Democratic National Convention Of 1936 (Voices, 172) President Franklin Roosevelt Linked Political Equality To Economic Equality
VOICES OF FREEDOM A D O C U M E N T A R Y H I S T O R Y
V O L U M E
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VOICES OF FREEDOM
A Documentary History F i f t h E d i t i o n
V o l u m e 2
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VOICES OF FREEDOM
A D o c u m e n t a r y H i s t o r y Fi f t h E d i t i o n
E D I T E D B Y
E R I C F O N E R
� V o l u m e 2
W . W . N O R T O N & C O M P A N Y . N E W Y O R K . L O N D O N
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Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011, 2008, 2005 by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Foner, Eric, 1943– editor. Title: Voices of freedom: a documentary history / edited by Eric Foner. Description: Fifth edition. | New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016. | Includes bibliographical references. Identifi ers: LCCN 2016045203 | ISBN 9780393614497 (pbk., v. 1) | ISBN 9780393614503 (pbk., v. 2) Subjects: LCSH: United States—History—Sources. | United States—Politics and government—Sources. Classifi cation: LCC E173 .V645 2016 | DDC 973—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016045203
ISBN: 978-0-393-61450-3 (pbk.)
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W. W. Norton & Company has been in de pen dent since its founding in 1923, when William Warder Norton and Mary D. Herter Norton fi rst published lectures delivered at the People’s Institute, the adult education division of New York City’s Cooper Union. The fi rm soon expanded its program beyond the Institute, publishing books by celebrated academics from America and abroad. By midcentury, the two major pil- lars of Norton’s publishing program— trade books and college texts— were fi rmly established. In the 1950s, the Norton family transferred control of the company to its employees, and today— with a staff of four hundred and a comparable number of trade, college, and professional titles published each year— W. W. Norton & Company stands as the largest and oldest publishing house owned wholly by its employees.
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ERIC FONER is DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, where he earned his B.A. and Ph.D. In his teaching and scholarship, he focuses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, slavery, and nineteenth- century America. Professor Foner’s publications include Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War ; Tom Paine and Revolutionary America; Politics and Ideology in the Age of the Civil War; Nothing but Freedom: Emancipa- tion and Its Legacy; Reconstruction: American’s Unfi nished Revolution, 1863– 1877; Freedom’s Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Offi ceholders During Reconstruction; The Story of American Freedom; Who Owns His- tory? Rethinking the Past in a Changing World; and Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction. His history of Reconstruc- tion won the Los Angeles Times Book Award for History, the Bancroft Prize, and the Parkman Prize. He served as president of the Or ga ni- za tion of American Historians, the American Historical Associa- tion, and the Society of American Historians. His most recent trade publications include The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, which won numerous awards including the Lincoln Prize, the Bancroft Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize, and Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.
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v i i
C o n t e n t s
“ W h a t I s F r e e d o m ? ” : R e c o n s t r u c t i o n , 1 8 6 5 – 1 8 7 7 95. Petition of Black Residents of Nashville (1865) 1
96. Petition of Committee on Behalf of the Freedmen to
Andrew Johnson (1865) 4
97. The Mississippi Black Code (1865) 7
98. A Sharecropping Contract (1866) 11
99. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Home Life” (ca. 1875) 14
100. Frederick Douglass, “The Composite Nation” (1869) 18
101. Robert B. Elliott on Civil Rights (1874) 24
A m e r i c a’s G i l d e d A g e , 1 8 7 0 – 1 8 9 0 102. Jorgen and Otto Jorgensen, Homesteading in Montana (1908) 28
103. Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth (1889) 32
104. William Graham Sumner on Social Darwinism (ca. 1880) 35
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v i i i C o n t e n t s
105. A Second Declaration of In de pen dence (1879) 40
106. Henry George, Progress and Poverty (1879) 42
107. Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1888) 45
108. Walter Rauschenbusch and the Social Gospel (1912) 49
F r e e d o m ’s B o u n d a r i e s , a t H o m e a n d A b r o a d , 1 8 9 0 – 1 9 0 0
109. The Populist Platform (1892) 52
110. Booker T. Washington, Address at the Atlanta Cotton
Exposition (1895) 57
111. W. E. B. Du Bois, A Critique of Booker T. Washington (1903) 61
112. Ida B. Wells, Crusade for Justice (ca. 1892) 64
113. Frances E. Willard, Women and Temperance (1883) 70
114. Josiah Strong, Our Country (1885) 72
115. Emilio Aguinaldo on American Imperialism in the
Philippines (1899) 74
T h e P r o g r e s s i v e E r a , 1 9 0 0 – 1 9 1 6 116. Manuel Gamio on a Mexican- American Family and
American Freedom (ca. 1926) 77
117. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Women and Economics (1898) 81
118. John A. Ryan, A Living Wage (1912) 84
119. The Industrial Workers of the World and the Free
Speech Fights (1909) 87
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C o n t e n t s i x
120. Margaret Sanger on “Free Motherhood,” from Woman
and the New Race (1920) 92
121. Mary Church Terrell, “What It Means to Be Colored
in the Capital of the United States” (1906) 96
122. Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom (1912) 100
123. R. G. Ashley, Unions and “The Cause of Liberty” (1910) 103
S a f e f o r D e m o c r a c y : T h e U n i t e d S t a t e s a n d W o r l d W a r I , 1 9 1 6 – 1 9 2 0
124. Woodrow Wilson, A World “Safe for Democracy” (1917) 105
125. Randolph Bourne, “War Is the Health of the State” (1918) 107
126. A Critique of the Versailles Peace Conference (1919) 112
127. Carrie Chapman Catt, Address to Congress on Women’s
Suffrage (1917) 114
128. Eugene V. Debs, Speech to the Jury (1918) 119
129. Rubie Bond, The Great Migration (1917) 123
130. Marcus Garvey on Africa for the Africans (1921) 127
131. John A. Fitch on the Great Steel Strike (1919) 130
F r o m B u s i n e s s C u l t u r e t o G r e a t D e p r e s s i o n : T h e T w e n t i e s , 1 9 2 0 – 1 9 3 2
132. André Siegfried on the “New Society,” from the
Atlantic Monthly (1928) 136
133. The Fight for Civil Liberties (1921) 140
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x C o n t e n t s
134. Bartolomeo Vanzetti’s Last Statement in Court (1927) 145
135. Congress Debates Immigration (1921) 147
136. Meyer v. Nebraska and the Meaning of Liberty (1923) 151
137. Alain Locke, The New Negro (1925) 155
138. Elsie Hill and Florence Kelley Debate the Equal Rights
Amendment (1922) 160
T h e N e w D e a l , 1 9 3 2 – 1 9 4 0 139. Letter to Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins (1937) 163
140. John Steinbeck, The Harvest Gypsies (1936) 166
141. Labor’s Great Upheaval (1937) 168
142. Franklin D. Roo se velt, Speech to the Demo cratic
National Convention (1936) 172
143. Herbert Hoover on the New Deal and Liberty (1936) 175
144. Norman Cousins, “Will Women Lose Their Jobs?” (1939) 178
145. Frank H. Hill on the Indian New Deal (1935) 183
146. W. E. B. Du Bois, “A Negro Nation within a Nation” (1935) 187
F i g h t i n g f o r t h e F o u r F r e e d o m s : W o r l d W a r I I , 1 9 4 1 – 1 9 4 5
147. Franklin D. Roo se velt on the Four Freedoms (1941) 192
148. Will Durant, Freedom of Worship (1943) 194
149. Henry R. Luce, The American Century (1941) 196
150. Henry A. Wallace on “The Century of the Common Man” (1942) 199
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151. F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944) 202
152. World War II and Mexican- Americans (1945) 205
153. African-Americans and the Four Freedoms (1944) 208
154. Justice Robert A. Jackson, Dissent in Korematsu v.
United States (1944) 210
T h e U n i t e d S t a t e s a n d t h e C o l d W a r, 1 9 4 5 – 1 9 5 3 155. Declaration of In de pen dence of the Demo cratic Republic
of Vietnam (1945) 215
156. The Truman Doctrine (1947) 218
157. NSC 68 and the Ideological Cold War (1950) 221
158. Walter Lippmann, A Critique of Containment (1947) 225
159. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) 228
160. President’s Commission on Civil Rights,
To Secure These Rights (1947) 234
161. Joseph R. McCarthy on the Attack (1950) 239
162. Margaret Chase Smith, Declaration of Conscience (1950) 242
163. Will Herberg, The American Way of Life (1955) 244
A n A f f l u e n t S o c i e t y, 1 9 5 3 – 1 9 6 0 164. Richard M. Nixon, “What Freedom Means to Us” (1959) 248
165. Daniel L. Schorr, “Reconverting Mexican Americans” (1946) 253
166. The Southern Manifesto (1956) 257
167. Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (1962) 259
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x i i C o n t e n t s
168. C. Wright Mills on “Cheerful Robots” (1959) 262
169. Allen Ginsberg, “Howl” (1955) 265
170. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955) 267
T h e S i x t i e s , 1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 8 171. John F. Kennedy, Speech on Civil Rights (1963) 272
172. Malcolm X, The Ballot or the Bullet (1964) 276
173. Barry Goldwater on “Extremism in the Defense
of Liberty” (1964) 280
174. Lyndon B. Johnson, Commencement Address at Howard
University (1965) 284
175. The Port Huron Statement (1962) 288
176. Paul Potter on the Antiwar Movement (1965) 294
177. The National Or ga ni za tion for Women (1966) 296
178. César Chavez, “Letter from Delano” (1969) 300
179. The International 1968 (1968) 304
T h e T r i u m p h o f C o n s e r v a t i s m , 1 9 6 9 – 1 9 8 8 180. Brochure on the Equal Rights Amendment (1970s) 307
181. Barry Commoner, The Closing Circle (1971) 309
182. The Sagebrush Rebellion (1979) 313
183. Jimmy Carter on Human Rights (1977) 316
184. Jerry Falwell, Listen, America! (1980) 319
185. Phyllis Schlafl y, “The Fraud of the Equal Rights
Amendment” (1972) 324
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C o n t e n t s x i i i
186. James Watt, “Environmentalists: A Threat to the Ecol ogy
of the West” (1978) 327
187. Ronald Reagan, Inaugural Address (1981) 329
F r o m T r i u m p h t o T r a g e d y, 1 9 8 9 – 2 0 0 1 188. Pat Buchanan, Speech to the Republican
National Convention (1992) 332
189. Bill Clinton, Speech on Signing of NAFTA (1993) 334
190. Declaration for Global Democracy (1999) 336
191. The Beijing Declaration on Women (1995) 338
192. Puwat Charukamnoetkanok, “Triple Identity:
My Experience as an Immigrant in America” (1990) 343
A N e w C e n t u r y a n d N e w C r i s e s 193. The National Security Strategy of the United States (2002) 349
194. Robert Byrd on the War in Iraq (2003) 352
195. Second Inaugural Address of George W. Bush (2005) 356
196. Archbishop Roger Mahoney, “Called by God to Help” (2006) 359
197. Anthony Kennedy, Opinion of the Court in
Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) 362
198. Security, Liberty, and the War on Terror (2008) 366
199. Barack Obama, Eulogy at Emanuel African Methodist
Episcopal Church (2015) 368
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P r e f a c e
Voices of Freedom is a documentary history of American freedom from the earliest days of Eu ro pean exploration and settlement of the Western Hemi sphere to the pres ent. I have prepared it as a com- panion volume to Give Me Liberty!, my survey textbook of the his- tory of the United States centered on the theme of freedom. This fi fth edition of Voices of Freedom is or ga nized in chapters that corre- spond to those in the fi fth edition of the textbook. But it can also stand in de pen dently as a documentary introduction to the history of American freedom. The two volumes include more than twenty documents not available in the third edition.
No idea is more fundamental to Americans’ sense of themselves as individuals and as a nation than freedom, or liberty, with which it is almost always used interchangeably. The Declaration of In de- pen dence lists liberty among mankind’s inalienable rights; the Constitution announces as its purpose to secure liberty’s blessings. “ Every man in the street, white, black, red or yellow,” wrote the educator and statesman Ralph Bunche in 1940, “knows that this is ‘the land of the free’ . . . ‘the cradle of liberty.’ ”
The very universality of the idea of freedom, however, can be misleading. Freedom is not a fi xed, timeless category with a single unchanging defi nition. Rather, the history of the United States is, in part, a story of debates, disagreements, and strug gles over freedom. Crises such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Cold
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x v i P r e f a c e
War have permanently transformed the idea of freedom. So too have demands by vari ous groups of Americans for greater freedom as they understood it.
In choosing the documents for Voices of Freedom, I have attempted to convey the multifaceted history of this compelling and contested idea. The documents refl ect how Americans at dif fer ent points in our history have defi ned freedom as an overarching idea, or have understood some of its many dimensions, including po liti cal, reli- gious, economic, and personal freedom. For each chapter, I have tried to select documents that highlight the specifi c discussions of freedom that occurred during that time period, and some of the divergent interpretations of freedom at each point in our history. I hope that students will gain an appreciation of how the idea of freedom has expanded over time, and how it has been extended into more and more areas of Americans’ lives. But at the same time, the documents suggest how freedom for some Americans has, at vari ous times in our history, rested on lack of freedom— slavery, inden- tured servitude, the subordinate position of women— for others.
The documents that follow refl ect the kinds of historical develop- ments that have shaped and reshaped the idea of freedom, including war, economic change, territorial expansion, social protest move- ments, and international involvement. The se lections try to convey a sense of the rich cast of characters who have contributed to the history of American freedom. They include presidential proclama- tions and letters by runaway slaves, famous court cases and obscure manifestos, ideas dominant in a par tic u lar era and those of radicals and dissenters. They range from advertisements in colonial news- papers seeking the return of runaway indentured servants and slaves to debates in the early twentieth century over the defi nition of economic freedom, the controversy over the proposed Equal Rights Amendment for women, and recent Supreme Court decisions deal- ing with the balance between liberty and security in war time.
I have been particularly attentive to how battles at the bound- aries of freedom— the efforts of racial minorities, women, and
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P r e f a c e x v i i
others to secure greater freedom— have deepened and transformed the concept and extended it into new realms. In addition, in this fi fth edition I have included a number of new documents that illus- trate how the history of the western United States, and more partic- ularly the borderlands area of the Southwest, have affected the evolution of the idea of freedom. These include the Texas Declara- tion of In de pen dence of 1836, a reminiscence about homesteading in the West in the late nineteenth century, a report on the status of Mexican- Americans in the aftermath of World War II, and an explanation of the so- called Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s.
All of the documents in this collection are “primary sources”— that is, they were written or spoken by men and women enmeshed in the events of the past, rather than by later historians. They there- fore offer students the opportunity to encounter ideas about free- dom in the actual words of participants in the drama of American history. Some of the documents are reproduced in their entirety. Most are excerpts from longer interviews, articles, or books. In edit- ing the documents, I have tried to remain faithful to the original purpose of the author, while highlighting the portion of the text that deals directly with one or another aspect of freedom. In most cases, I have reproduced the wording of the original texts exactly. But I have modernized the spelling and punctuation of some early documents to make them more understandable to the modern reader. Each document is preceded by a brief introduction that places it in historical context and is followed by two questions that highlight key ele ments of the argument and may help to focus students’ thinking about the issues raised by the author.
