- Historic Sites
Who Is Superior?
Montgomery Meigs, like many other vengeful Northerners, fell into an old error: he was convinced of his own innate superiority over a large segment of fellow citizens.
August 1959 | Volume 10, Issue 5
Slavery had been born, and had developed to the point where the country had to fight a ruinous war to get rid of it, because men had taken for granted the notion that one race of men is inherently better than another race. Slavery itself may indeed have been a great moral wrong, but it existed not because some men were sinners but simply because all men had given way to a delusion about fixed grades and classifications in the great family of man. Failing to understand that it was race prejudice itself rather than willful human wickedness that was at the bottom of the nation’s troubles, the Northerners who clamored for hangings and proscription lists were doing no more than perpetuating the real evil. Any belief that justifies the conqueror in doing whatever he chooses to do to the conquered is bound to be the source of profound wrong.
The lesson is there for us, if we have the wit to learn it. Considering the state of the world today and the hazards that it presents, it is perhaps high time that we got on with our studies.