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At the time this piece originally appeared, it was normal for students to read, study, and even memorize famous speeches. Here's one from Daniel Webster. Students at the time were probably familiar with this speech from either History or English classes. We have here an excerpt, this representing only a part of the whole.
Shorthand Instructor, Pitman’s Shorthand, Isaac Pitman, 1905, p. 271-263
I profess, in my career hitherto, to have kept steadily in view the prosperity and honor of the whole country and the preservation of the Federal Union. It is to that Union we owe our safety at home and our consideration and dignity abroad. It is to that Union that we are chiefly indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our country. That Union we reach only by the discipline of our virtues in the severe school of adversity. It had its origin in the necessities of disordered finance, prostrate commerce, and ruined credit. Under its benign influences, these great interests immediately awoke, as from the dead, and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its duration has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings; and although our territory has stretched out wider and wider, and our population spread farther and farther, they have not outrun its protection or its benefits. It has been to us all a copious fountain of national, social, and personal happiness. I have not allowed myself to look beyond the Union to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the changes of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counselor in the affairs of this government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the Union should be preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it shall be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts we have nigh, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us, and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil.—Daniel Webster
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