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View Diary: The American System (205 comments)

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  •  People like to quote Jefferson like they like to (5+ / 0-)

    quote the bible, selectively and out of context.  

    •  All (white) men are created equal... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein

      As for black men:

      The first difference which strikes us is that of colour. Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin and scarf-skin, or in the scarf-skin itself; whether it proceeds from the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as if its seat and cause were better known to us. And is this difference of no importance? Is it not the foundation of a greater or less share of beauty in the two races?

      Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of colour in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony, which reigns in the countenances, that immoveable veil of black which covers all the emotions of the other race? Add to these, flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their own judgment in favour of the whites, declared by their preference of them, as uniformly as is the preference of the Oranootan for the black women over those of his own species. The circumstance of superior beauty, is thought worthy attention in the propagation of our horses, dogs, and other domestic animals; why not in that of man?

      Besides those of colour, figure, and hair, there are other physical distinctions proving a difference of race. They have less hair on the face and body. They secrete less by the kidnies, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odour. This greater degree of transpiration renders them more tolerant of heat, and less so of cold, than the whites.

      Perhaps too a difference of structure in the pulmonary apparatus, which a late ingenious 30 experimentalist has discovered to be the principal regulator of animal heat, may have disabled them from extricating, in the act of inspiration, so much of that fluid from the outer air, or obliged them in expiration, to part with more of it. They seem to require less sleep. A black, after hard labour through the day, will be induced by the slightest amusements to sit up till midnight, or later, though knowing he must be out with the first dawn of the morning.

      They are at least as brave, and more adventuresome. But this may perhaps proceed from a want of forethought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be present. When present, they do not go through it with more coolness or steadiness than the whites. They are more ardent after their female: but love seems with them to be more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation.

      Their griefs are transient. Those numberless afflictions, which render it doubtful whether heaven has given life to us in mercy or in wrath, are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them. In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection. To this must be ascribed their disposition to sleep when abstracted from their diversions, and unemployed in labour. An animal whose body is at rest, and who does not reflect, must be disposed to sleep of course.

      Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me, that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.

      Selecting quoting can work both ways, of course.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:20:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan, kovie

        Among our Founders, Thomas Paine is probably the only one who would have been comfortable with the idea of a black POTUS.

        It's been a hundred years, isn't it time we stopped blaming Captain Smith for sinking the Titanic?

        by happymisanthropy on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:30:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Paine was hardly a founder (0+ / 0-)

          He and the other radicals were never included in the founding.

          He forced the founders into the revolution and they forced him out.

          •  He was a provisional founder (0+ / 0-)

            Clearly playing a crucial role in the founding through his pamphleteering, but never having real political power like most of the other founders.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:31:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well, Hamilton was a big supporter (0+ / 0-)

          of Toussainte Louverture, who of course became rule of Haiti, so the idea of a black leader of a free country wasn't exactly unthinkable for him. Then again Haiti had a black majority, wasn't Hamilton's country, and it served as a useful foil against France, which Hamilton despised. But the idea of a black US president back then was likely beyond unthinkable, probably even for Paine.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:35:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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