Freedom Is Not Free: Put It Through!

Democratic Thinker, American History

Put it Through.

In the dark days of the American Civil War—when the war could have gone either way—the grand-nephew of Nathan Hale urges his fellow citizens to stay the course.


Tell him [General J.H. Lane], when he starts, to put it through—not to be writing or telegraphing back here, but put it through. —President Abraham Lincoln, to Secretary of War, June 20, 1861.

COME, Freemen of the land.
Come, meet the last demand,—
Here’s a piece of work in hand;
Put it through!
Here’s a log across the way.
We have stumbled on all day;
Here’s a ploughshare in the clay,—
Put it through!

Here’s a country that’s half free,
And it waits for you and me
To say what its fate shall be;
Put it through!
While one traitor thought remains,
While one spot its banner stains
One link of all its chains,—
Put it through!

Hear our brothers in the field,
Steel your swords as theirs are steeled.
Learn to wield the arms they wield,—
Put it through!
Lock the shop and lock the store.
And chalk this upon the door,—
‘We’ve enlisted for the war!”
Put it through!

For the birthrights yet unsold,
For the history yet untold.
For the future yet unrolled.
Put it through!
Lest our children point with shame
On the fathers’ dastard fame,
Who gave up a nation’s name.
Put it through!

—Edward Everett Hale, 1864.

Contributed by Democratic Thinker.