an inquiry as to the measures which may best contribute to the protection and improvement of the recently emancipated freedmen of the Unites States, and to their self-defense and self-support, involve not alone the question whether a system of provisional or permanent guardianship be necessary or proper to effect these objects, and (in case that should appear to be so) the further question what the details of such a system should be, but also, incidentally, the prior inquiry whether the protecting freedom of these people is reliably founded, and whether it can endure unless emancipation become universal throughout the Union, extending to the border as well as to the rebel States. There is involved yet another, inseparably connected with the future destiny of the Nation-the great question whether, in the course of human events, with or without the aid of precautionary measures, it be likely that the two races hitherto the dominant and subordinate shall be able, when both shall be free, persistently to endure side by side, and to live together in one common country harmoniously and with mutual advantage. And, in connection with the preceding subjects of inquiry, lying, indeed, at the base of the whole matter, it has seemed to the Commission proper briefly to review the history, in this Western Hemisphere, of these two races so far as they have been connection, and the results that have sprung and are yet to spring from it. Guided by this view of our duties, we offer on the general subject some prefatory observations.
The greatest social and political problems of the world connect themselves more or less intimately with the subject of labor. A people who regard work as degradation, though arts and letters flourish among them, are but emerging from barbarism. It has been some-times said, with much truth, that the grade of civilization in a nation may be measured by the position which it accords to woman. A stricter test is the degree of estimation in which labor is held there.
Our race in its gradual advance from ignorance and evil to comparative knowledge and good, has not yet, even in counties the most favored, outlived an error fatal to true progress. Sometimes avowedly, more often practically, a certain stigma still attaches to human labor-to that labor from which, in one shape or other, the world receives everything of good, of useful, of beautiful, that charms the senses or ministers to the wants of man; to which we owe life, and everything that makes life desirable.
According to the structure of society in each country this error is modified in from. In certain nations of continental Europe the great line of social demarcation is drawn between the titled classes, whether noble by birth or ennobled by royal creation, constituting the privilege and all other persons, including merchants, though wealthy, and lawyers, through eminent, and authors, though popular constituting the unprivilaged. More liberal England begins to admit within the pale the distinguished and successful among the professional classes, and from the mercantile and literary ranks we ourselves, professing to honor industry and talking occasionally of the nobility of labor, have opened somewhat wider, but only throughout a portion of our Republic, the door which admits within the precincts of respectability.