Albert Barnes’s 4th of July Speech

Publication Year: 1835

Barnes, Albert. The Connexion of Temperance with Republican Freedom: An Oration delivered on the 4th of July, 1835, before the Mechanics and Workingmens Temperance Society of the city and county of Philadelphia.([Philadelphia]: Printed by Boyle and Benedict, 1835).
PHS Call number: PAM HV 5081 .B37 1835

Source note

Albert Barnes (1798-1870) was an influential Presbyterian minister who supported abolition and the Temperance Movement. The Mechanics and Workingmen’s Temperance Society of Philadelphia, despite its name, was led by wealthy, prominent members and founders such as Matthias Baldwin, a steam engine manufacturing magnate who was also a Presbyterian.  

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Reading questions

1.    What is one cause of the country’s “crisis,” according to Barnes (pages 4-5)?

2.    Barnes claims that the influx of immigrants to our country has put a strain on our government and our constitution. What concerns does he have about the new arrivals (page 6)?

3.    Note the structure of Barnes’s argument that he sets up on pages 9-16. Why do you think he chose to list all the elements needed to keep our institutions running properly and our country strong?

4.    What are the eight elements essential to keeping our republic intact?

5.    Why does Barnes advocate for public schooling (“common schools”)? What benefits would such schooling provide (page 11)?

6.    Barnes suggests that universal suffrage is an essential element of our democracy, but at the time he wrote and delivered this speech, people of color and women still could not vote, and poll taxes and property requirements even prevented some white men from voting in certain states. What does Barnes’s statement on voting rights say about his own social position?

7.    Again note the structure of Barnes’s argument (page 17). Do you think this was an effective way to structure this speech?

8.    What is the main point Barnes is trying to make in this speech?

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Source type
History Topics
19th Century Social Reform
Time Period
Slavery, Sectionalism, and Social Reform (1815-1861)