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Clarke, Graydon (ed.) / The crimson
(1918)

Forensic


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Winning Oration ...      .......... ..           FREDERICK ELLINGSON
3 T IS the solemn duty of every people, of every age, and of every generation
to leave some gift which will aid in the advancement of the world. These
gifts are not some great achievement of stone but something of benefit to future
generations. The ancient Egyptians left agricultural methods, which are in use
today, the ancient Greeks left art and architecture whose beauty has never been
excelled, while from Rome we got the principles of law by which we judge men
today. Even the stone age people left their gift, for the ideas that they embodied
in their first crude implements of stone are used in implements of metal today.
Every people, just as every age and every generation has left its gift for the advance-
ment of the world.
But thru all of these ages we find that autocratic rule still remained the power
of nations from the time of Rome to the present time in Germany the sword had
always been supreme, thru all these ages feudalism had existed, the aristocrats had
ruled, in England for instance during the seventeenth century the religion of the
state was forced upon everybody by the rulers. But a few believing it their right
to believe in God as they saw fit left England and set out to find that freedom they
desired above everything else, and we find that always there had been a few who
had rebelled against the spirit of autocracy, a few who had embodied the spirit of
liberty, equality and freedom. A spirit which would take men and women to
shores where unknown dangers existed, to die even, so that future generations
might enjoy these privileges.
And we find our present nation was started by people with these ideals, people
who believed in their ideals, people who would die for their ideals if necessary, and
in colonial warfare and strife with the Indians many a grassy mound marks the spot
where an American patriot died that these ideals might live, then came the Revolu-
tion and they again fought to uphold their principles, then came the war of 1812,
and they fought for. the freedom of the seas, then came the Mexican war and they
fought to give fellow Americans a chance in our government, in the sixties came the
war of the Rebellion and they fought to preserve the union and to establish the
equality of man. In the Spanish-American war they fought to establish justice and
to give poor Cuba a chance in the Congress of nations. So all of our wars have
been in defense of our principles. We have only unsheathed the sword when our
principles were in danger, when democracy was threatened, when liberty itself
trembled in the balance. And from the beginning of this new country, we find
that a spirit existed which threatened autocracy, for its spirit and people differed,
its whole organization challenged autocracy. People came to America to escape
oppression and to get liberty and justice, and so they believed in our principles and
so they fought for them. The fundamental law of democracy as given by James
Russell Lowell, "You are as good as I, and I am as good as you," was the spirit they
adopted and believed in, and so our government remained a democracy.


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