A number of these documents were suggested by students in a U.S. history class at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, taught by Professor David Hsiung. I am very grateful to these stu- dents, who responded enthusiastically to an assignment by Profes- sor Hsiung that asked them to locate documents that might be included in this edition of Voices of Freedom and to justify their choices with historical arguments. Some of the documents are
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included in the online exhibition, “Preserving American Freedom,” created by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Taken together, the documents in these volumes suggest the ways in which American freedom has changed and expanded over time. But they also remind us that American history is not simply a narrative of continual pro gress toward greater and greater freedom. While freedom can be achieved, it may also be reduced or rescinded. It can never be taken for granted.
x v i i i P r e f a c e
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VOICES OF FREEDOM
A Documentary History F i f t h E d i t i o n
V o l u m e 2
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C H A P T E R 1 5
“ W h a t I s F r e e d o m ? ” : R e c o n s t r u c t i o n , 1 8 6 5 – 1 8 7 7
95. Petition of Black Residents of Nashville (1865)
Source: Newspaper clipping enclosed in Col. R. D. Mussey to Capt. C. P. Brown, January 23, 1865, Letters Received, ser. 925, Department of the Cumberland, U.S. Army Continental Commands, National Archives.
At the request of military governor Andrew Johnson, Lincoln exempted Tennessee from the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 (although many slaves in the state gained their freedom by serving in the Union army). In January 1865, a state convention was held to complete the work of abolition. A group of free blacks of Nashville sent a petition to the dele- gates, asking for immediate action to end slavery and granting black men the right to vote (which free blacks had enjoyed in the state until 1835). The document emphasized their loyalty to the Union, their natu- ral right to freedom, and their willingness to take on the responsibilities of citizenship. The document offers a revealing snapshot of black con- sciousness at the dawn of Reconstruction.
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2 V o i c e s o f F r e e d o m
To the Union Convention of Tennessee Assembled in the Capitol at Nashville, January 9th, 1865:
We the undersigned petitioners, American citizens of African descent, natives and residents of Tennessee, and devoted friends of the great National cause, do most respectfully ask a patient hearing of your honorable body in regard to matters deeply affecting the future condition of our unfortunate and long suffering race.
First of all, however, we would say that words are too weak to tell how profoundly grateful we are to the Federal Government for the good work of freedom which it is gradually carry ing forward; and for the Emancipation Proclamation which has set free all the slaves in some of the rebellious States, as well as many of the slaves in Tennessee.
After two hundred years of bondage and suffering a returning sense of justice has awakened the great body of the American peo- ple to make amends for the unprovoked wrongs committed against us for over two hundred years.
Your petitioners would ask you to complete the work begun by the nation at large, and abolish the last vestige of slavery by the express words of your organic law.
Many masters in Tennessee whose slaves have left them, will cer- tainly make every effort to bring them back to bondage after the reor ga ni za tion of the State government, unless slavery be expressly abolished by the Constitution.
We hold that freedom is the natural right of all men, which they themselves have no more right to give or barter away, than they have to sell their honor, their wives, or their children.
We claim to be men belonging to the great human family, descended from one great God, who is the common Father of all, and who bestowed on all races and tribes the priceless right of freedom. Of this right, for no offence of ours, we have long been cruelly deprived, and the common voice of the wise and good of all coun- tries, has remonstrated against our enslavement, as one of the great- est crimes in all history.
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“ W h a t I s F r e e d o m ? ” 3
We claim freedom, as our natural right, and ask that in harmony and co- operation with the nation at large, you should cut up by the roots the system of slavery, which is not only a wrong to us, but the source of all the evil which at present affl icts the State. For slavery, corrupt itself, corrupted nearly all, also, around it, so that it has infl uenced nearly all the slave States to rebel against the Federal Government, in order to set up a government of pirates under which slavery might be perpetrated.
In the contest between the nation and slavery, our unfortunate people have sided, by instinct, with the former. We have little for- tune to devote to the national cause, for a hard fate has hitherto forced us to live in poverty, but we do devote to its success, our hopes, our toils, our whole heart, our sacred honor, and our lives. We will work, pray, live, and, if need be, die for the Union, as cheerfully as ever a white patriot died for his country. The color of our skin does not lesson in the least degree, our love either for God or for the land of our birth.
We are proud to point your honorable body to the fact, that so far as our knowledge extends, not a negro traitor has made his appear- ance since the begining of this wicked rebellion. . . .
Devoted as we are to the principles of justice, of love to all men, and of equal rights on which our Government is based, and which make it the hope of the world. We know the burdens of citizenship, and are ready to bear them. We know the duties of the good citizen, and are ready to perform them cheerfully, and would ask to be put in a position in which we can discharge them more effectually. We do not ask for the privilege of citizenship, wishing to shun the obli- gations imposed by it.
Near 200,000 of our brethren are to- day performing military duty in the ranks of the Union army. Thousands of them have already died in battle, or perished by a cruel martyrdom for the sake of the Union, and we are ready and willing to sacrifi ce more. But what higher order of citizen is there than the soldier? or who has a greater trust confi ded to his hands? If we are called on to do military duty against the
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4 V o i c e s o f F r e e d o m
rebel armies in the fi eld, why should we be denied the privilege of voting against rebel citizens at the ballot- box? The latter is as neces- sary to save the Government as the former. . . .
This is not a Demo cratic Government if a numerous, law- abiding, industrious, and useful class of citizens, born and bred on the soil, are to be treated as aliens and enemies, as an inferior degraded class, who must have no voice in the Government which they support, protect and defend, with all their heart, soul, mind, and body, both in peace and war.
1. Why do the petitioners place so much emphasis on their loyalty to the
Union cause during the war?
2. What understanding of American history and the nation’s future do the
96. Petition of Committee on Behalf of the Freedmen to Andrew Johnson (1865)
Source: Henry Bram et al. to the President of the United States, October 28, 1865, P-27, 1865, Letters Received (series 15), Washington Headquarters, Freedmen’s Bureau Papers, National Archives.
By June 1865, some 40,000 freedpeople had been settled on “Sherman land” in South Carolina and Georgia, in accordance with Special Field Order 15. That summer, however, President Andrew Johnson, who had succeeded Lincoln, ordered nearly all land in federal hands returned to its former own ers. In October, O. O. Howard, head of the Freedmen’s Bureau, traveled to the Sea Islands to inform blacks of the new policy.
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Howard was greeted with disbelief and protest. A committee drew up petitions to Howard and President Johnson. Their petition to the presi- dent pointed out that the government had encouraged them to occupy the land and affi rmed that they were ready to purchase it if given the opportunity. Johnson rejected the former slaves’ plea. And, throughout the South, because no land distribution took place, the vast majority of rural freedpeople remained poor and without property during Reconstruction.
Edisto Island S.C. Oct 28th, 1865.
To the President of these United States. We the freedmen of Edisto Island South Carolina have learned From you through Major General O O Howard commissioner of the Freedmans Bureau. with deep sor- row and Painful hearts of the possibility of government restoring These lands to the former own ers. We are well aware Of the many perplexing and trying questions that burden Your mind, and do there- fore pray to god (the preserver of all and who has through our Late and beloved President (Lincoln) proclamation and the war made Us A free people) that he may guide you in making Your decisions, and give you that wisdom that Cometh from above to settle these great and Impor- tant Questions for the best interests of the country and the Colored race: Here is where secession was born and Nurtured Here is were we have toiled nearly all Our lives as slaves and were treated like dumb Driven cattle, This is our home, we have made These lands what they are. we were the only true and Loyal people that were found in poses- sion of these Lands. we have been always ready to strike for Liberty and humanity yea to fi ght if needs be To preserve this glorious union. Shall not we who Are freedman and have been always true to this Union have the same rights as are enjoyed by Others? Have we broken any Law of these United States? Have we forfi eted our rights of property In Land?— If not then! are not our rights as A free people and good citi- zens of these United States To be considered before the rights of those who were Found in rebellion against this good and just Government
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(and now being conquered) come (as they Seem) with penitent hearts and beg forgiveness For past offences and also ask if their lands Cannot be restored to them are these rebellious Spirits to be reinstated in their possessions And we who have been abused and oppressed For many long years not to be allowed the Privilege of purchasing land But be sub- ject To the will of these large Land own ers? God forbid, Land monop- oly is injurious to the advancement of the course of freedom, and if Government Does not make some provision by which we as Freed- men can obtain A Homestead, we have Not bettered our condition.
We have been encouraged by Government to take Up these lands in small tracts, receiving Certifi cates of the same— we have thus far Taken Sixteen thousand (16000) acres of Land here on This Island. We are ready to pay for this land When Government calls for it. and now after What has been done will the good and just government take from us all this right and make us Subject to the will of those who have cheated and Oppressed us for many years God Forbid!
We the freedmen of this Island and of the State of South Carolina— Do therefore petition to you as the President of these United States, that some provisions be made by which Every colored man can pur- chase land. and Hold it as his own. We wish to have A home if It be but A few acres. without some provision is Made our future is sad to look upon. yess our Situation is dangerous. we therefore look to you In this trying hour as A true friend of the poor and Neglected race. for protection and Equal Rights. with the privilege of purchasing A Homestead— A Homestead right here in the Heart of South Carolina.
We pray that God will direct your heart in Making such provision for us as freedmen which Will tend to united these states together stronger Than ever before— May God bless you in the Administra- tion of your duties as the President Of these United States is the humble prayer Of us all.—
In behalf of the Freedmen Henry Bram Committee Ishmael Moultrie. yates. Sampson
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1. How important is it for the petitioners to obtain land on Edisto Island,
as opposed to elsewhere in the country?
2. What do they think is the relationship between owning land and free-
97. The Mississippi Black Code (1865)
Source: Walter L. Fleming, ed., Documentary History of Reconstruction (Cleveland, 1906– 1907), Vol. 1, pp. 281– 90.
During 1865, Andrew Johnson put into effect his own plan of Reconstruc- tion, establishing procedures whereby new governments, elected by white voters only, would be created in the South. Among the fi rst laws passed by the new governments were the Black Codes, which attempted to regulate the lives of the former slaves. These laws granted the freedpeople certain rights, such as legalized marriage, own ership of property, and limited access to the courts. But they denied them the right to testify in court in cases that only involved whites, serve on juries or in state militias, or to vote. And in response to planters’ demands that the freedpeople be required to work on the plantations, the Black Codes declared that those who failed to sign yearly labor contracts could be arrested and hired out to white landowners. The Black Codes indicated how the white South would regulate black freedom if given a free hand by the federal government. But they so completely violated free labor principles that they discredited Johnson’s Reconstruction policy among northern Republicans.
Sec. 2. . . . All freedmen, free negroes and mulattoes in this State, over the age of eigh teen years, found on the second Monday in January,
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1866, or thereafter, with no lawful employment or business, or found unlawfully assembling themselves together, either in the day or night time, and all white persons so assembling themselves with freedmen, free negroes or mulattoes, or usually associating with freedmen, free negroes or mulattoes, on terms of equality, or living in adultery or fornication with a freed woman, free negro or mulatto, shall be deemed vagrants, and on conviction thereof shall be fi ned in a sum not exceeding, in the case of a freedman, free negro, or mulatto, fi fty dollars, and a white man two hundred dollars, and imprisoned at the discretion of the court, the free negro not exceeding ten days, and the white man not exceeding six months. . . .
Sec. 7. . . . If any freedman, free negro, or mulatto shall fail or refuse to pay any tax levied according to the provisions of the sixth section of this act, it shall be prima facie evidence of vagrancy, and it shall be the duty of the sheriff to arrest such freedman, free negro, or mulatto or such person refusing or neglecting to pay such tax, and proceed at once to hire for the shortest time such delinquent tax- payer to any one who will pay the said tax, with accruing costs, giving preference to the employer, if there be one.
Civil Rights of Freedmen
Sec. 1. . . . That all freedmen, free negroes, and mulattoes may sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, in all the courts of law and equity of this State, and may acquire personal property, and choses in action, by descent or purchase, and may dispose of the same in the same manner and to the same extent that white persons may: Provided, That the provisions of this section shall not be so construed as to allow any freedman, free negro, or mulatto to rent or lease any lands or tene- ments except in incorporated cities or towns. . . .
Sec. 2. . . . All freedmen, free negroes, and mulattoes may inter- marry with each other, in the same manner and under the same regu- lations that are provided by law for white persons: Provided, That the clerk of probate shall keep separate rec ords of the same.
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Sec. 3. . . . All freedmen, free negroes, or mulattoes who do now and have herebefore lived and cohabited together as husband and wife shall be taken and held in law as legally married, and the issue shall be taken and held as legitimate for all purposes; that it shall not be lawful for any freedman, free negro, or mulatto to intermarry with any white person; nor for any white person to intermarry with any freedman, free negro, or mulatto; and any person who shall so intermarry, shall be deemed guilty of felony, and on conviction thereof shall be confi ned in the State penitentiary for life; and those shall be deemed freedmen, free negroes, and mulattoes who are of pure negro blood, and those descended from a negro to the third gen- eration, inclusive, though one ancestor in each generation may have been a white person.
Sec. 4. . . . In addition to cases in which freedmen, free negroes, and mulattoes are now by law competent witnesses, freedmen, free negroes, or mulattoes shall be competent in civil cases, when a party or parties to the suit, either plaintiff or plaintiffs, defendant or defen- dants; also in cases where freedmen, free negroes, and mulattoes is or are either plaintiff or plaintiffs, defendant or defendants, and a white person or white persons, is or are the opposing party or par- ties, plaintiff or plaintiffs, defendant or defendants. They shall also be competent witnesses in all criminal prosecutions where the crime charged is alleged to have been committed by a white person upon or against the person or property of a freedman, free negro, or mulatto: Provided, that in all cases said witnesses shall be examined in open court, on the stand; except, however, they may be examined before the grand jury, and shall in all cases be subject to the rules and tests of the common law as to competency and credibility.
Sec. 5. . . . Every freedman, free negro, and mulatto shall, on the second Monday of January, one thousand eight hundred and sixty- six and annually thereafter, have a lawful home or employment, and shall have written evidence thereof. . . .
Sec. 6. . . . All contracts for labor made with freedmen, free negroes, and mulattoes for a longer period than one month shall be in writing,
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and in duplicate, attested and read to said freedman, free negro, or mulatto by a beat, city or county offi cer, or two disinterested white persons of the county in which the labor is to be performed, of which each party shall have one; and said contracts shall be taken and held as entire contracts, and if the laborer shall quit the ser vice of the employer before the expiration of his term of ser vice, without good cause, he shall forfeit his wages for that year up to the time of quitting.
Sec. 7. . . . Every civil offi cer shall, and every person may, arrest and carry back to his or her legal employer any freedman, free negro, or mulatto who shall have quit the ser vice of his or her employer before the expiration of his or her term of ser vice without good cause. . . . Provided, that said arrested party, after being so returned, may appeal to the justice of the peace or member of the board of police of the county, who, on notice to the alleged employer, shall try summarily whether said appellant is legally employed by the alleged employer, and has good cause to quit said employer; either party shall have the right of appeal to the county court, pending which the alleged deserter shall be remanded to the alleged employer or other- wise disposed of, as shall be right and just; and the decision of the county court shall be fi nal.
