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The Spirit of ’76

Jul 8, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 41 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Against them will stand the American people, resisting as best they can the depredations of modern liberalism, led by .  .  . whom? With all due respect to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, theirs can’t be the spirit of 2014. And the spirit of 2016 can’t be the spirit of the recent presidential nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney. The animating Republican spirit in these crucial elections has to be more like that of the young Jefferson of the Declaration and the young Hamilton of The Federalist. And of the 23-year-old Abraham Lincoln, who, in his first run for elective office, wrote to his fellow citizens that he had no ambition so great “as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.”

So, to the young and ambitious who are stirred by the admonition that “it is better to be impetuous than cautious, because fortune is a woman. .  .  . And one sees that she lets herself be won more by the impetuous than by those who proceed coldly. And so always, like a woman, she is the friend of the young, because they are less cautious .  .  . and command her with more audacity”—to the young in either body or spirit, we say: Run, baby, run.

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