Slavery is but half abolished, emancipation is but half completed, while millions of freemen with votes in their hands are left without education. Justice to them, the welfare of the States in which they live, the safety of the whole Republic, the dignity of the elective franchise, - all alike demand that the still remaining bonds of ignorance shall be unloosed and broken, and the minds as well as the bodies of the emancipated go free.
This is man: a writer of books, a putter-down of words, a painter of pictures, a maker of ten thousand philosophies. He grows passionate over ideas, he hurls scorn and mockery at another's work, he finds the one way, the true way, for himself, and calls all others false--yet in the billion books upon the shelves there is not one that can tell him how to draw a single fleeting breath in peace and comfort. He makes histories of the universe, he directs the destiny of the nations, but he does not know his own history, and he cannot direct his own destiny with dignity or wisdom for ten consecutive minutes.
Freedom springs from within, whether in a man or in a people. To remove disabilities and confer the franchise is not enough. Men must be enabled to grow if they are to exercise their rights with dignity and effect. For this reason the widening of the franchise in democratic countries has always been accompanied or followed by the development of popular education.
It is by what we ourselves have done, and not by what others have done for us, that we shall be remembered after ages. It is by thought that has aroused the intellect from its slumbers, which has given luster to virtue and dignity to truth, or by those examples which have inflamed the soul with the love of goodness.