Certain Offenses of Freedmen
Sec. 1. . . . That no freedman, free negro or mulatto, not in the mili- tary ser vice of the United States government, and not licensed so to do by the board of police of his or her county, shall keep or carry fi rearms of any kind, or any ammunition, dirk or bowie knife, and on conviction thereof in the county court shall be punished by fi ne, not exceeding ten dollars, and pay the costs of such proceed- ings, and all such arms or ammunition shall be forfeited to the informer. . . .
Sec. 2. . . . Any freedman, free negro, or mulatto committing riots, routs, affrays, trespasses, malicious mischief, cruel treatment to animals, seditious speeches, insulting gestures, language, or acts, or assaults on any person, disturbance of the peace, exercising the func-
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tion of a minister of the Gospel without a license from some regu- larly or ga nized church, vending spirituous or intoxicating liquors, or committing any other misdemeanor, the punishment of which is not specifi cally provided for by law, shall, upon conviction thereof in the county court, be fi ned not less than ten dollars, and not more than one hundred dollars, and may be imprisoned at the discretion of the court, not exceeding thirty days.
Sec. 3. . . . If any white person shall sell, lend, or give to any freed- man, free negro, or mulatto any fi re- arms, dirk or bowie knife, or ammunition, or any spirituous or intoxicating liquors, such person or persons so offending, upon conviction thereof in the county court of his or her county, shall be fi ned not exceeding fi fty dollars, and may be imprisoned, at the discretion of the court, not exceeding thirty days. . . .
Sec. 5. . . . If any freedman, free negro, or mulatto, convicted of any of the misdemeanors provided against in this act, shall fail or refuse for the space of fi ve days, after conviction, to pay the fi ne and costs imposed, such person shall be hired out by the sheriff or other offi – cer, at public outcry, to any white person who will pay said fi ne and all costs, and take said convict for the shortest time.
1. Why do you think the state of Mississippi required all black persons to
sign yearly labor contracts but not white citizens?
2. What basic rights are granted to the former slaves and which are denied
to them by the Black Code?
98. A Sharecropping Contract (1866)
Source: Rec ords of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Tennessee, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, National Archives.
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Despite the widespread desire for land, few former slaves were able to acquire farms of their own in the post– Civil War South. Most ended up as sharecroppers, working on white- owned land for a share of the crop at the end of the growing season. Sharecropping was a kind of compromise between blacks’ desire for in de pen dence from white control and planters’ desire for a disciplined labor force. This contract, representative of thou- sands, originated in Shelby County, Tennessee. The laborers sign with an X, as they are illiterate. Typical of early postwar contracts, it gave the planter the right to supervise the labor of his employees. Later sharecropping con- tracts afforded former slaves greater autonomy. Families would rent parcels of land, work it under their own direction, and divide the crop with the own er at the end of the year. But as the price of cotton fell after the Civil War, workers found it diffi cult to profi t from the sharecropping system.
T h o m a s J . R o s s agrees to employ the Freedmen to plant and raise a crop on his Rosstown Plantation . . . On the following Rules, Regu- lations and Remunerations.
The said Ross agrees to furnish the land to cultivate, and a suffi – cient number of mules & horses and feed them to make and house said crop and all necessary farming utensils to carry on the same and to give unto said Freedmen whose names appear below one half of all the cotton, corn and wheat that is raised on said place for the year 1866 after all the necessary expenses are deducted out that accrues on said crop. Outside of the Freedmen’s labor in harvest- ing, carry ing to market and selling the same and the said Freedmen whose names appear below covenant and agrees to and with said Thomas J. Ross that for and in consideration of one half of the crop before mentioned that they will plant, cultivate, and raise under the management control and Superintendence of said Ross, in good faith, a cotton, corn and oat crop under his management for the year 1866. And we the said Freedmen agrees to furnish ourselves & fami- lies in provisions, clothing, medicine and medical bills and all, and every kind of other expenses that we may incur on said plantation for the year 1866 free of charge to said Ross. Should the said Ross fur-
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nish us any of the above supplies or any other kind of expenses, dur- ing said year, are to settle and pay him out of the net proceeds of our part of the crop the retail price of the county at time of sale or any price we may agree upon. The said Ross shall keep a regular book account, against each and every one or the head of every family to be adjusted and settled at the end of the year.
We furthermore bind ourselves to and with said Ross that we will do good work and labor ten hours a day on an average, winter and summer. The time to run from the time we commence to the time we quit. . . . We further agree that we will lose all lost time, or pay at the rate of one dollar per day, rainy days excepted. In sickness and women lying in childbed are to lose the time and account for it to the other hands out of his or her part of the crop at the same rates that she or they may receive per annum.
We furthermore bind ourselves that we will obey the orders of said Ross in all things in carry ing out and managing said crop for said year and be docked for disobedience. All is responsible for all farming utensils that is on hand or may be placed in care of said Freedmen for the year 1866 to said Ross and are also responsible to said Ross if we carelessly, maliciously maltreat any of his stock for said year to said Ross for damages to be assessed out of our wages for said year.
Samuel (X) Johnson, Thomas (X) Richard, Tinny (X) Fitch, Jessie (X) Simmons, Sophe (X) Pruden, Henry (X) Pruden, Frances (X) Pruden, Elijah (X) Smith
1. How does the contract limit the freedom of the laborers?
2. What kinds of benefi ts and risks for the freedpeople are associated with
a sharecropping arrangement?
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99. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Home Life” (ca. 1875)
Source: “Home Life,” manuscript, ca. 1875, Elizabeth Cady Stanton Papers, Library of Congress.
Women activists saw Reconstruction as the moment for women to claim their own emancipation. With blacks guaranteed equality before the law by the Fourteenth Amendment and black men given the right to vote by the Fifteenth, women demanded that the boundaries of American democ- racy be expanded to include them as well. Other feminists debated how to achieve “liberty for married women.” In 1875, Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted an essay demanding that the idea of equality, which had “revolu- tionized” American politics, be extended into private life. Genuine liberty for women, she insisted, required an overhaul of divorce laws (which gen- erally required evidence of adultery, desertion, or extreme abuse to termi- nate a marriage) and an end to the authority men exercised over their wives.
Women’s demand for the right to vote found few sympathetic male lis- teners. Even fewer supported liberalized divorce laws. But Stanton’s exten- sion of the idea of “liberty for women” into the most intimate areas of private life identifi ed a question that would become a central concern of later generations of feminists.
W e a r e i n the midst of a social revolution, greater than any po liti- cal or religious revolution, that the world has ever seen, because it goes deep down to the very foundations of society. . . . A question of magnitude presses on our consideration, whether man and woman are equal, joint heirs to all the richness and joy of earth and Heaven, or whether they were eternally ordained, one to be sovereign, the other slave. . . . Here is a question with half the human family, and that the stronger half, on one side, who are in possession of the cita- del, hold the key to the trea sury and make the laws and public senti- ment to suit their own purposes. Can all this be made to change base without prolonged discussion, upheavings, heartburnings, violence
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and war? Will man yield what he considers to be his legitimate authority over woman with less struggle than have Popes and Kings their supposed rights over their subjects, or slaveholders over their slaves? No, no. John Stuart Mill says the generality of the male sex cannot yet tolerate the idea of living with an equal at the fi reside; and here is the secret of the opposition to woman’s equality in the state and the church— men are not ready to recognize it in the home. This is the real danger apprehended in giving woman the ballot, for as long as man makes, interprets, and executes the laws for himself, he holds the power under any system. Hence when he expresses the fear that liberty for woman would upset the family relation, he acknowledges that her present condition of subjection is not of her own choosing, and that if she had the power the whole relation would be essentially changed. And this is just what is coming to pass, the kernel of the struggle we witness to day.
This is woman’s transition period from slavery to freedom and all these social upheavings, before which the wisest and bravest stand appalled, are but necessary incidents in her progress to equality. Conservatism cries out we are going to destroy the family. Timid reformers answer, the po liti cal equality of woman will not change it. They are both wrong. It will entirely revolutionize it. When woman is man’s equal the marriage relation cannot stand on the basis it is to day. But this change will not destroy it; as state constitutions and statute laws did not create conjugal and maternal love, they cannot annual them. . . . We shall have the family, that great conservator of national strength and morals, after the present idea of man’s head- ship is repudiated and woman set free. To establish a republican form of government [and] the right of individual judgment in the family must of necessity involve discussion, dissension, division, but the purer, higher, holier marriage will be evolved by the very evils we now see and deplore. This same law of equality that has revolu- tionized the state and the church is now knocking at the door of our homes and sooner or later there too it must do its work. Let us one and all wisely bring ourselves into line with this great law for man
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will gain as much as woman by an equal companionship in the near- est and holiest relations of life. . . . So long as people marry from considerations of policy, from every possible motive but the true one, discord and division must be the result. So long as the State pro- vides no education for youth on the questions and throws no safe- guards around the formation of marriage ties, it is in honor bound to open wide the door of escape. From a woman’s standpoint, I see that marriage as an indissoluble tie is slavery for woman, because law, religion and public sentiment all combine under this idea to hold her true to this relation, what ever it may be and there is no other human slavery that knows such depths of degradations as a wife chained to a man whom she neither loves nor respects, no other slav- ery so disastrous in its consequences on the race, or to individual respect, growth and development. . . .
• • • By the laws of several states in this republic made by Christian
representatives of the people divorces are granted to day for . . . seventeen reasons. . . . By this kind of legislation in the several states we have practically decided two important points: 1st That mar- riage is a dissoluble tie that may be sundered by a decree of the courts. 2nd That it is a civil contract and not a sacrament of the church, and the one involves the other. . . .
A legal contract for a section of land requires that the parties be of age, of sound mind, [and] that there be no fl aw in the title. . . . But a legal marriage in many states in the Union may be contracted between a boy of fourteen and a girl of twelve without the consent of parents or guardians, without publication of banns. . . . Now what person of common sense, or conscience, can endorse laws as wise or prudent that sanction acts such as these. Let the state be logical: if marriage is a civil contract, it should be subject to the laws of all other contracts, carefully made, the parties of age, and all agreements faithfully observed. . . .
Let us now glance at a few of the pop u lar objections to liberal divorce laws. It is said that to make divorce respectable by law, gos- pel and public sentiment is to break up all family relations. Which
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is to say that human affections are the result and not the foundation of the canons of the church and statutes of the state. . . . To open the doors of escape to those who dwell in continual antagonism, to the unhappy wives of drunkards, libertines, knaves, lunatics and tyrants, need not necessarily embitter the relations of those who are contented and happy, but on the contrary the very fact of freedom strengthens and purifi es the bond of union. When husbands and wives do not own each other as property, but are bound together only by affection, marriage will be a life long friendship and not a heavy yoke, from which both may sometimes long for deliverance. The freer the rela- tions are between human beings, the happier. . . .
• • • Home life to the best of us has its shadows and sorrows, and
because of our ignorance this must needs be. . . . The day is breaking. It is something to know that life’s ills are not showered upon us by the Good Father from a kind of Pandora’s box, but are the results of causes that we have the power to control. By a knowledge and obser- vance of law the road to health and happiness opens before [us]: a joy and peace that passeth all understanding shall yet be ours and Para- dise regained on earth. When marriage results from a true union of intellect and spirit and when Mothers and Fathers give to their holy offi ces even that preparation of soul and body that the artist gives to the conception of his poem, statue or landscape, then will marriage, maternity and paternity acquire a new sacredness and dignity and a nobler type of manhood and womanhood will glorify the race!!
1. How does Stanton defi ne the “social revolution” the United States under-
went after the Civil War?
2. How does Stanton believe that individual freedom within the family
can be established?
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100. Frederick Douglass, “The Composite Nation” (1869)
Source: Philip S. Foner and Daniel Rosenberg, eds., Racism, Dissent, and Asian Americans from 1850 to the Present (Westport, Conn., 1993), pp. 217– 30.
Another group that did not share fully in the expansion of rights inspired by the Civil War and Reconstruction was Asian- Americans. Prejudice against Asians was deeply entrenched, especially on the West Coast, where most immigrants from Asia lived. When the Radical Republican Charles Sumner, senator from Massachusetts, moved to allow Asians to become naturalized citizens (a right that had been barred to them since 1790), senators from California and Oregon objected vociferously, and the proposal was defeated.
Another advocate of equal rights for Asian- Americans was Frederick Douglass. In his remarkable “Composite Nation” speech, delivered in Boston in 1869, Douglass condemned anti- Asian discrimination and called for giv- ing them all the rights of other Americans, including the right to vote. Dou- glass’s comprehensive vision of a country made up of people of all races and national origins and enjoying equal rights was too radical for the time, but it would win greater and greater ac cep tance during the twentieth century.
T h e r e w a s a time when even brave men might look fearfully at the destiny of the Republic. When our country was involved in a tan- gled network of contradictions; when vast and irreconcilable social forces fi ercely disputed for ascendancy and control; when a heavy curse rested upon our very soil, defying alike the wisdom and the virtue of the people to remove it; when our professions were loudly mocked by our practice and our name was a reproach and a by word to a mocking earth; when our good ship of state, freighted with the best hopes of the oppressed of all nations, was furiously hurled against the hard and fl inty rocks of derision, and every cord, bolt, beam and bend in her body quivered beneath the shock, there was
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some apology for doubt and despair. But that day has happily passed away. The storm has been weathered, and the portents are nearly all in our favor.
There are clouds, wind, smoke and dust and noise, over head and around, and there will always be; but no genuine thunder, with destructive bolt, menaces from any quarter of the sky.
The real trouble with us was never our system or form of Gov- ernment, or the principles under lying it; but the peculiar composi- tion of our people; the relations existing between them and the compromising spirit which controlled the ruling power of the country.
We have for a long time hesitated to adopt and may yet refuse to adopt, and carry out, the only principle which can solve that dif- fi culty and give peace, strength and security to the Republic, and that is the principle of absolute equality.
We are a country of all extremes, ends and opposites; the most con- spicuous example of composite nationality in the world. Our people defy all the ethnological and logical classifi cations. In races we range all the way from black to white, with intermediate shades which, as in the apocalyptic vision, no man can name a number.
In regard to creeds and faiths, the condition is no better, and no worse. Differences both as to race and to religion are evidently more likely to increase than to diminish.
We stand between the populous shores of two great oceans. Our land is capable of supporting one fi fth of all the globe. Here, labor is abundant and here labor is better remunerated than any where else. All moral, social and geo graph i cal causes, conspire to bring to us the peoples of all other over populated countries.
Eu rope and Africa are already here, and the Indian was here before either. He stands to- day between the two extremes of black and white, too proud to claim fraternity with either, and yet too weak to with stand the power of either. Heretofore the policy of our gov- ernment has been governed by race pride, rather than by wisdom. Until recently, neither the Indian nor the negro has been treated as a
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part of the body politic. No attempt has been made to inspire either with a sentiment of patriotism, but the hearts of both races have been diligently sown with the dangerous seeds of discontent and hatred.
The policy of keeping the Indians to themselves, has kept the tom- ahawk and scalping knife busy upon our borders, and has cost us largely in blood and trea sure. Our treatment of the negro has slacked humanity, and fi lled the country with agitation and ill- feeling and brought the nation to the verge of ruin.
Before the relations of these two races are satisfactorily settled, and in spite of all opposition, a new race is making its appearance within our borders, and claiming attention. It is estimated that not less than one- hundred thousand Chinamen are now within the lim- its of the United States. Several years ago every vessel, large or small, of steam or sail, bound to our Pacifi c coast and hailing from the Flowery kingdom, added to the number and strength of this ele- ment of our population.
