RACE PROBLEMS AND CIVIL LIBERTY
WHAT liberty is accorded minority races among the people of the United States? The question affects chiefly the native Indian and native-born Negro, and the aliens living among us.
The liberties given to aliens are not constitutional, but are based on international law, on treaties and on the power of the home-land to protect these far away rights. Our history shows how these factors were strengthened by the ideas of democracy, equality, and the rights of man; and by a pride in affording an asylum to political and religious refugees. And how often we forget that we were all once aliens in the land possessed by the Indians.
In spite of these idea minority races in the United States have enjoyed only the liberty indicated by the general principle: he who has power has liberty. Aliens backed by a great power at home, have enjoyed our best brand of liberty--often more than native citizens. But the weaker races--especially the Indians, Negroes and Chinese--because of economic as well as race antagonism, have suffered persecution of an extent and brutality unexampled in our history. The record is too long to be more than sketched.
The colonial Indians had what liberty they could defend against invaders. The conflict was tempered by occasional friendship and tolerance where the land-hunger of the white was not too great, and where zeal for the Indian's salvation encouraged charity. Quaker gentleness provided for example in an ordinance of 1681: