D.W. Griffith Presents "The Birth of a Nation" Page: 14 of 20
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A NATION IS BORN
MONG our fathers lived a poet-leader who dreamed a new
vision of humanity-that out of the conflicting interests and
character of thirteen American States, stretching their territories
from the frosts of the north to the tropic jungles of
Florida, there could be built one mighty people. For eighty
years this vision remained a dream-sectionalism and disunity
the grimmest realities of our life.
Lord Cornwallis, the British Commander, had surrendered
at Yorktown, Viginia to the allied armies of the Kingdom of
France and the original thirteen States by name-New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia,
Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Through seventy-five years
of growth land conflict these States clung to their individual sovereignty, feeling with
jealous alarm the slow, but resistless growth of a national spirit within the body of the
Federal Union. This new being was stirred at last into conscious life by Daniel Webster's
ONE AND INSEPARABLE,
NOW AND FOREVER!"
The issue, which our fathers had not dared to face-whether the State or the Union
should ultimately have supreme rule-was joined in 1861 over the problem of the Negro.
The South held with passionate conviction that we were a Republic of Republics,
each State free and sovereign. The North, under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln,
held that the Union was indestructible and its sovereignty supreme.
Until Lincoln's day the right of each State to peaceful secession was scarcely disputed,
North or South. New England had more than once threatened to withdraw
long before South Carolina in her blind rage led the way.
And yet, unconsciously, the new being within had grown into a living soul, and, in
the mortal agony of four years of Civil War and eight years of more horrible Reconstruction,
a Nation was born.
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Griffith, D.W. D.W. Griffith Presents "The Birth of a Nation", book, April 1, 1924; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth21924/m1/14/: accessed January 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boyce Ditto Public Library.