ourselves and among those who have looked on, even with favoring eyes, watching the progress of our republican experiment.
There are evils so vast and radical that nothing short of a bloody revolution has hitherto been found sufficient to extirpate them. So the eradication of slavery throughout a country containing 4,000,000 of slaves, estimated by their masters as property worth $1,200,000,000 or $1,500,000,000. So (a difficulty greater still) the eradication of that prejudice of race and color which first suggested to the cupidity of white men the exaction of forced labor from negroes, and has ever since been fed and fostered through the influence of the abuse to which it gave birth.
Such a revolution may bring about changes of national opinion and national condition which wise and philosophical writers had pronounced to be beyond the limits of possibility. Thus De Tocqueville, when in his work on American Democracy, he said:
To induce the whites to abandon the opinion they have conceived of the moral and intellectual inferiority of their former slaves the negroes must change, but as long as this opinion exists they cannot change. a
This would make the future of the American negro, free or slave, absolutely hopeless; but no absolutely hopeless future exists, under the economy of God, in this world of progress.
There never were good reasons for saying this. But to say it to- day would be far more inexcusable than to have said it when De Tocqueville wrote. We have gathered, during the vast upheavals of the last three years, such experience as ages of undisturbed monotony might fail to furnish. Events have occurred which no human foresight could anticipate. Contingencies have arisen which not only convulse our political world, but stir to their foundations the social elements of society around us.
The whites have changed and are still rapidly changing, their opinion of the negro. And the negro, in his new condition as freedman, is himself to some extent, a changed being. No one circumstances has tended so much to these results as the display of manhood in negro soldiers. Though there are higher qualities than strength and physical courage, yet, in our present stage of civilization, there are no qualities which command from the masses more respect.
But De Tocqueville could never have imagined, even as a remote possibility the raising and equipping in the United States of 100,000 negro troops.
His anticipations turned in a different direction. He did not look forward to an insurrection of the whites against the Government; he predicted an insurrection of slaves against their masters. He predicted, further, that emancipation itself would not avert this catastrophe; but this last prediction was a based upon the assumption that, free or slave, the whites would never accord to the blacks their civil rights. He says:
I am obliged to confess that I do not regard the abolition of slavery as a means of warding off the struggle of the two races in the Southern States. The negroes
a Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville (Cambridge edition, 1862), Vol. I, p. 459.
De Tocqueville's chapter on the black population of the United States is one of the saddest and dreariest ever penned by a statesman. How just his observation (p.457) that "of all the ills which threaten the future of the Union, the most formidable arises from the presence of a black population upon its territory." He saw the impending danger. Is it strange that, living when he did, he could not see the way out?
24 R R-SERIES III, VOL IV