Men differ widely as to the magnitude of this potential Chinese immigration. The fact that by the late treaty with China, we bind ourselves to receive immigrants from that country only as the sub- jects of the Emperor, and by the construction, at least, are bound not to naturalize them, and the further fact that Chinamen themselves have a superstitious devotion to their country and an aversion to per- manent location in any other, contracting even to have their bones carried back should they die abroad, and from the fact that many have returned to China, and the still more stubborn that re sis tance to their coming has increased rather than diminished, it is inferred that we shall never have a large Chinese population in America. This however is not my opinion.
It may be admitted that these reasons, and others, may check and moderate the tide of immigration; but it is absurd to think that they will do more than this. Counting their number now, by the thou- sands, the time is not remote when they will count them by the mil- lions. The Emperor’s hold upon the Chinaman may be strong, but the Chinaman’s hold upon himself is stronger.
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Treaties against naturalization, like all other treaties, are limited by circumstances. As to the superstitious attachment of the Chinese to China, that, like all other superstitions, will dissolve in the light and heat of truth and experience. The Chinaman may be a bigot, but it does not follow that he will continue to be one, tomorrow. He is a man, and will be very likely to act like a man. He will not be long in fi nding out that a country which is good enough to live in, is good enough to die in; and that a soil that was good enough to hold his body while alive, will be good enough to hold his bones when he is dead.
Those who doubt a large immigration, should remember that the past furnishes no criterion as a basis of calculation. We live under new and improved conditions of migration, and these conditions are constantly improving. America is no longer an obscure and inac- cessible country. Our ships are in every sea, our commerce in every port, our language is heard all around the globe, steam and lightning have revolutionized the whole domain of human thought, changed all geo graph i cal relations, make a day of the present seem equal to a thousand years of the past, and the continent that Columbus only conjectured four centuries ago is now the center of the world.
• • • I have said that the Chinese will come, and have given some rea-
sons why we may expect them in very large numbers in no very dis- tant future. Do you ask, if I favor such immigration, I answer I would. Would you have them naturalized, and have them invested with all the rights of American citizenship? I would. Would you allow them to vote? I would. Would you allow them to hold offi ce? I would.
But are there not reasons against all this? Is there not such a law or principle as that of self preservation? Does not every race owe something to itself? Should it not attend to the dictates of common sense? Should not a superior race protect itself from contact with inferior ones? Are not the white people the own ers of this conti- nent? Have they not the right to say what kind of people shall be allowed to come here and settle? Is there not such a thing as being more generous than wise? In the effort to promote civilization may
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we not corrupt and destroy what we have? Is it best to take on board more passengers than the ship will carry?
To all this and more I have one among many answers, altogether satisfactory to me, though I cannot promise that it will be so to you.
I submit that this question of Chinese immigration should be set- tled upon higher principles than those of a cold and selfi sh expedi- ency. There are such things in the world as human rights. They rest upon no conventional foundation, but are external, universal, and indestructible. Among these, is the right of locomotion; the right of migration; the right which belongs to no par tic u lar race, but belongs alike to all and to all alike. It is the right you assert by staying here, and your fathers asserted by coming here. It is this great right that I assert for the Chinese and the Japa nese, and for all other varieties of men equally with yourselves, now and forever. I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity, and when there is a sup- posed confl ict between human and national rights, it is safe to go to the side of humanity. I have great respect for the blue eyes and light haired races of America. They are a mighty people. In any struggle for the good things of this world they need have no fear. They have no need to doubt that they will get their full share.
But I reject the arrogant and scornful theory by which they would limit migratory rights, or any other essential human rights to them- selves, and which would make them the own ers of this great conti- nent to the exclusion of all other races of men.
I want a home here not only for the negro, the mulatto and the Latin races; but I want the Asiatic to fi nd a home here in the United States, and feel at home here, both for his sake and for ours. Right wrongs no man. If respect is had to majorities, the fact that only one fi fth of the population of the globe is white, the other four fi fths are colored, ought to have some weight and infl uence in disposing of this and similar questions. It would be a sad refl ection upon the laws of nature and upon the idea of justice, to say nothing of a com- mon Creator, if four- fi fths of mankind were deprived of the rights of migration to make room for the one fi fth. If the white race may
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exclude all other races from this continent, it may rightfully do the same in respect to all other lands, islands, capes and continents, and thus have all the world to itself. Thus what would seem to belong to the whole, would become the property only of a part. So much for what is right, now let us see what is wise.
And here I hold that a liberal and brotherly welcome to all who are likely to come to the United States is the only wise policy which this nation can adopt.
• • • I close these remarks as I began. If our action shall be in accor-
dance with the principles of justice, liberty, and perfect human equality, no eloquence can adequately portray the greatness and grandeur of the future of the Republic.
We shall spread the network of our science and civilization over all who seek their shelter whether from Asia, Africa, or the Isles of the sea. We shall mold them all, each after his kind, into Americans; Indian and Celt, negro and Saxon, Latin and Teuton, Mongolian and Caucasian, Jew and Gentile, all shall here bow to the same law, speak the same language, support the same government, enjoy the same liberty, vibrate with the same national enthusiasm, and seek the same national ends.
1. What does Douglass mean by the term “composite nation”?
2. Why does he believe that people should be allowed to move freely from
one country to another?
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101. Robert B. Elliott on Civil Rights (1874)
Source: Civil Rights. Speech of Hon. Robert B. Elliott, of South Carolina, in the House of Representatives, January 6, 1874 (Washington, D.C., 1874), pp. 1– 8.
One of the South’s most prominent black politicians during Reconstruc- tion, Robert B. Elliott appears to have been born in En gland and arrived in Boston shortly before the Civil War. He came to South Carolina in 1867, where he established a law offi ce and was elected as a delegate to the state’s constitutional convention of 1868. During the 1870s, he served in the legis- lature and was twice elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In January 1874, Elliott delivered a celebrated speech in Congress in support of the bill that became the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The mea sure outlawed racial discrimination in transportation and places of public accommodation like theaters and hotels. Thanks to the Civil War and Reconstruction, Elliott proclaimed, “equality before the law” regardless of race had been written into the laws and Constitution and had become an essential element of American freedom. Reconstruction, he announced, had “settled forever the po liti cal status of my race.”
Elliott proved to be wrong. By the turn of the century, many of the rights blacks had gained after the Civil War had been taken away. It would be left to future generations to breathe new life into Elliott’s dream of “equal, impartial, and universal liberty.”
S i r , i t i s scarcely twelve years since that gentleman [Alexander H. Stephens] shocked the civilized world by announcing the birth of a government which rested on human slavery as its corner- stone. The progress of events has swept away that pseudo- government which rested on greed, pride, and tyranny; and the race whom he then ruthlessly spurned and trampled on are here to meet him in debate, and to demand that the rights which are enjoyed by their former oppressors— who vainly sought to overthrow a Govern- ment which they could not prostitute to the base uses of slavery—
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shall be accorded to those who even in the darkness of slavery kept their allegiance true to freedom and the Union. Sir, the gentleman from Georgia has learned much since 1861; but he is still a laggard. Let him put away entirely the false and fatal theories which have so greatly marred an otherwise enviable record. Let him accept, in its fullness and benefi cence, the great doctrine that American citizen- ship carries with it every civil and po liti cal right which manhood can confer. Let him lend his infl uence, with all his masterly ability, to complete the proud structure of legislation which makes this nation worthy of the great declaration which heralded its birth, and he will have done that which will most nearly redeem his reputa- tion in the eyes of the world, and best vindicate the wisdom of that policy which has permitted him to regain his seat upon this fl oor. . . .
• • • Sir, equality before the law is now the broad, universal, glorious
rule and mandate of the Republic. No State can violate that. Ken- tucky and Georgia may crowd their statute- books with retrograde and barbarous legislation; they may rejoice in the odious eminence of their consistent hostility to all the great steps of human progress which have marked our national history since slavery tore down the stars and stripes on Fort Sumter; but, if Congress shall do its duty, if Congress shall enforce the great guarantees which the Supreme Court has declared to be the one pervading purpose of all the recent amendments, then their unwise and unenlightened conduct will fall with the same weight upon the gentlemen from those States who now lend their infl uence to defeat this bill, as upon the poorest slave who once had no rights which the honorable gentlemen were bound to respect. . . .
No language could convey a more complete assertion of the power of Congress over the subject embraced in the present bill than is expressed [in the Fourteenth Amendment]. If the States do not con- form to the requirements of this clause, if they continue to deny to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, or as the Supreme Court had said, “deny equal justice in its
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courts,” then Congress is here said to have power to enforce the con- stitutional guarantee by appropriate legislation. That is the power which this bill now seeks to put in exercise. It proposes to enforce the constitutional guarantee against in e qual ity and discrimination by appropriate legislation. It does not seek to confer new rights, nor to place rights conferred by State citizenship under the protection of the United States, but simply to prevent and forbid in e qual ity and discrimination on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Never was there a bill more completely within the consti- tutional power of Congress. Never was there a bill which appealed for support more strongly to that sense of justice and fair- play which has been said, and in the main with justice, to be a characteristic of the Anglo- Saxon race. The Constitution warrants it; the Supreme Court sanctions it; justice demands it.
Sir, I have replied to the extent of my ability to the arguments which have been presented by the opponents of this mea sure. I have replied also to some of the legal propositions advanced by gentlemen on the other side; and now that I am about to conclude, I am deeply sensible of the imperfect manner in which I have performed the task. Technically, this bill is to decide upon the civil status of the colored American citizen; a point disputed at the very formation of our present Government, when by a short- sighted policy, a policy repugnant to true republican government, one negro counted as three- fi fths of a man. The logical result of this mistake of the fram- ers of the Constitution strengthened the cancer of slavery, which fi nally spread its poisonous tentacles over the southern portion of the body- politic. To arrest its growth and save the nation we have passed through the harrowing operation of intestine war, dreaded at all times, resorted to at the last extremity, like the surgeon’s knife, but absolutely necessary to extirpate the disease which threatened with the life of the nation the overthrow of civil and po liti cal lib- erty on this continent. In that dire extremity the members of the race which I have the honor in part to represent— the race which pleads for justice at your hands to- day, forgetful of their inhuman
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and brutalizing servitude at the South, their degradation and ostra- cism at the North— fl ew willingly and gallantly to the support of the national Government. Their sufferings, assistance, privations, and trials in the swamps and in the rice- fi elds, their valor on the land and on the sea, is a part of the ever- glorious record which makes up the history of a nation preserved, and might, should I urge the claim, incline you to respect and guarantee their rights and privileges as citizens of our common Republic. But I remember that valor, devo- tion, and loyalty are not always rewarded according to their just des- erts, and that after the battle some who have borne the brunt of the fray may, through neglect or contempt, be assigned to a subordinate place, while the enemies in war may be preferred to the sufferers.
The results of the war, as seen in reconstruction, have settled for- ever the po liti cal status of my race. The passage of this bill will deter- mine the civil status, not only of the negro, but of any other class of citizens who may feel themselves discriminated against. It will form the cap- stone of that temple of liberty, begun on this continent under discouraging circumstances, carried on in spite of the sneers of mon- archists and the cavils of pretended friends of freedom, until at last it stands in all its beautiful symmetry and proportions, a building the grandest which the world has ever seen, realizing the most sanguine expectations and the highest hopes of those who, in the name of equal, impartial, and universal liberty, laid the foundation stones.
1. How does Elliott defend the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Bill?
2. Why does Elliott refer to the “cornerstone speech” of Alexander H.
Stephens in making his argument?
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102. Jorgen and Otto Jorgensen, Homesteading in Montana (1908)
Source: Jorgen and Otto Jorgensen: “Homesteading in Montana (1908)” from the Smith Collections 178, Montana Historical Society. Reprinted by permission of the Montana Historical Society.
The de cades after the Civil War witnessed a fl ood of mi grants moving beyond the Mississippi River to take up farming. Hundreds of thousands of families acquired land under the Homestead Act, and many others pur- chased it from railroad companies and other private owners. As in earlier westward movements, uprooting one’s family to take up land often located far from settled communities required remarkable courage and fortitude. In later interviews, Jorgen Jorgensen and his son Otto, members of a Danish- American family, recalled the decision to move to Montana in 1906. While popu lar lore celebrated the lone pioneer settler, the Jor- gensens’ experience illustrates the fact that many homesteaders went West as parts of communities, often or ga nized on an ethnic basis.
[ J o r g e n : ] O n e w o u l d think that we would have been satisfi ed to settle down where we were but such was not the case. We had con- stantly longed for fellowship with other Danes in a Danish congrega- tion in a Danish settlement with a Danish school. There was a Danish Church in Waupaca [Wisconsin] but that was a distance of seven
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miles away. Our neighbors were all native Americans. Most of them were uneducated and not too intellectual. They were congenial and friendly enough but we got little satisfaction or enjoyment from fel- lowship with them. The language was a handicap too because Kris- tiane [his wife] had not had as good an opportunity to learn it as I who had mixed with other people more. She could make herself under- stood alright but has since improved a great deal. She reads En glish books quite well but when it comes to writing I have to do it.
In the meantime we had managed to get all the land under culti- vation that I was able to handle without hired help. All we had to do was to plant potatoes in the spring, dig them up in the fall, and haul them to town during the winter which was a little too tame an exis- tence. I have mentioned two reasons why we wanted to move but there was a third. The older girls were growing up, and what if one of them should come home some day with one of these individuals with a foreign background and pres ent him as her sweetheart. This was unthinkable. (Strangely enough after we came to Montana one of the girls actually did come and pres ent an American as her sweet- heart but he was a high class individual. He was a lawyer who later became district judge for Sheridan and other counties.)
When E. F. Madsen’s call came in “Dannevirke” in 1906 to establish a Danish colony in eastern Montana, I immediately said, “That’s where we are going,” and Kristiane immediately agreed. I think people thought we were crazy to abandon what was, as far as people could tell, the comfort and security we had for insecurity and a cold, harsh cli- mate. “You’ll freeze to death out there,” they said and related terrify- ing experiences of people who had succumbed in snowstorms. But it didn’t seem to make much of an impression on us. I was past 50 years of age and if we were to build up another farm it was time to get started.
E. F. Madsen from Clinton, Iowa had been out in Montana on Octo- ber 6, 1906 to fi nd a place for a new Danish colony and had selected the place where it now is located in the northeast corner of Montana about 25 miles from the Canadian line and close to the Dakota
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boundary. Madsen named it “Dagman.” Its full name is “Dronning Dagmar’s Minde” (Queen Dagmar’s Memorial), and is the fi rst such colony in the United States. The land is fertile with smooth rolling prairies. The land was not surveyed but could be claimed by anyone over 21 years of age under Squatter’s right. The 160 acres allowed was later increased to 320 acres. . . .
[Otto:] My fi rst recollection of any talk of moving or living any- where else but where we were, was the folks, setting at the kitchen table one night—it must have been in 1906. Mother was fi dgeting with something or other on the table, listening to Pa read aloud from the weekly Danish publication, Dannevirke, with a bright, faraway look in her eyes; and when he had fi nished, she said: “Skul’ vi?” (should we?) We kids sat around, I for one, with open mouth, sensing something special was in the wind, and when the word Montana was mentioned,— MONTANA!! Montana to me was a magic word! That’s where Falsbuts’ were going to go! And Falsbuts’ boys had thoroughly briefed me on what could be expected there: buffalo, cowboys, and wild horses— Oh boy! Free land, homesteads, Montana and the West! No one has any idea of what those magic words could conjure up in a 10- year- old boy’s mind!
