NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

Smith, James M'Cune. 'Citizenship' in 'The Anglo-African Magazine 1:5 (May 1859)' . New York, N.Y. : T. Hamilton, 1859. [format: newspaper], [genre: article; history]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=angloafrican1.html


Previous page

Next page

-- 146 --

citizenship. Among the Spartans, the helots or slaves earned the rank of citizen by purchase, or by military service, more especially in the heavy army ranks. Emancipation at one conferred citizenship on the person emancipated.

The word citizenship, however, of latin derivation, gathers its purport and exact meaning from the Roman Republic; it originated and grew under the Romans. Regarded as the relation which the individual bears to the state, the word citizenship is worthy of a close and attentive study; a broad historical view of the general relation of individual and state is presented by Mr. Mill in his remarkable essay on Liberty as follows:

‘The struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history with which we are early familiar, [2]particularly that of Greece, Rome and England. But in old times this contest was between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the government. By liberty was meant protection against the tyranny of political rulers. The rulers were conceived (except in some of the popular governments of Greece) as in necessarily antagonistic position to the people whom they ruled. They consisted of a governing One, or a governing tribe or caste, who derived their authority from inheritance or conquest, who, at all events did not venture, perhaps did not desire, to contest, whatever precautions might be taken against its oppressive exercise. Their power was regarded as necessary, but also as highly dangerous; as a weapon which they might attempt to use against their subjects, no less than against external enemies. To prevent the weaker members of the community from being preyed upon by innumerable vultures, it was needful that there should be an animal of prey stronger than the rest, commissioned to keep them down. But as the King of vultures would be no less bent upon preying on the flock, than any of the minor harpies, it was indispensable to be in a perpetual attitude of defense against his beak and claws. The aim therefore, of patriots, was to set limits to the power which the ruler should be suffered to exercise over the community; and this limitation was what they meant by liberty. It was attempted in two ways. First, by obtaining a recognition of certain immunities, called political liberty or rights, which it was to be regarded as a breach of duty in the ruler to infringe, and which if he did infringe specific resistance or general rebellion was held to be justifiable. A second, and generally later expedient, was the establishment of constitutional checks; by which the consent of the community, or a body, of some sort, supposed to represent its interests, was made a necessary condition to some of the more important acts of the governing power. To the first of these modes of limitation, the ruling power, in most European countries, was compelled, more or less, to submit. It was not so with the second; and to attain this, or when already in some degree possessed, to attain it more completely became everywhere the principal object of the lovers of liberty. And so long as mankind was content to control one enemy by another, and to be ruled by a master, on condition of being guaranteed more or less efficaciously against his tyranny, they did not carry their aspirations beyond this point.

A time, however, came, in the progress of human affairs, when men ceased to think it a necessity of nature that their governors should be an independent power, opposed in interest to themselves. It appeared to them much better that the various magistrates of the State should be their tenants or delegates, revocable at their pleasure. By degrees this new demand for elective temporary rulers became the prominent object of the popular party, wherever
Previous page

Next page


Smith, James M'Cune. 'Citizenship' in 'The Anglo-African Magazine 1:5 (May 1859)' . New York, N.Y. : T. Hamilton, 1859. [format: newspaper], [genre: article; history]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=angloafrican1.html
Powered by PhiloLogic