The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War

Dawn Griffin Posted by
St. Louis Jan 2012

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Got a new book for Christmas. The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War. I really enjoyed the perspective offered by this poem noted in the introduction.

I was a Metropolis when Chicago was a trading post;

I was a cosmopolitan on the bank of  moody river when Philadelphia and

Boston were pulsated only by town-criers;

Along my levee French and Spaniard and Aborigine and African met and

understood each other.

I was hardy and founded upon a hardy brotherhood.

I became asylum to a horde of freedom-bent Germans from an oppressive Fatherland;

I was bosom to the shorn lambs of Ireland.

When gold polarized the West, through my bounden limbs converged the Argonauts of ‘forty-nine.

Frugal Yankees and touchy Southrons came and fetched their feud over slavery;

Slave pens and a public mart are among my relics in limbo, but I supplied

History with the cause celebre named for black Dred Scott.

I was a Union City in 1861, yet I gave succor and occasion to Confederate

sympathizers–(I should be the most liberal city in the U.S.A)

I am the center of the Continent. I am the centripetal of these United

States, for I am a parcel of all sections;…

I am the American City of manifest destiny–I am St. Louis

–Nathan Benjamin Young, Jr. “Your St. Louis’ Speaks,” 1937

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