As I have grown older, I have often wondered what prompts the pio- neering spirit in some people and leaves others completely devoid of it. As the folks became serious about the matter, the idea crystallized, as was evidenced by the preparations such as a new cookstove, a swell big kitchen range, new harnesses, etc. It was now “for sure” that the big adventure was about to become a real ity. But it was not until the spring of 1908 that all the diffi culties of such an undertaking were over- come. Selling the farm, auction sale, getting, the cash, etc. We didn’t sell much— every thing was stuffed into the immigrant- car, (spe- cial homeseekers rates) and when I say “stuffed” I mean just that! Cows and calves, chickens, pigs, horses, dogs, (no cats). All house hold goods, all the farming implements, wagons, mower, hayrake, and hayrack. The hayrack was used to double- deck the chickens above the cows.
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I have often wondered what Pa’s reactions were to all this. He never showed anything, outwardly. I remember when we left the farm for the last time, and we were about to get into the wagon. He was button- ing his coat with one hand and with the other, reached down to stroke the big old gray tom- cat, which was to be left behind; and he said, “Kitty, Kitty!” I was dumbfounded, for I had never seen him do a thing like that before. He straightened up and looked around at the good new house and big new red barn; and in his slow, easy- going and delib- erate way, climbed into the wagon. I have often wondered what his innermost thoughts were at that moment. But like so many thousands before him who have pulled up stakes for the unknown future in the West, he left little room for sentiment. In tribute to my father, I think this was his staunchest moment. Of course, the die was cast; the deci- sion had been made some time before, which also took courage— but the fi nal last look at the fruits of 12 to 14 of his best years, brought from him no outward sign of regret. Nor did he, I’m glad to say, ever live to regret it. To turn his back on all this, against the advice of well- meaning neighbors and friends; and at the age of 51 years, take a family of eight children out into the un- tracked prairies fi fty miles from the railroad and “nowhere” with measly small capital, took courage and fortitude, to say the least. That kind of spirit and courage, I’m afraid, is fast becoming a thing of the past in these United States.
1. In what ways do ideas about freedom affect the family’s decision to
move to Montana?
2. Why do you think Otto believes that the pioneer spirit is “a thing of the
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103. Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth (1889)
Source: Andrew Carnegie, “Wealth,” North American Review (June 1889), pp. 653– 64.
One of the richest men in Gilded Age America, the industrialist Andrew Carnegie promoted what he called the Gospel of Wealth, the idea that those who accumulated money had an obligation to use it to promote the advancement of society. He explained his outlook in this article in the North American Review, one of the era’s most prominent magazines. Carne- gie would become famous for practicing what he preached. He helped to fund the creation of public libraries throughout the United States and overseas, and gave money to philanthropies and charities ranging from Carnegie Hall in New York City to the Carnegie Endowment for Interna- tional Peace. But as an employer, he was tyrannical, strongly opposing labor unions and approving the use of violence against his own workers, including in the Homestead strike that took place three years after the publication of this article.
Th e p r o b l e m o f our age is the proper administration of wealth, that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship. The conditions of human life have not only been changed, but revolutionized, within the past few hundred years. In former days there was little difference between the dwelling, dress, food, and environment of the chief and those of his retainers. The Indians are to- day where civilized man then was. When visiting the Sioux, I was led to the wigwam of the chief. It was like the others in external appearance, and even within the dif- ference was trifl ing between it and those of the poorest of his braves. The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us to- day mea sures the change which has come with civilization. This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly benefi cial. It is well, nay, essential, for the prog-
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ress of the race that the houses of some should be homes for all that is highest and best in literature and the arts, and for all the refi ne- ments of civilization, rather than that none should be so. Much better this great irregularity than universal squalor. Without wealth there can be no Mæcenas. The “good old times” were not good old times. Neither master nor servant was as well situated then as to- day. A relapse to old conditions would be disastrous to both— not the least so to him who serves— and would sweep away civilization with it. But whether the change be for good or ill, it is upon us, beyond our power to alter, and, therefore, to be accepted and made the best of. It is a waste of time to criticize the inevitable. . . .
The growing disposition to tax more and more heavily large estates left at death is a cheering indication of the growth of a salutary change in public opinion. The State of Pennsylvania now takes— subject to some exceptions— one tenth of the property left by its citi- zens. The bud get presented in the British Parliament the other day proposes to increase the death duties; and, most signifi cant of all, the new tax is to be a graduated one. Of all forms of taxation this seems the wisest. Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for public ends would work good to the com- munity from which it chiefl y came, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the State, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death the State marks its condemnation of the selfi sh millionaire’s unworthy life.
It is desirable that nations should go much further in this direc- tion. Indeed, it is diffi cult to set bounds to the share of a rich man’s estate which should go at his death to the public through the agency of the State, and by all means such taxes should be graduated, begin- ning at nothing upon moderate sums to dependants, and increasing rapidly as the amounts swell. . . .
In bestowing charity, the main consideration should be to help those who will help themselves; to provide part of the means by which those who desire to improve may do so; to give those who desire to rise the aids by which they may rise; to assist, but rarely or
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never to do all. Neither the individual nor the race is improved by almsgiving. Those worthy of assistance, except in rare cases, seldom require assistance. The really valuable men of the race never do, except in case of accident or sudden change. Every one has, of course, cases of individuals brought to his own knowledge where temporary assistance can do genuine good, and these he will not overlook. But the amount which can be wisely given by the individual for indi- viduals is necessarily limited by his lack of knowledge of the circum- stances connected with each. He is the only true reformer who is as careful and as anxious not to aid the unworthy as he is to aid the worthy, and, perhaps, even more so, for in almsgiving more injury is probably done by rewarding vice than by relieving virtue. . . .
The best means of benefi ting the community is to place within its reach the ladders upon which the aspiring can rise— free librar- ies, parks, and means of recreation, by which men are helped in body and mind; works of art, certain to give plea sure and improve the public taste; and public institutions of various kinds, which will improve the general condition of the people; in this manner return- ing their surplus wealth to the mass of their fellows in the forms best calculated to do them lasting good.
Thus is the problem of rich and poor to be solved. The laws of accumulation will be left free, the laws of distribution free. Indi- vidualism will continue, but the millionaire will be but a trustee for the poor, intrusted for a season with a great part of the increased wealth of the community, but administering it for the community far better than it could or would have done for itself. The best minds will thus have reached a stage in the development of the race in which it is clearly seen that there is no mode of disposing of surplus wealth creditable to thoughtful and earnest men into whose hands it fl ows, save by using it year by year for the general good. This day already dawns. Men may die without incurring the pity of their fel- lows, still sharers in great business enterprises from which their capi- tal cannot be or has not been withdrawn, and which is left chiefl y at death for public uses; yet the day is not far distant when the man
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who dies leaving behind him millions of available wealth, which was free for him to administer during life, will pass away “unwept, unhonored, and unsung,” no matter to what uses he leaves the dross which he cannot take with him. Of such as these the public verdict will then be: “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.”
Such, in my opinion, is the true gospel concerning wealth, obe- dience to which is destined some day to solve the problem of the rich and the poor, and to bring “Peace on earth, among men good will.”
1. Why does Carnegie think it is better to build public institutions than to
give charity to the poor?
2. Why does Carnegie believe that “the man who dies thus rich dies dis-
104. William Graham Sumner on Social Darwinism (ca. 1880)
Source: Albert G. Keller, ed., The Challenge of Facts and Other Essays by William Graham Sumner (New Haven, Conn., 1914), pp. 17– 27. Keller concludes that the essay from which this excerpt is taken was written during the 1880s.
During the Gilded Age, large numbers of businessmen and middle- class Americans adopted the social outlook known as Social Darwinism. Adher- ents of this viewpoint borrowed language from Charles Darwin’s great work On the Origin of Species (1859), which expounded the theory of evolu- tion among plant and animal species, to explain the success and failure of individual human beings and entire social classes. According to Social Darwinists, evolution was as natural a pro cess in human society as in
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nature, and government must not interfere. Especially misguided, in this view, were efforts to uplift those at the bottom of the social order, such as laws regulating conditions of work or public assistance to the poor.
The era’s most infl uential Social Darwinist was Yale professor William Graham Sumner. For Sumner, freedom required frank ac cep tance of in e qual- ity. The growing infl uence of Social Darwinism helped to pop u lar ize a “neg- ative” defi nition of freedom as limited government and an unrestrained free market. It also helped to persuade courts, in the name of “liberty of contract,” to overturn state laws regulating the behavior of corporations.
M a n i s b o r n under the necessity of sustaining the existence he has received by an onerous struggle against nature, both to win what is essential to his life and to ward off what is prejudicial to it. He is born under a burden and a necessity. Nature holds what is essential to him, but she offers nothing gratuitously. He may win for his use what she holds, if he can. Only the most meager and inadequate supply for human needs can be obtained directly from nature. There are trees which may be used for fuel and for dwellings, but labor is required to fi t them for this use. There are ores in the ground, but labor is nec- essary to get out the metals and make tools or weapons. For any real satisfaction, labor is necessary to fi t the products of nature for human use. In this struggle every individual is under the pressure of the necessities for food, clothing, shelter, fuel, and every individ- ual brings with him more or less energy for the confl ict necessary to supply his needs. The relation, therefore, between each man’s needs and each man’s energy, or “individualism,” is the fi rst fact of human life.
It is not without reason, however, that we speak of a “man” as the individual in question, for women (mothers) and children have spe- cial disabilities for the struggle with nature, and these disabilities grow greater and last longer as civilization advances. The perpetua- tion of the race in health and vigor, and its success as a whole in its struggle to expand and develop human life on earth, therefore, require that the head of the family shall, by his energy, be able to
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supply not only his own needs, but those of the organisms which are dependent upon him. The history of the human race shows a great variety of experiments in the relation of the sexes and in the or ga ni za tion of the family. These experiments have been controlled by economic circumstances, but, as man has gained more and more control over economic circumstances, monogamy and the family education of children have been more and more sharply devel- oped. If there is one thing in regard to which the student of history and sociology can affi rm with confi dence that social institutions have made “progress” or grown “better,” it is in this arrangement of marriage and the family. All experience proves that monogamy, pure and strict, is the sex relation which conduces most to the vigor and intelligence of the race, and that the family education of children is the institution by which the race as a whole advances most rapidly, from generation to generation, in the struggle with nature.
• • • The constant tendency of population to outstrip the means of
subsistence is the force which has distributed population over the world, and produced all advance in civilization. To this day the two means of escape for an overpopulated country are emigration and an advance in the arts. The former wins more land for the same people; the latter makes the same land support more persons. If, however, either of these means opens a chance for an increase of population, it is evident that the advantage so won may be speedily exhausted if the increase takes place. The social diffi culty has only undergone a temporary amelioration, and when the conditions of pressure and competition are renewed, misery and poverty reappear. The victims of them are those who have inherited disease and depraved appetites, or have been brought up in vice and ignorance, or have themselves yielded to vice, extravagance, idleness, and imprudence. In the last analysis, therefore, we come back to vice, in its original and heredi- tary forms, as the correlative of misery and poverty.
The condition for the complete and regular action of the force of competition is liberty. Liberty means the security given to each
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man that, if he employs his energies to sustain the struggle on behalf of himself and those he cares for, he shall dispose of the prod- uct exclusively as he chooses. It is impossible to know whence any defi nition or criterion of justice can be derived, if it is not deduced from this view of things; or if it is not the defi nition of justice that each shall enjoy the fruit of his own labor and self- denial, and of injustice that the idle and the industrious, the self- indulgent and the self- denying, shall share equally in the product.
• • • Private property, also, which we have seen to be a feature of
society or ga nized in accordance with the natural conditions of the struggle for existence produces inequalities between men. The struggle for existence is aimed against nature. It is from her niggardly hand that we have to wrest the satisfactions for our needs, but our fellow- men are our competitors for the meager supply. Com- petition, therefore, is a law of nature. Nature is entirely neutral; she submits to him who most energetically and resolutely assails her. She grants her rewards to the fi ttest, therefore, without regard to other considerations of any kind. If, then, there be liberty, men get from her just in proportion to their works, and their having and enjoying are just in proportion to their being and their doing. Such is the system of nature. If we do not like it, and if we try to amend it, there is only one way in which we can do it. We can take from the better and give to the worse. We can defl ect the penalties of those who have done ill and throw them on those who have done better. We can take the rewards from those who have done better and give them to those who have done worse. We shall thus lessen the inequalities. We shall favor the survival of the unfi ttest, and we shall accomplish this by destroying liberty. Let it be under- stood that we cannot go outside of this alternative: liberty, in e- qual ity, survival of the fi ttest; not- liberty, equality, survival of the unfi ttest. The former carries society forward and favors all its best members; the latter carries society downwards and favors all its worst members.
• • •
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What we mean by liberty is civil liberty, or liberty under law; and this means the guarantees of law that a man shall not be interfered with while using his own powers for his own welfare. It is, therefore, a civil and po liti cal status; and that nation has the freest institutions in which the guarantees of peace for the laborer and security for the capitalist are the highest. Liberty, therefore, does not by any means do away with the struggle for existence. We might as well try to do away with the need of eating, for that would, in effect, be the same thing. What civil liberty does is to turn the competition of man with man from violence and brute force into an industrial competition under which men vie with one another for the acquisition of material goods by industry, energy, skill, frugality, prudence, temperance, and other industrial virtues. Under this changed order of things the inequali- ties are not done away with. Nature still grants her rewards of having and enjoying, according to our being and doing, but it is now the man of the highest training and not the man of the heaviest fi st who gains the highest reward. It is impossible that the man with capital and the man without capital should be equal. To affi rm that they are equal would be to say that a man who has no tool can get as much food out of the ground as the man who has a spade or a plough; or that the man who has no weapon can defend himself as well against hostile beasts or hostile men as the man who has a weapon. If that were so, none of us would work any more. We work and deny ourselves to get capital, just because, other things being equal, the man who has it is superior, for attaining all the ends of life, to the man who has it not.
• • •
1. How does Sumner differentiate between the “natural” roles of men and
women in society?
2. How does he explain the existence of poverty and social in e qual ity?
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105. A Second Declaration of In de pen dence (1879)
Source: Philip S. Foner, We the Other People (Urbana, 1976), pp. 117– 19.
Not all Americans adhered to the Social Darwinist defi nition of liberty as frank ac cep tance of social in e qual ity in an unregulated market. During the Gilded Age, the labor movement presented a very different understand- ing of freedom. It offered a wide array of programs, from public employ- ment in hard times to currency reform, anarchism, socialism, and the creation of a vaguely defi ned “cooperative commonwealth.” All these ideas arose from the conviction that social conditions in the 1870s and 1880s needed drastic change. One of the most pop u lar demands was for legisla- tion establishing eight hours as a legal day’s work. In 1879, Ira Steward, a prominent union leader, drafted a revised version of the Declaration of In de pen dence for a Fourth of July labor picnic in Chicago. He insisted that higher wages and greater leisure time would enable workers to develop new desires, thereby increasing demand for goods and benefi ting manu- facturers, laborers, and society at large. Steward’s program illustrates how, in the aftermath of the Civil War, reformers of all kinds increasingly looked to the government to bring about social change. It also reveals a new sense of identifi cation between American workers and their counter- parts overseas.
