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WILLIAM MAXWELL EVARTS
American statesman and secretary of state
(1818 - 1901)

The dignity of the act is the deliberate, circumspect, open, and serene performance by these men in the clear light of day, and by a concurrent purpose, of a civic duty, which embraced the greatest hazards to themselves and to all the people from whom they held this deputed discretion, but which, to their sober judgments, promised benefits to that people and their posterity, from generation to generation, exceeding these hazards and commensurate with its own fitness.
      - [Independence Day]

Tracing the progress of mankind in the ascending path of civilization, and moral and intellectual culture, our fathers found that the divine ordinance of government, in every stage of the ascent, was adjustable on principles of common reason to the actual condition of a people, and always had for its objects, in the benevolent councils of the divine wisdom, the happiness, the expansion, the security, the elevation of society, and the redemption of man. They sought in vain for any title of authority of man over man, except of superior capacity and higher morality.
      - [Independence Day]


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