Wyoming Statehood Celebration Speeches - Judge M.C. Brown

"To Judge M.C. Brown, the able president of the constitutional convention was assigned the duty of presenting the result of its labors. The judge's address which follows is a thoughtful and eloquent production," (Cheyenne Daily Sun July 24, 1890, p. 5)

"We stand to day on one of the mountain tops of human progress. Looking backward along the line of man’s endeavor we behold no smooth or easy pathway, but here and there along the otherwise undulating plain arise the lofty summits of human achievement. As descendants of the Anglo Saxon we view again with proud delight the field of Runnymede, and the English barons wringing from the grasp of a reluctant king the Magna Carta of human rights. Here at the dawn of civil liberty it was first established that men were not created for government, but governments ordained for men; that the right of the individual should stand above the right of government; that governments might protect and cherish but never destroy liberty. And this heritage of individual liberty descended to us as a natural birth-right. Look again along the line of progress. In a new land we see scattered along the Atlantic coast a few hundreds of thousands of people oppressed by unjust taxes, denied civil and political rights, and threatened with bloody devastating war. Amid the clash of arms and reverberating thunders of cannon, the cry rings forth in tones that startle the civilized world, 'All men are created equal.' The Declaration of Independence is an accomplished fact. From the smoke and dust of battle, and the ashes of destroyed homes arised the young giant of America, and wresting the scepter of government from the grasp of the tyrannical King George, plants it on the shores of Columbia—liberty lives, tyranny is overthrown, and a new nation is born to the world.

"Look again. A dark cloud rests above our fair land. Never funeral dirge more solemn than the thought of our people. The air is hushed as of a coming tempest. On the unnatural stillness breaks the boom, boom of cannon and the old flag, emblem of freedom and liberty, goes down from the walls of Sumpter.

"Now we hear the fife and drum and the tramp of gathering hosts; the continent trembles beneath the tread of contending armies; but above the clash of arms comes the words from the grandest of rulers of men: 'Thou art free,' and the shouts of four million slaves join in happy refrain, and with joyous shouts exclaim: 'We are free: we are free.' Victory henceforth perches upon the Union banner, and Liberty sings his anthem of triumph. Again from the din of war come the words of hero captain and president as if in benediction: 'Let us have peace,' and the angel of peace, with her loving smile, settles down upon a united country -- happy land -- grand achievement.

"Look again. Far out across the Great American desert, and beneath the shade of the grand old Rockies, there springs into existence a new state, and the watch-words of its people are, Justice, Equality to this new state. Under the guidance of the Great Jehovah it is permitted to achieve the highest excellence in government yet attained by man. Here, unmoved by selfishness, the dangers of war or the appeals of non-resident reformers, but moved alone by the spirit of divine justice, it was ordained by the people of Wyoming that each citizen of the state should enjoy the same right guaranteed to every other citizen, whether high or low, black or white, male or female.

"And now, Mrs. Post, I have the distinguished honor to place in your hands, and you, as a representative woman of Wyoming, the grand privilege of receiving, this broadest guarantee of civil liberty ever established by the genius of man, the Magna Carta of our liberties, the constitution of the state of Wyoming.

"From the Nebo of history we look forward to the promised land. Whether it shall flow with the milk and honey of prosperity and happiness for woman depends solely upon herself.

"With these new privileges come new duties and responsibilities. 'Act well your part, there all the honor lies.' Your past furnishes the highest guarantee for the future. If you live up to the full measure of your high privileges, you will not only bring happiness to the new state, but joy to the hearts of the noble women of other states who are struggling for the repeal of unequal and unjust laws. Not only this, but your example and success will bring emancipation to the women of the world."