R e s o l v e d , T h a t t h e practical question for an American Fourth of July is not between freedom and slavery, but between wealth and poverty. For if it is true that laborers ought to have as little as possi- ble of the wealth they produce, South Carolina slaveholders were right and the Massachusetts abolitionists were wrong. Because, when the working classes are denied everything but the barest necessities of life, they have no decent use for liberty. . . .
Slavery is . . . the child of poverty, instead of poverty the child of slavery: and freedom is the child of wealth, instead of wealth the child of freedom. The only road, therefore, to universal freedom is the road that leads to universal wealth.
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Resolved, That while the Fourth of July was heralded a hundred years ago in the name of Liberty, we now herald this day in behalf of the great economic mea sure of Eight Hours, or shorter day’s work for wageworkers everywhere . . . because more leisure, rest and thought will cultivate habits, customs, and expenditures that mean higher wages: and the world’s highest paid laborers now furnish each other with vastly more occupations or days’ work than the lowest paid workers can give to one another. . . . If the worker’s power to buy increases with his power to do, granaries and ware houses will empty their pockets, and farms and factories fi ll up with producers. . . .
And we call to the workers of the whole civilized world, especially those of France, Germany, and Great Britain, to join hands with the laborers of the United States in this mighty movement. . . .
Thus shall eight hours prevail; earnings and days’ work, wealth, and business prosperity increase, fi nancial reverses be made impos- sible, and the whole human race emancipated . . . from the capitalist despotism which is made possible and necessary by the poverty of the most of mankind.
On the . . . issue of eight hours, therefore, or less hours, we join hands with all, regardless of politics, nationality, color, religion, or sex; knowing no friends or foes except as they aid or oppose this long- postponed and world- wide movement.
And for the soundness of our po liti cal economy, as well as the recti- tude of our intentions, we confi dently and gladly appeal to the wiser statesmanship of the civilized world.
1. Why does this declaration appeal to other countries for support?
2. What benefi ts does the declaration claim will come from shortening
the hours of work and increasing wages?
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106. Henry George, Progress and Poverty (1879)
Source: Henry George, Progress and Poverty  (New York, 1884), pp. 489– 96.
Dissatisfaction with social conditions in the Gilded Age extended well beyond aggrieved workers. Alarmed by fear of class warfare and the grow- ing power of concentrated wealth, social thinkers offered numerous plans for change. Among the most infl uential was Henry George, whose Progress and Poverty became one of the era’s great best- sellers. Its extraordinary suc- cess testifi ed to what George called “a wide- spread consciousness . . . that there is something radically wrong in the present social or ga ni za tion.”
George’s book began with a famous statement of “the problem” sug- gested by its title— the expansion of poverty alongside material progress. His solution was the “single tax,” which would replace other taxes with a levy on increases in the value of real estate. The single tax would be so high that it would prevent speculation in both urban and rural land, and land would then become available to aspiring businessmen and urban working men seeking to become farmers. Whether or not they believed in George’s solution, millions of readers responded to his clear explanation of economic relationships and his stirring account of how the “unjust and unequal distribution of wealth” long thought to be confi ned to the Old World had made its appearance in the New.
T h e e v i l s a r i s i n g from the unjust and unequal distribution of wealth, which are becoming more and more apparent as modern civilization goes on, are not incidents of progress, but tendencies which must bring progress to a halt; that they will not cure them- selves, but, on the contrary, must, unless their cause is removed, grow greater and greater, until they sweep us back into barbarism by the road every previous civilization has trod. But it also shows that these evils are not imposed by natural laws; that they spring solely from social mal- adjustments which ignore natural laws, and that in remov- ing their cause we shall be giving an enormous impetus to progress.
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The poverty which in the midst of abundance, pinches and embrutes men, and all the manifold evils which fl ow from it, spring from a denial of justice. In permitting the monopolization of the natu- ral opportunities which nature freely offers to all, we have ignored the fundamental law of justice— for so far as we can see, when we view things upon a large scale, justice seems to be the supreme law of the universe. But by sweeping away this injustice and asserting the rights of all men to natural opportunities, we shall conform ourselves to the law— we shall remove the great cause of unnatural in e qual ity in the distribution of wealth and power; we shall abolish poverty; tame the ruthless passions of greed; dry up the springs of vice and misery; light in dark places the lamp of knowledge; give new vigor to inven- tion and a fresh impulse to discovery; substitute po liti cal strength for po liti cal weakness; and make tyranny and anarchy impossible.
The reform I have proposed accords with all that is po liti cally, socially, or morally desirable. It has the qualities of a true reform, for it will make all other reforms easier. What is it but the carry ing out in letter and spirit of the truth enunciated in the Declaration of Independence— the “self- evident” truth that is the heart and soul of the Declaration—“That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!”
These rights are denied when the equal right to land— on which and by which men alone can live— is denied. Equality of po liti cal rights will not compensate for the denial of the equal right to the bounty of nature. Po liti cal liberty, when the equal right to land is denied, becomes, as population increases and invention goes on, merely the liberty to compete for employment at starvation wages. This is the truth that we have ignored. And so there come beggars in our streets and tramps on our roads; and poverty enslaves men whom we boast are po liti cal sovereigns; and want breeds ignorance that our schools cannot enlighten; and citizens vote as their mas- ters dictate; and the demagogue usurps the part of the statesman; and gold weighs in the scales of justice; and in high places sit those
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who do not pay to civic virtue even the compliment of hypocrisy; and the pillars of the republic that we thought so strong already bend under an increasing strain.
We honor Liberty in name and in form. We set up her statues and sound her praises. But we have not fully trusted her. And with our growth so grow her demands. She will have no half ser vice!
Liberty! it is a word to conjure with, not to vex the ear in empty boastings. For Liberty means Justice, and Justice is the natural law— the law of health and symmetry and strength, of fraternity and co- operation.
They who look upon Liberty as having accomplished her mission when she has abolished hereditary privileges and given men the bal- lot, who think of her as having no further relations to the every- day affairs of life, have not seen her real grandeur— to them the poets who have sung of her must seem rhapsodists, and her martyrs fools! As the sun is the lord of life, as well as of light; as his beams not merely pierce the clouds, but support all growth, supply all motion, and call forth from what would otherwise be a cold and inert mass, all the infi nite diversities of being and beauty, so is liberty to mankind. It is not for an abstraction that men have toiled and died; that in every age the witnesses of Liberty have stood forth, and the martyrs of Liberty have suffered.
We speak of Liberty as one thing, and virtue, wealth, knowledge, invention, national strength and national in de pen dence as other things. But, of all these, Liberty is the source, the mother, the neces- sary condition. She is to virtue what light is to color; to wealth what sunshine is to grain; to knowledge what eyes are to sight. She is the genius of invention, the brawn of national strength, the spirit of national in de pen dence. Where Liberty rises, there virtue grows, wealth increases, knowledge expands, invention multiplies human powers, and in strength and spirit the freer nation rises among her neighbors as Saul amid his brethren— taller and fairer. Where Liberty sinks, there virtue fades, wealth diminishes, knowledge is forgotten, invention ceases, and empires once mighty in arms and arts become a helpless prey to freer barbarians!
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• • • The fi at has gone forth! With steam and electricity, and the new
powers born of progress, forces have entered the world that will either compel us to a higher plane or overwhelm us, as nation after nation, as civilization after civilization, have been overwhelmed before. It is the delusion which precedes destruction that sees in the pop u lar unrest with which the civilized world is feverishly puls- ing, only the passing effect of ephemeral causes. Between demo- cratic ideas and the aristocratic adjustments of society there is an irreconcilable confl ict. Here in the United States, as there in Eu rope, it may be seen arising. We cannot go on permitting men to vote and forcing them to tramp. We cannot go on educating boys and girls in our public schools and then refusing them the right to earn an honest living. We cannot go on prating of the inalienable rights of man and then denying the inalienable right to the bounty of the Creator.
1. Why does George write that Americans have not “fully trusted” Liberty?
2. What does he see as the major threats to American freedom?
107. Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1888)
Source: Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward 2000– 1887 (Boston, 1888), pp. 42– 55, 262– 63.
Even more infl uential than Progress and Poverty was Looking Backward, a novel by Edward Bellamy published in 1888. The book recounts the expe- riences of Julian West, who falls asleep in the late nineteenth century only to awaken in the year 2000, in a world where cooperation has replaced class strife and cutthroat competition. In e qual ity has been banished and
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with it the idea of liberty as a condition to be achieved through individual striving free of governmental restraint. Freedom, Bellamy insisted, was a social condition, resting on interdependence, not autonomy.
From today’s vantage point, Bellamy’s utopia— with citizens required to labor for years in an Industrial Army controlled by a single Great Trust— seems a chilling social blueprint. Yet the book not only inspired the creation of hundreds of Nationalist clubs devoted to bringing into existence the world of 2000 but left a profound mark on a generation of reformers and intellectuals. For Bellamy held out the hope of retaining the material abundance made possible by industrial capitalism while eliminating in e qual ity. In proposing that the state guarantee economic security to all, Bellamy proposed a far- reaching expansion of the idea of freedom.
“ I n g e n e r a l ,” I said, “what impresses me most about the city is the material prosperity on the part of the people which its magnifi cence implies.”
“I would give a great deal for just one glimpse of the Boston of your day,” replied Dr. Leete. “No doubt, as you imply, the cities of that period were rather shabby affairs. If you had the taste to make them splendid, which I would not be so rude as to question, the gen- eral poverty resulting from your extraordinary industrial system would not have given you the means. Moreover, the excessive indi- vidualism which then prevailed was inconsistent with much pub- lic spirit. What little wealth you had seems almost wholly to have been lavished in private luxury. Nowadays, on the contrary, there is no destination of the surplus wealth so pop u lar as the adornment of the city, which all enjoy in equal degree.”
• • • “What solution, if any, have you found for the labor question? It
was the Sphinx’s riddle of the nineteenth century, and when I dropped out the Sphinx was threatening to devour society, because the answer was not forthcoming. It is well worth sleeping a hundred years to learn what the right answer was, if, indeed, you have found it yet.”
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“As no such thing as the labor question is known nowadays,” replied Dr. Leete, “and there is no way in which it could arise, I sup- pose we may claim to have solved it. Society would indeed have fully deserved being devoured if it had failed to answer a riddle so entirely simple. In fact, to speak by the book, it was not necessary for society to solve the riddle at all. It may be said to have solved itself. The solution came as the result of a pro cess of industrial evolution which could not have terminated otherwise. All that society had to do was to recognize and coöperate with that evolution, when its tendency had become unmistakable.”
• • • “The fact that the desperate pop u lar opposition to the consolida-
tion of business in a few powerful hands had no effect to check it proves that there must have been a strong eco nom ical reason for it. The small capitalists, with their innumerable petty concerns, had in fact yielded the fi eld to the great aggregations of capital, because they belonged to a day of small things and were totally incompetent to the demands of an age of steam and telegraphs and the gigantic scale of its enterprises. To restore the former order of things, even if possible, would have involved returning to the day of stage- coaches. Oppressive and intolerable as was the régime of the great consolidations of capital, even its victims, while they cursed it, were forced to admit the prodigious increase of effi ciency which had been imparted to the national industries, the vast economies effected by concentration of management and unity of or ga ni za tion, and to confess that since the new system had taken the place of the old the wealth of the world had increased at a rate before undreamed of. To be sure this vast increase had gone chiefl y to make the rich richer, increasing the gap between them and the poor; but the fact remained that, as a means merely of producing wealth, capital had been proved effi cient in proportion to its consolidation. The restora- tion of the old system with the subdivision of capital, if it were pos- sible, might indeed bring back a greater equality of conditions, with more individual dignity and freedom, but it would be at the price of general poverty and the arrest of material progress.”
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• • • “It would seem to follow, from what you have said, that wives are
in no way dependent on their husbands for maintenance.” “Of course they are not,” replied Dr. Leete, “nor children on their
parents either, that is, for means of support, though of course they are for the offi ces of affection. The child’s labor, when he grows up, will go to increase the common stock, not his parents’, who will be dead, and therefore he is properly nurtured out of the common stock. The account of every person, man, woman, and child, you must under- stand, is always with the nation directly, and never through any inter- mediary, except, of course, that parents, to a certain extent, act for children as their guardians. You see that it is by virtue of the relation of individuals to the nation, of their membership in it, that they are enti- tled to support; and this title is in no way connected with or affected by their relations to other individuals who are fellow members of the nation with them. That any person should be dependent for the means of support upon another would be shocking to the moral sense as well as indefensible on any rational social theory. What would become of personal liberty and dignity under such an arrangement? I am aware that you called yourselves free in the nineteenth century. The mean- ing of the word could not then, however, have been at all what it is at present, or you certainly would not have applied it to a society of which nearly every member was in a position of galling personal dependence upon others as to the very means of life, the poor upon the rich, or employed upon employer, women upon men, children upon parents.”
1. Why does Bellamy’s character Dr. Leete state that the meaning of the
word “free” could not have meant the same thing in the nineteenth cen-
tury as it does in 2000?
2. How does Bellamy suggest that the transition to a society of harmony
and equality will take place?
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108. Walter Rauschenbusch and the Social Gospel (1912)
Source: Walter Rauschenbusch, Christianizing the Social Order (New York, 1912), pp. 41– 44.
The Baptist clergyman Walter Rauschenbusch, who began preaching in New York City in 1886, was a bridge between the Gilded Age and the Pro- gressive era of the early twentieth century. Appalled by the low wages and dire living conditions of his poor parishioners, Rauschenbusch rejected the idea, common among the era’s Protestant preachers, that poverty arose from individual sins like drinking and sabbath breaking. In sermons and, in the early twentieth century, in widely read books, he devel- oped what came to be called the Social Gospel. Rauschenbusch insisted that devout Christians rediscover the “social wealth of the Bible,” and especially Jesus’ concern for the poor. Freedom and spiritual self- development, he argued, required an equalization of wealth and power and unbridled com- petition mocked the Christian ideal of brotherhood.
The Social Gospel movement originated as an effort to reform Protes- tant churches by expanding their appeal in poor urban neighborhoods and making them more attentive to the era’s social ills. Its adherents established missions and relief programs in urban areas that attempted to alleviate poverty, combat child labor, and encourage the construction of better working- class housing.
T h e c h i e f p u r p o s e of the Christian Church in the past has been the salvation of individuals. But the most pressing task of the pres- ent is not individualistic. Our business is to make over an anti- quated and immoral economic system; to get rid of laws, customs, maxims, and philosophies inherited from an evil and despotic past; to create just and brotherly relations between great groups and classes of society; and thus to lay a social foundation on which modern men individually can live and work in a fashion that will not outrage all the better elements in them. Our inherited Christian faith dealt with individuals; our present task deals with society.
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The Christian Church in the past has taught us to do our work with our eyes fi xed on another world and a life to come. But the business before us is concerned with refashioning this present world, mak- ing this earth clean and sweet and habitable. . . .
