Error By Mrs. Stowe

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It is, perhaps, a little late in the day to devote whole books to the effort to show that human slavery was more evil than good. But the real object of both of these books is not so much to attack slavery as to tear down what Mr. Furnas calls the “exculpatory lies” that have grown up around it. Far ahead of us, somewhere, lies a decent and harmonious relationship between white and colored races. Our approach to it has followed the crimson thread of tragedy from the first. Progress has been slow and painful. By going back to fundamentals it may be possible to help drop some of the misconceptions that keep it from being faster and easier.

Also, it remains true that no real understanding of American history is conceivable without a deep and thoughtful contemplation of this tragic strain that runs all through the story. This lies at the core of what we have been, what we are, and what we shall some day become. If the Civil War was the greatest and most significant single experience in our existence, this business of slavery and race is what lay before it and what lies after. On no single aspect of American life do we need broader knowledge. These books make excellent contributions to that knowledge.