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John Muir

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The United States government has always been proud of the welcome it has extended to good men of every nation, seeking freedom and homes and bread.
--
Our National Parks (1901), chapter 10: The American Forests

 
John Muir

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The Union is a confederation of States. But in another aspect the United States constitute only one nation. Increase of population, which is filling the States out to their very borders, together with a new and extended network of railroads and other avenues, and an internal commerce which daily becomes more intimate, is rapidly bringing the States into a higher and more perfect social unity or consolidation. Thus, these antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer contact, and collision results.
Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think that it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefore ephemeral, mistake the case altogether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation, or entirely a free-labor nation.

 
William H. Seward
 

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit: That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom. That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.

 
Abraham Lincoln
 

As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen it is declared that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever product an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation.

 
John Adams
 

The First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights in the United States Constitution were being violated in Albany again and again freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the equal protection of the laws I could count at least 30 such violations. Yet the president, sworn to uphold the Constitution, and all the agencies of the United States government at his disposal, were nowhere to be seen.

 
Howard Zinn
 

Washington is beyond question one of the greatest men in history, one of the noblest men who ever lived. He is a towering figure in the establishment of the United States and he did more than any other man to create and preserve the Republic. Here was a man whose very strength resided in his austere sobriety, who in his own person demonstrated this soundness of America. He was a good man, not a demigod; he was an honest administrator, not a brilliant statesman; he was a military man, but never a militarist. He was touchingly proud of America, proud that it was his country that was given the historic chance of becoming a model of religious as well as political freedom. In a letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, whose service he once attended, he stressed that in America freedom of religious worship was one of the "inherent natural rights," where government "gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance." Washington was an exceptional man; with reason he became so merged with America that his is the most prominent name in the land.

 
George Washington
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