Twenty- fi ve years ago the social wealth of the Bible was almost undiscovered to most of us. We used to plow it six inches deep for crops and never dreamed that mines of anthracite were hidden down below. Even Jesus talked like an individualist in those days and seemed to repudiate the social interest when we interrogated him. He said his kingdom was not of this world; the things of God had nothing to do with the things of Caesar; the poor we would always have with us; and his ministers must not be judges and dividers when Labor argued with Capital about the division of the inheritance. To- day he has resumed the spiritual leadership of social Christianity, of which he was the found er. It is a new tribute to his mastership that the social message of Jesus was the fi rst great possession which social Christianity rediscovered. . . .
With true Christian instinct men have turned to the Christian law of love as the key to the situation. If we all loved our neighbor, we should “treat him right,” pay him a living wage, give sixteen ounces to the pound, and not charge so much for beef. But this appeal assumes that we are still living in the simple personal relations of the good old times, and that every man can do the right thing when he wants to do it. But suppose a business man would be glad indeed to pay his young women the $12 a week which they need for a decent living, but all his competitors are paying from $7 down to $5. Shall he love himself into bankruptcy? In a time of industrial depression shall he employ men whom he does not need? And if he does, will his fi ve loaves feed the fi ve thousand unemployed that break his heart with their hungry eyes? If a man owns a hundred shares of stock in a great corporation, how can his love infl uence its wage scale with that puny stick? The old advice of love breaks down before the hugeness of modern relations. We might as well try to start a stranded ocean liner with the oar which poled our old dory from the mud banks
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A m e r i c a ’ s G i l d e d A g e , 1 8 7 0 – 1 8 9 0 5 1
many a time. It is indeed love that we want, but it is socialized love. Blessed be the love that holds the cup of water to thirsty lips. We can never do without the plain affection of man to man. But what we most need today is not the love that will break its back drawing water for a growing factory town from a well that was meant to supply a vil- lage, but a love so large and intelligent that it will persuade an igno- rant people to build a system of waterworks up in the hills, and that will get after the thoughtless farmers who contaminate the brooks with typhoid bacilli, and after the lumber concern that is denuding the watershed of its forests. We want a new avatar of love.
1. Why does Rauschenbusch argue that “the salvation of individuals” is
not suffi cient to address social problems?
2. What does he urge Christians to do to alleviate poverty?
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C H A P T E R 1 7
F r e e d o m’s B o u n d a r i e s , a t H o m e a n d A b r o a d , 1 8 9 0 – 1 9 0 0
109. The Populist Platform (1892)
Source: The World Almanac, 1893 (New York, 1893), pp. 83– 85.
Like industrial workers, small farmers in the late nineteenth century faced increasing economic diffi culties. Through the Farmers’ Alliance and the People’s (or Populist) Party, farmers sought to remedy their condition. The era’s greatest po liti cal insurgency, the party’s major base lay in the cotton and wheat belts of the South and West, but it also sought to appeal to industrial workers.
The Populist platform of 1892, adopted at the party’s Omaha conven- tion, remains a classic document of American reform. It spoke of a nation “brought to the verge of moral, po liti cal, and material ruin” by po liti cal corruption and economic in e qual ity. The platform put forth a long list of proposals to restore democracy and economic opportunity, many of which would be adopted during the next half century, including govern- ment control of the currency and a graduated income tax, and asserted that rural and urban workers shared an identity of interest. In addition, Populists called for public own ership of the railroads to guarantee farm- ers inexpensive access to markets for their crops.
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F r e e d o m ’ s B o u n d a r i e s , a t H o m e a n d A b r o a d 5 3
The conditions which surround us best justify our co- operation; we meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, po liti cal, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot- box, the Legis- latures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized; most of the States have been compelled to isolate the voters at the polling places to prevent universal intim- idation and bribery. The newspapers are largely subsidized or muz- zled, public opinion silenced, business prostrated, homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right to or ga nize for self- protection, imported pauperized labor beats down their wages, a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down, and they are rapidly degener- ating into Eu ro pe an conditions. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unpre ce dented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of those, in turn, despise the Republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolifi c womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes— tramps and millionaires.
The national power to create money is appropriated to enrich bondholders; a vast public debt payable in legal tender currency has been funded into gold- bearing bonds, thereby adding millions to the burdens of the people.
Silver, which has been accepted as coin since the dawn of history, has been demonetized to add to the purchasing power of gold by decreasing the value of all forms of property as well as human labor, and the supply of currency is purposely abridged to fatten usurers, bankrupt enterprise, and enslave industry. A vast conspiracy against mankind has been or ga nized on two continents, and it is rapidly tak- ing possession of the world. If not met and overthrown at once it forebodes terrible social convulsions, the destruction of civilization, or the establishment of an absolute despotism.
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5 4 V o i c e s o f F r e e d o m
We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the strug- gles of the two great po liti cal parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been infl icted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling infl uences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them. Neither do they now prom- ise us any substantial reform. They have agreed together to ignore, in the coming campaign, every issue but one. They propose to drown the outcries of a plundered people with the uproar of a sham battle over the tariff, so that capitalists, corporations, national banks, rings, trusts, watered stock, the demonetization of silver and the oppressions of the usurers may all be lost sight of. They propose to sacrifi ce our homes, lives, and children on the altar of mammon; to destroy the multitude in order to secure corruption funds from the millionaires.
Assembled on the anniversary of the birthday of the nation, and fi lled with the spirit of the grand general and chief who established our in de pen dence, we seek to restore the government of the Republic to the hands of “the plain people,” with which class it originated. We assert our purposes to be identical with the purposes of the National Constitution; to form a more perfect union and establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, pro- mote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.
We declare that this Republic can only endure as a free govern- ment while built upon the love of the whole people for each other and for the nation; that it cannot be pinned together by bayonets; that the civil war is over, and that every passion and resentment which grew out of it must die with it, and that we must be in fact, as we are in name, one united brotherhood of free men.
Our country fi nds itself confronted by conditions for which there is no pre ce dent in the history of the world; our annual agricultural productions amount to billions of dollars in value, which must, with in a few weeks or months, be exchanged for billions of dollars’ worth of commodities consumed in their production; the existing
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currency supply is wholly inadequate to make this exchange; the results are falling prices, the formation of combines and rings, the impoverishment of the producing class. We pledge ourselves that if given power we will labor to correct these evils by wise and reason- able legislation, in accordance with the terms of our platform.
We believe that the power of government— in other words, of the people— should be expanded (as in the case of the postal ser vice) as rapidly and as far as the good sense of an intelligent people and the teachings of experience shall justify, to the end that oppression, injustice, and poverty shall eventually cease in the land.
While our sympathies as a party of reform are naturally upon the side of every proposition which will tend to make men intelligent, virtuous, and temperate, we nevertheless regard these questions, important as they are, as secondary to the great issues now pressing for solution, and upon which not only our individual prosperity but the very existence of free institutions depend; and we ask all men to fi rst help us to determine whether we are to have a republic to administer before we differ as to the conditions upon which it is to be administered, believing that the forces of reform this day or ga- nized will never cease to move forward until every wrong is reme- died and equal rights and equal privileges securely established for all the men and women of this country.
We declare, therefore— First.—That the union of the labor forces of the United States this
day consummated shall be permanent and perpetual; may its spirit enter into all hearts for the salvation of the Republic and the uplift- ing of mankind.
Second.—Wealth belongs to him who creates it, and every dollar taken from industry without an equivalent is robbery. “If any will not work, neither shall he eat.” The interests of rural and civic labor are the same; their enemies are identical.
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5 6 V o i c e s o f F r e e d o m
Third.—We believe that the time has come when the railroad corporations will either own the people or the people must own the railroads, and should the government enter upon the work of owning and managing all railroads, we should favor an amendment to the Constitution by which all persons engaged in the government ser- vice shall be placed under a civil- service regulation of the most rigid character, so as to prevent the increase of the power of the national administration by the use of such additional government employees.
Finance.—We demand a national currency, safe, sound, and fl ex- ible, issued by the general government only, a full legal tender for all debts, public and private, and that without the use of banking corpo- rations, a just, equitable, and effi cient means of distribution direct to the people, at a tax not to exceed 2 per cent per annum, to be pro- vided as set forth in the sub- treasury plan of the Farmers’ Alliance, or a better system; also by payments in discharge of its obligations for public improvements.
1. We demand free and unlimited coinage of silver and gold at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1.
2. We demand that the amount of circulating medium be speed- ily increased to not less than $50 per capita.
3. We demand a graduated income tax. 4. We believe that the money of the country should be kept as much
as possible in the hands of the people, and hence we demand that all State and national revenues shall be limited to the necessary expenses of the government, eco nom ical ly and honestly administered.
5. We demand that postal savings banks be established by the government for the safe deposit of the earnings of the people and to facilitate exchange.
Transportation.—Transportation being a means of exchange and a public necessity, the government should own and operate the rail- roads in the interest of the people. The telegraph, telephone, like the post- offi ce system, being a necessity for the transmission of news, should be owned and operated by the government in the interest of the people.
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Land.—The land, including all the natural sources of wealth, is the heritage of the people, and should not be monopolized for spec- ulative purposes, and alien own ership of land should be prohibited. All land now held by railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and all lands now owned by aliens should be reclaimed by the government and held for actual settlers only.
1. How does the Omaha platform identify the main threats to American
2. How did the Populists seek to rethink the relationship between govern-
ment power and freedom?
110. Booker T. Washington, Address at the Atlanta Cotton Exposition (1895)
Source: Booker T. Washington: “Address at the Atlanta Cotton Exposition (1895).” The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 3, 583–587. (Urbana, 1972–89), Louis R. Harlan and Raymond W. Smock, ed. Reprinted by permission of University of Illinois Press.
In 1895, the year of the death of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington delivered a speech at an exposition in Atlanta advocating a new strategy for racial pro gress. Blacks, he declared, should remain in the South, turn away from agitation for civil and po liti cal rights, adjust to segregation, and seek, with white cooperation, to improve their economic condition. He promised white southerners that blacks would work happily if given job opportunities, and avoid the labor strife so pervasive in the North. Washington had already won notoriety as head of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he established a program of “industrial education,” an emphasis, that is, on vocational training rather than broad academic studies.
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5 8 V o i c e s o f F r e e d o m
But the speech established Washington as the nation’s most prominent black leader. It was widely praised by white Americans, North and South, who hoped it marked an end to agitation for equal rights for blacks. Wash- ington also won support from many blacks, especially businessmen, whose own aspirations coincided with his call for racial economic advancement.
O n e – t h i r d o f the population of the South is of the Negro race. No enterprise seeking the material, civil, or moral welfare of this section can disregard this ele ment of our population and reach the highest success. I but convey to you, Mr. President and Directors, the senti- ment of the masses of my race when I say that in no way have the value and manhood of the American Negro been more fi ttingly and generously recognized than by the man ag ers of this magnifi cent Exposition at every stage of its pro gress. It is a recognition that will do more to cement the friendship of the two races than any occurrence since the dawn of our freedom.
Not only this, but the opportunity here afforded will awaken among us a new era of industrial pro gress. Ignorant and inexperi- enced, it is not strange that in the fi rst years of our new life we began at the top instead of at the bottom; that a seat in Congress or the state legislature was more sought than real estate or industrial skill; that the po liti cal convention or stump speaking had more attractions than starting a dairy farm or truck garden.
A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly ves- sel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, “ Water, water; we die of thirst!” The answer from the friendly ves- sel at once came back, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” . . . The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who under- estimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next- door neighbor, I would say:
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“Cast down your bucket where you are”— cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.
Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domes- tic ser vice, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that what ever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasiz- ing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glo- rify common labour, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superfi cial and the substantial, the orna- mental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a fi eld as in writing a poem. . . . Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.
To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the prosperity of the South, were I permitted I would repeat what I say to my own race, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know, whose fi delity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your fi resides. Cast down your bucket among these people who have, without strikes and labour wars, tilled your fi elds, cleared your forests, builded your railroads and cities, and brought forth trea sures from the bowels of the earth, and helped make pos si ble this magnifi cent repre sen ta tion of the pro gress of the South. Casting down your bucket among my people, helping and encouraging them as you are doing on these grounds, and to education of head, hand, and heart, you will fi nd that they will buy
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6 0 V o i c e s o f F r e e d o m
your surplus land, make blossom the waste places in your fi elds, and run your factories. While doing this, you can be sure in the future, as in the past, that you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law- abiding, and unresentful people that the world has seen. As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past, in nursing your children, watching by the sick- bed of your mothers and fathers, and often following them with tear- dimmed eyes to their graves, so in the future, in our humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down our lives, if need be, in defense of yours, interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one. In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fi n gers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual pro gress. . . .
The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of ques- tions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that pro gress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant strug gle rather than of artifi cial forc- ing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is impor tant and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more impor tant that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infi nitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera- house.
1. What mistakes does Washington think blacks made in the aftermath of
2. What is the meaning of Washington’s meta phor about the hand?
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111. W. E. B. Du Bois, A Critique of Booker T. Washington (1903)
Source: W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., 1903), pp. 41–59.
The most power ful critique of Washington’s program came from the pen of the black educator and activist W. E. B. Du Bois. Du Bois’s life spanned the modern history of the civil rights movement—he was born during Reconstruction and died on the eve of the March on Washington of 1963. The unifying theme of his career was Du Bois’s effort to reconcile the con- tradiction between “American freedom for whites and the continuing sub- jugation of Negroes.”
In The Souls of Black Folk, a collection of essays on African- American his- tory and the current state of American race relations, Du Bois sought to revive the tradition of agitation for basic civil, po liti cal, and educational rights. To do so, he launched a scathing attack on Washington’s policies. Du Bois would go on to help found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and, as the editor of its monthly publica- tion, The Crisis, would continue to issue calls for full black participation in American public life, as well as link the black strug gle in this country with the movement for in de pen dence for Eu rope’s African colonies.
Easily the most striking thing in the history of the American Negro since 1876 is the ascendancy of Mr. Booker T. Washington. It began at the time when war memories and ideals were rapidly passing; a day of astonishing commercial development was dawning; a sense of doubt and hesitation overtook the freedmen’s sons,— then it was that his leading began. Mr. Washington came, with a simple defi nite programe, at the psychological moment when the nation was a little ashamed of having bestowed so much sentiment on Negroes, and was concentrating its energies on Dollars. His programe of industrial education, conciliation of the South, and submission and silence as to civil and po liti cal rights, was not wholly original; the
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6 2 V o i c e s o f F r e e d o m
Free Negroes from 1830 up to war- time had striven to build indus- trial schools, and the American Missionary Association had from the fi rst taught vari ous trades; and Price and others had sought a way of honorable alliance with the best of the Southerners. But Mr. Wash- ington fi rst indissolubly linked these things; he put enthusiasm, unlimited energy, and perfect faith into his programe, and changed it from a by- path into a veritable Way of Life. And the tale of the methods by which he did this is a fascinating study of human life.
It startled the nation to hear a Negro advocating such a pro- grame after many de cades of bitter complaint; it startled and won the applause of the South, it interested and won the admiration of the North; and after a confused murmur of protest, it silenced if it did not convert the Negroes themselves.
