration which has just been read in your hearing, and who, in support of that declaration, "pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor," do we owe this national prosperity, this perpetuity of free institutions. On this centennial day over forty millions of free people arise and call them blessed ; their names have become household words, their memories are embalmed in the hearts of liberty-loving people, not only of our own, but of all lands. They laid the foundations of civil government for a free people broad and deep. They seemed to be endowed with almost prophetic wisdom, and of all the state papers of ancient or modern times, the Declaration of Independence of 1776, the Ordinance of 1'787, and the Federal Constitution of 1789, all emanating from almost the same sources and receiving the assent and approval of the same statesmen and legislators, stand, after one hundred years of trial, as enduring monuments of political wisdom unsurpassed, unequaled, incomparable.