Daniel Webster said a bunch of brilliant stuff. The man was a walking quote machine. On top of being one of the greatest orators America ever produced, he represented two states in the House, was a Senator, and the Secretary of State under three presidents. And we haven’t even touched on his legal career.
This quote is from his defense of The Compromise Bill in 1850, a bill that he hoped would save the nation from civil war. Although an abolitionist, Webster thought it better for America to make a legislative compromise with slave states than to risk the inevitable war that would rip the Union apart. Unfortunately, we know how the story ends.
“I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American, and I intend to perform the duties incumbent upon me in that character to the end of my career. I mean to do this with absolute disregard of personal consequences.
What are the personal consequences?
What is the individual man, with all the good or evil that may betide him, in comparison with the good or evil which may befall a great country, and in the midst of great transactions which concern that country’s fate?
Let the consequences be what they will, I am careless. No man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffers, or if he falls, in the defense of the liberties and constitution of his country.”