To gain the sympathy and cooperation of the vari ous ele ments comprising the white South was Mr. Washington’s fi rst task; and this, at the time Tuskegee was founded, seemed, for a black man, well- nigh impossible. And yet ten years later it was done in the word spo- ken at Atlanta: “In all things purely social we can be as separate as the fi ve fi n gers, and yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual pro gress.” This “Atlanta Compromise” is by all odds the most notable thing in Mr. Washington’s career. The South interpreted it in dif- fer ent ways: the radicals received it as a complete surrender of the demand for civil and po liti cal equality; the conservatives, as a gener- ously conceived working basis for mutual understanding. So both approved it, and to- day its author is certainly the most distinguished Southerner since Jefferson Davis, and the one with the largest per- sonal following. . . .
The time is come when one may speak in all sincerity and utter courtesy of the mistakes and shortcomings of Mr. Washington’s career, as well as of his triumphs. . . .
This is an age of unusual economic development, and Mr. Wash- ington’s programe naturally takes an economic cast, becoming a gospel of Work and Money to such an extent as apparently almost completely to overshadow the higher aims of life. . . . The reaction
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from the sentiment of war time has given impetus to race prejudice against Negroes, and Mr. Washington withdraws many of the high demands of Negroes as men and American citizens. In other periods of intensifi ed prejudice all the Negro’s tendency to self- assertion has been called forth; at this period a policy of submission is advocated. In the history of nearly all other races and peoples the doctrine preached at such crises has been that manly self- res pect is worth more than lands and houses, and that a people who voluntarily sur- render such res pect, or cease striving for it, are not worth civilizing.
Mr. Washington distinctly asks that black people give up, at least for the pres ent, three things,— First, po liti cal power, Second, insis- tence on civil rights, Third, higher education of Negro youth,— and concentrate all their energies on industrial education, the accumula- tion of wealth, and the conciliation of the South. This policy has been courageously and insistently advocated for over fi fteen years, and has been triumphant for perhaps ten years. As a result of this tender of the palm- branch, what has been the return? In these years there have occurred:
1. The disfranchisement of the Negro. 2. The legal creation of a distinct status of civil inferiority for the Negro. 3. The steady with- drawal of aid from institutions for the higher training of the Negro.
These movements are not, to be sure, direct results of Mr. Washing- ton’s teachings; but his propaganda has, without a shadow of doubt, helped their speedier accomplishment. The question then comes: Is it pos si ble, and probable, that nine millions of men can make effective pro gress in economic lines if they are deprived of po liti cal rights, made a servile caste, and allowed only the most meager chance for developing their exceptional men? If history and reason give any dis- tinct answer to these questions, it is an emphatic No. . . . [Blacks are] bound to ask of this nation three things. 1. The right to vote. 2 Civic equality. 3 The education of youth according to ability. . . . Negroes must insist continually, in season and out of season, that voting is necessary to modern manhood, that color discrimination is barba- rism, and that black boys need education as well as white boys. . . . By
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6 4 V o i c e s o f F r e e d o m
every civilized and peaceful method we must strive for the rights which the world accords to men, clinging unwaveringly to those great words which the sons of the Fathers would fain forget: “We hold these truths to be self- evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
1. Why does Du Bois think that Washington’s outlook refl ects major ele-
ments of social thought in the 1890s?
2. How do the two men differ in their understanding of what is required
for blacks to enjoy genuine freedom?
112. Ida B. Wells, Crusade for Justice (ca. 1892)
Source: Ida B. Wells: “The Crusade for Justice” from The Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells, ed. Alfreda M. Duster, pp. 47– 52, 64– 71, 78– 81. Copyright © The University of Chicago Press. Reprinted by permission of The University of Chicago Press.
Racial segregation was only one part of a comprehensive system of racial in e qual ity that was fi rmly put into place during the 1890s. Blacks who sought to challenge the system or who refused to accept the demeaning treatment that was a daily feature of southern life faced not only over- whelming po liti cal and legal power but also the threat of violent reprisal. In every year between 1883 and 1905, more than fi fty people, the vast majority of them black men, were lynched in the South— that is, mur- dered by a mob. Lynching continued well into the twentieth century.
Many victims of lynchings were accused after their deaths of having raped a white woman. Many white southerners considered preserving the purity of white womanhood a justifi cation for extralegal vengeance. Yet, in nearly all cases, as Ida B. Wells argued in a newspaper editorial after a
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Memphis lynching in 1892, the charge of rape was a “bare lie.” Born a slave in Mississippi in 1862, Wells had become a schoolteacher and editor. Her essay condemning the lynching of three black men in Memphis led a mob to destroy her newspaper, the Memphis Free Press, while she was out of the city. Wells remained in the North, where she became the nation’s leading antilynching crusader. In her autobiography, which remained unpub- lished until 1970, Wells described the Memphis lynching and the begin- nings of the antilynching movement.
W h i l e I w a s thus carry ing on the work of my newspaper, . . . there came the lynching in Memphis which changed the whole course of my life. . . .
Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Stewart owned and operated a grocery store in a thickly populated suburb. . . . There was already a grocery owned and operated by a white man who hitherto had had a monopoly on the trade of this thickly populated colored suburb. Thomas’s grocery changed all that, and he and his associ- ates were made to feel that they were not welcome by the white grocer. . . .
One day some colored and white boys quarreled over a game of marbles and the colored boys got the better of the fi ght which fol- lowed. . . . Then the challenge was issued that the vanquished whites were coming on Saturday night to clean out [Thomas’s] Colored Peo- ple’s Grocery Company. . . . Accordingly the grocery company armed several men and stationed them in the rear of the store on that fatal Saturday night, not to attack but repel a threatened attack. . . . The men stationed there had seen several white men stealing through the rear door and fi red on them without a moment’s pause. Three of these men were wounded, and others fl ed and gave the alarm. . . . Over a hundred colored men were dragged from their homes and put in jail on suspicion.
All day long on that fateful Sunday white men were permitted in the jail to look over the imprisoned black men. . . . The mob took
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out of their cells Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Stewart, the three offi cials of the People’s Grocery Company. They were loaded on a switch engine of the railroad which ran back of the jail, carried a mile north of the city limits, and horribly shot to death. One of the morning papers held back its edition in order to supply its readers with the details of that lynching. . . . The mob took possession of the People’s Grocery Company, helping them- selves to food and drink, and destroyed what they could not eat or steal. The creditors had the place closed and a few days later what remained of the stock was sold at auction. Thus, with the aid of city and county authorities and the daily papers, that white grocer had indeed put an end to his rival Negro grocer as well as to his business. . . .
Like many another person who had read of lynchings in the South, I had accepted the idea meant to be conveyed— that although lynch- ing was irregular and contrary to law and order, unreasoning anger over the terrible crime of rape led to the lynching; that perhaps the brute deserved death anyhow and the mob was justifi ed in taking his life.
But Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell and Henry Stewart had been lynched in Memphis, one of the leading cities of the South, in which no lynching had taken place before, with just as much brutality as other victims of the mob; and they had committed no crime against white women. This is what opened my eyes to what lynching really was. An excuse to get rid of Negroes who were acquiring wealth and property and thus keep the race terrorized and “keep the nigger down.” I then began an investigation of every lynching I read about. I stumbled on the amazing record that every case of rape reported . . . became such only when it became public.
Many cases were like that of the lynching which happened in Tunica County, Mississippi. The Associated Press reporter said, “The big burly brute was lynched because he had raped the seven- year- old daughter of the sheriff.” I visited the place afterward and saw the girl, who was a grown woman more than seventeen years old. She
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had been found in the lynched Negro’s cabin by her father, who had led the mob against him in order to save his daughter’s reputation. That Negro was a helper on the farm. . . .
It was with these and other stories in mind in that last week in May 1892 that I wrote the following editorial:
Eight Negroes lynched since last issue of the Free Speech. They were charged with killing white men and fi ve with raping white women. Nobody in this section believes the old thread- bare lie that Negro men assault white women. If Southern white men are not careful they will overreach themselves and a conclusion will be drawn which will be very damaging to the moral reputation of their women.
This editorial furnished at last the excuse for doing what the white leaders of Memphis had long been wanting to do: put an end to the Free Speech. . . .
Having lost my paper, had a price put on my life, and been made an exile from home for hinting at the truth, I felt that I owed it to myself and to my race to tell the whole truth now that I was where I could do so freely. Accordingly, the fourth week in June, the New York Age had a seven- column article on the front page giving names, dates and places of many lynchings for alleged rape. This article showed conclusively that my editorial in the Free Speech was based on facts of illicit association between black men and white women.
Such relationships between white men and colored women were notorious, and had been as long as the two races had lived together in the South. . . .
• • • The more I studied the situation, the more I was convinced that
the Southerner had never gotten over his resentment that the Negro was no longer his plaything, his servant, and his source of income. The federal laws for Negro protection passed during Reconstruc- tion had been made a mockery by the white South where it had not secured their repeal. This same white South had secured po liti cal control of its several states, and as soon as white southerners came
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into power they began to make playthings of Negro lives and prop- erty. This still seemed not enough “to keep the nigger down.”
Here came lynch law to stifl e Negro manhood which defended itself, and the burning alive of Negroes who were weak enough to accept favors from white women. The many unspeakable and unprintable tortures to which Negro rapists (?) of white women were subjected were for the purpose of striking terror into the hearts of other Negroes who might be thinking of consorting with willing white women.
I found that in order to justify these horrible atrocities to the world, the Negro was branded as a race of rapists, who were espe- cially after white women. I found that white men who had created a race of mulattoes by raping and consorting with Negro women were still doing so wherever they could; these same white men lynched, burned and tortured Negro men for doing the same thing with white women; even when the white women were willing victims.
That the entire race should be branded as moral monsters and despoilers of white womanhood and childhood was bound to rob us of all the friends we had and silence any protests that they might make for us. For all these reasons it seemed a stern duty to give the facts I had collected to the world. . . .
About two months after my appearance in the columns in the New York Age, two colored women remarked on my revelations dur- ing a visit with each other and said they thought that the women of New York and Brooklyn should do something to show appreciation of my work and to protest the treatment which I had received. . . . A committee of two hundred and fi fty women was appointed, and they stirred up sentiment throughout the two cities which culminated in a testimonial at Lyric Hall on 5 October 1892.
This testimonial was conceded by the oldest inhabitants to be the greatest demonstration ever attempted by race women for one of their number. . . . The leading colored women of Boston and Philadelphia had been invited to join in this demonstration, and they came, a bril- liant array . . . behind a lonely, homesick girl who was an exile because she had tried to defend the manhood of her race. . . .
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So many things came out of that wonderful testimonial. First it was the beginning of the club movement among the col-
ored women in this country. The women of New York and Brooklyn decided to continue that or ga ni za tion, which they called the Wom- en’s Loyal Union. These were the fi rst strictly women’s clubs or ga- nized in those cities. Mrs. Ruffi n of Boston, who came over to that testimonial . . . called a meeting of the women at her home to meet me, and they or ga nized themselves into the Woman’s Era Club of that city. Mrs. Ruffi n had been a member of the foremost clubs among white women in Boston for years, but this was her fi rst effort to form one among colored women. . . .
Second, that testimonial was the beginning of public speaking for me. I have already said that I had not before made speeches, but invitations came from Philadelphia, Wilmington, Delaware, Ches- ter, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. . . .
In Philadelphia . . . Miss Catherine Impey of Street Somerset, En gland, was visiting Quaker relatives of hers in the city and at the same time was trying to learn what she could about the color ques- tion in this country. She was the editor of Anti- Caste, a magazine published in En gland in behalf of the natives of India, and she was therefore interested in the treatment of darker races everywhere. . . . The third great result of that wonderful testimonial in New York the previous month [followed]. . . . The interview between Miss Impey and myself resulted in an invitation to En gland and the beginning of the worldwide campaign against lynching.
1. What social conditions gave rise to the Memphis lynching?
2. What does Wells see as the contributions of the antilynching move-
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113. Frances E. Willard, Women and Temperance (1883)
Source: Frances E. Willard, Women and Temperance (Hartford, Conn., 1883), pp. 43– 46.
Founded in 1874, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) grew to become the era’s largest female or ga ni za tion, with a membership of 150,000 by 1890. Under the banner of Home Protection, it moved from demanding the prohibition of alcoholic beverages (blamed for leading men to squander their wages on drink and treat their wives abusively) to a comprehensive program of economic and po liti cal reform including the right to vote. Women, insisted Frances Willard, the group’s president, must abandon the idea that “weakness” and dependence were their nature and join assertively in movements to change society.
T o h e l p f o r w a r d the coming of Christ into all departments of life, is, in its last analysis, the purpose and aim of the W. C. T. U. For we believe this correlation of New Testament religion with philan- thropy, and of the church with civilization, is the perpetual miracle which furnishes the only suffi cient antidote to current skepticism. Higher toward the zenith climbs the Sun of Righ teousness, making circle after circle of human endeavor and achievement warm and radiant with the healing of its beams. First of all, in our gospel tem- perance work, this heavenly light penetrated the gloom of the indi- vidual, tempted heart (that smallest circle, in which all others are involved), illumined its darkness, melted its hardness, made it a sweet and sunny place— a temple fi lled with the Holy Ghost.
Having thus come to the heart of the drinking man in the pleni- tude of his redeeming power, Christ entered the next wider circle, in which two human hearts unite to form a home, and here, by the revelation of her place in His kingdom, He lifted to an equal level with her husband the gentle companion who had supposed herself happy in being the favorite vassal of her liege lord. “There is neither
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male nor female in Christ Jesus;” this was the “open sesame,” a dec- laration utterly opposed to all custom and tradition, but so steadily the light has shone, and so kindly has it made the heart of man, that without strife of tongues, or edict of sovereigns, it is coming now to pass that in proportion as any home is really Christian, the husband and the wife are peers in dignity and power. There are no homes on earth where woman is “revered, beloved,” and individualized in character and work, so thoroughly as the fi fty thousand in America where “her children arise up and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praiseth her” because of her part in the work of our W. C. T. U.
• • • But the modern temperance movement, born of Christ’s gospel
and cradled at His altars, is rapidly fi lling one more circle of infl u- ence, wide as the widest zone of earthly weal or woe, and that is gov- ernment. “The government shall be upon His shoulder.” “Unto us a King is given.” “He shall reign whose right it is.” “He shall not fail, nor be discouraged until he hath set judgment in the earth.” “For at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” “Thy kingdon come, thy will be done on earth.” Christ shall reign— not visibly, but invisibly; not in form, but in fact; not in substance, but in essence, and the day draws nigh! Then surely the traffi c in intoxicating liquors as a drink will no longer be protected by the statute book, the law- yer’s plea, the affi rmation of the witness, and decision of the judge. And since the government is, after all, a circle that include all hearts, all homes, all churches, all societies, does it not seem as if intelligent loyalty to Christ the King would cause each heart that loves Him to feel in duty bound to use all the power it could gather to itself in helping choose the framers of these more righ teous laws? But let it be remembered that for every Christian man who has a voice in making and enforcing laws there are at least two Christian women who have no voice at all. Hence, under such circumstances as now exist, His militant army must ever be powerless to win those legis- lative battles which, more than any others, affect the happiness of aggregate humanity. But the light gleams already along the sunny
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hilltops of the nineteenth century of grace. Upon those who in larg- est numbers love Him who has fi lled their hearts with peace and their homes with blessing, slowly dawns the consciousness that they may— nay, better still, they ought to— ask for power to help for- ward the coming of their Lord in government— to throw the safe- guard of their prohibition ballots around those who have left the shelter of their arms only to be entrapped by the saloons that bad men legalize and set along the streets.