H105, American History I

Benjamin Rush, “An Address to the People of the United States ... on the Defects of the Confederation” (1787).

There is nothing more common, than to confound the terms of American revolution with those of the late American war.  The American war is over:  but this is far from being the case with the American revolution.  On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed.  It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government; and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens, for these forms of government, after they are established and brought to perfection.


I am extremely sorry to find a passion for retirement so universal among the patriots and heroes of the war.  They resemble skillful mariners who, after exerting themselves to preserve a ship from sinking in a storm, in the middle of the ocean, drop asleep, as soon as the waves subside, and leave the care of their lives and property, during the remainder of the voyage, to sailors, without knowledge or experience.  Every man in a republic is public property.  His time and talents — his youth — his manhood — his old age — nay more, his life, his all, belong to his country.

Patriots of 1774, 1775, 1776 — heroes of 1778, 1779, 1780! come forward! your country demands your services! — Philosophers and friends to mankind, come forward! your country demands your studies and speculations!  Lovers of peace and order, who declined taking part in the late war, come forward! your country forgives your timidity and demands your influence and advice!  Hear her proclaiming, in sighs and groans, in her governments, in her finances, in her trade, in her manufactures, in her morals, and in her manners, “The Revolution Is Not Over!”