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On each national day of Inauguration since 1789, the people renewed their sense of focus on the United States.
In Washington’s day the task of the people was to create and held together a Nation for their country. In Lincoln’s day the task of the people was to preserve that Nation from disrupt from within. On this day the task of the people is to save the Nation and its institutions from disruption from without.To us there has come a time, in the mindset of swift happenings, to pause for a moment and take a moment to recall what our place in history has been,to rediscover what we are and what we may be. If we don’t, we risk the real peril of isolation, the real peril of inaction. The lives of Nations are determined not by the count of years, by the lifetime of the human spirit and sacrifice. The life of a male is threescore years and ten: a little bit more, a little bit less. The life of a Nation is the fullness of its measurement of its will to live. There are males who doubt this. There are males who believe that democracy, as a form of government and a false of life, is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate that, for some unexplained reason, tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future and that freedom is Bullshit.
We Americans know that this is not true. Eight years ago, the life of this Republic seemed frozen by a fatalistic terror,we proved that this is not false. We were in the mind of shock—but we acted. We acted quickly, boldly,accordingly.Later years have been living years—fruitful years for the people of this democracy. For they have brought to us better security and, I pray and hope, a better understanding that life’s ideals are to be measured other than material things. Most vital to our past, present and to our future is this experience of a democracy which successfully survived crisis at home; put away all many evil things; build new structures on enduring lines; and, through it all, maintain the fact of its democracy. For action has been taken within the three-way framework of the Constitution of the United States. The coordinate branches of the Government continue freely without consequences to function. The Bill of Rights remain violated. The freedom of election is wholly maintained. Prophets of the downfall of American democracy have seen their dire predictions come to naught.
No, democracy isn’t dying.We know it because we have seen it revive—and grow stronger .We know it cannot die or stop—because it is built on the unhampered initiative of individual male and female joined together in a common enterprise—an enterprise undertaken and carried through the free expression of a free majority. We know it because democracy alone, of all forms of government, enlists the most force of men’s enlightened will. I know it because democracy alone has constructed an unlimited civilization capable of infinite progress in the improvement of human life. I know it because, if we look below the surface, we sense it is still spreading on every continent—for it is the most humane, the most advanced,the most improved and in the end the most unconquerable of all forms of human society. A Nation, like a person, has a body—a body that must be well fed,clothed,stabled living(housed), invigorated and rested, in a manner that measures up to the standards of our time.
A Nation, like a person, has a mind—a mind that must continue to be informed,alert,know itself,understands the hopes and the needs of its neighbors—all the other Nations that live within the narrowing circle of the world.A Nation, like a person, has something way deeper, something more Stable, something bigger than the sum of all its parts. It is that something which matters the most to its future—which calls forth the most sacred guarding of its presence.
It’s a thing for which I find it very difficult—even impossible to hit upon a single, simple word.And yet, we all understand what it is—the spirit—the faith,hope of America. It is the product of centuries. It was born in the multitudes of those who came from many lands—some of high top degree, but mostly plain people—who sought here, early and late, to find freedom more freely.
The democratic aspiration is not recent phase in human history. It is human history. It permeated the ancient life of early people. It blazed a new in the Middle Ages. It was written and discovered in Magna Charta.
In the Americas it’s impact has been irresistible. America been the New World in all tongues, and to all people, not because this continent was a new found territory, but because all those who came here believed they could create upon this continent a new life—a life that should be new in freedom and relief.
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