National Geographic : 1898 Sep
386 THE GROWTH OF THE UNITED STATES than were the savage tribes and resident Mexicans of California; while it is the special function of the republican form of govern ment to render the inhabitants of acquired territory not only self-supporting but self-governing. The progress of mankind may be measured by advance in speed of locomotion, beginning with fleetness of foot, coming up through fleetness of ridden and driven animals, and ending with swiftness of locomotive engines and sea-going craft; and, with vessels of sufficient swift ness and projectiles of sufficient velocity, there need be little fear of foreign complications, little occasion for maintaining great navies; for, if commercial competition be but aroused, individual effort may be trusted to develop the devices required for national protection. The fact that a quickly converted mer chantman commanded by a Sigsbee, or that a hastily armed yacht commanded by a Wainwright can wreck torpedo-boat de stroyers and naval theory together is full of promise, since it is the normal function of a free nation to produce Sigsbees and Wainwrights, to develop swiftness and certainty of action, and to meet emergencies as they arise. Nor need there be fear of occasion for large standing armies, since citizens require no such restraint and constraint as unwilling subjects, and are ever ready to rise in patriotic and thinking might to support the nation of which they are voluntary parts. The history of the growth of the United States is one of un equaled progress in territorial acquisition, in normal develop ment of population, in augmentation of wealth, and, above all, in development of a national character in which individual enterprise and capacity are the most conspicuous traits. There is but a single line in which progress has been sluggish, and that is the line which must inevitably be strengthened through the stirring episodes of 1898; and, in case the accession extend to far Luzon and Mindanao, America must soon lead the world in ocean navigation as in other directions, and begin a conquest of the sea no less complete and noble than the conquest of the land already wrought. More than all else, the territorial acqui sitions must contribute toward the extension of enlightenment, toward the elevation of humanity, and toward the ultimate peace and welfare of the world. He errs who forgets the history of his country. Every citizen of the United States would do well to remember the decades past, and realize that the growth of 1898 marks no new policy, and is but the normal continuation of a course of development successfully pursued for a century.