Daughter of the Revolution: The Major Nonfiction Works of Pauline E. Hopkins

By Pauline E. Hopkins; Ira Dworkin | Go to book overview

VI.
Educators

By the toleration of slavery, the great American government lowered its high standard and sullied its fair fame among other nations. Though slaves were introduced by the fathers across the seas, this was not accepted as an apology for crimes worse than murder. Great minds of every clime condemned American slavery. It was felt that no possible excuse could be offered for the crime of chattel bondage being fostered by a government so proudly heralding its championship of human liberty and equality.

Slavery was the sum of all villainies, and the slave-holder the greatest of villains.

It may be truly said that through the intellect speaks the soul, proving man's kinship with God and his heirship to immortality. Nature gives to the immature mind and unseeing eye matter already formed and boundaries set which are accepted blindly until the intellect, aroused by cultivation, penetrates the form and passes the boundaries seeking the First Principle of these things. Before the resistless restlessness of this cultured intellect, the intricate laws of Nature become but accessories to aid man in his search for the how and why of his own existence and of the entire universe. By it he adds fullness and richness to life; and if he pursue the development of the mind along the lines which bring nearness to Divinity, then he soars above the sordidness of earth and exemplifies in body and mind those characteristics resembling our Creator which we are taught should be the end of every well-directed life. All this a state of servitude denies to man.

For the elevation of humanity, and that man may begin here that primary development of the soul to be continued beyond the grave, let us hope, the common school was founded. In ancient times, Aristotle held and taught that “the most effective way of preserving a State, is to bring up the citizens in the spirit of the Government; to fashion, and as it were, cast them in the mould of the Constitution.” Indeed, all thinkers agree that principles of right, equity, and justice must underlie all ideas of progressive civilization; and that a true conception of individual and mutual rights of property, contract, and government can never be successfully propagated except through the medium of the public school.

The slave-holder of the South early saw and appreciated the power of the God-given maxim “Mind is the glory of man”; he knew the power of a general diffusion of knowledge by the common school. What would become of this institution if the manhood of the Negro were not denied? He had read, too, the Declaration of Independence: “All men are created equal.” So, to logically follow

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