When Alexis de Tocqueville traveled to America to study the American prison system, he wrote a book titled, Democracy in America, which has been regarded as one the greatest commentaries ever written on the American government and society. In it he explored the effects of the rising inequality of social conditions in the Western world. He noted the connection between slavery and the point of view held by many people at the time:
Those who hope that the Europeans will ever mix with the Negroes appear to me to delude themselves; and I am not led to any such conclusion by my own reason, or by the evidence of facts. Hitherto, wherever the whites have been the most powerful, they have maintained the blacks in a subordinate or a servile position wherever the Negroes have been strongest, they have destroyed the whites; such has been the only course of events which has ever taken place between the two races. I see that in a certain portion of the territory of the United States at the present day, the legal barrier which separated the two races is tending to fall away, but not that which exists in the manners of the country; slavery recedes, but the prejudice to which it has given birth remains stationary…. The modern slave differs from his master not only in his condition, but in his origin. You may set the Negro free, but you cannot make him otherwise than an alien to the European…. The moderns then, after they have abolished slavery, have three prejudices to contend against, which are less easy to attack, and far less easy to conquer, than the mere fact of servitude: the prejudice of the master, the prejudice of the race and the prejudice of color.
Tocqueville predicted that black Americans would eventually revolt at being deprived of their civil rights, including their social and economic rights. He prophetically saw that the country’s past would determine its future:
If ever America undergoes great revolutions, they will be brought about by the presence of the black race on the soil of the United States…. The Negro race will never leave those shores of the American continent, to which it was brought by the passions and the vices of Europeans; and it will not disappear from the New World as long as it continues to exist…. I am obliged to confess that I do not regard the abolition of slavery as “means of warding off the struggle of the two races in the United States.” The Negroes may long remain slaves without complaining; but if they are once raised to the level of freemen, they will soon revolt at being deprived of all their civil rights; and as they cannot become the equals of the whites, they will speedily declare themselves as enemies.
President Abraham Lincoln
Even the much admired and respected President Abraham Lincoln, who led the United States through the Civil War, preserved the “Union” had no solution to the problem of Slavery except the colonization idea which he inherited from Henry Clay. Thomas J. Dilorenzo in his book, The Real Lincoln, draws attention to Lincoln’s failure to live up to his expectations when he writes:
When, before the war, he was asked what should be done with the slaves were they ever to be freed, he said, “Send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” He developed plans to send back every last black person to Africa, Haiti, Central America—anywhere but the United States…. Lincoln approvingly quoted Clay as saying that “there is a moral fitness in the idea of returning to Africa her children” since “they will carry back to their native soil the rich fruits of religion, civilization, law, and liberty.” How they would do this after having deprived of an education and of the fruits of religion, civilization, law, and liberty in the United States was not explained.
The president then introduced his ideas of the black race colonizing in some other part of the country, asking them where they would be most happy. Lincoln expressed the biblical principle that man is created by and related to His Creator, and that fact gives him worth and dignity.
His Address on Colonization to a Deputation of Negroes on August 14, 1862, was as follows:
There is much to encourage you. For the sake your race you should sacrifice something of your present comfort for the purpose of being as grand in that respect as the white people. It is a cheering thought throughout life that something can be done to improve the condition of those who have been subject to the hard usage of this world. It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels he is worthy of himself, and claims kindred to the great God who made him. In the American Revolutionary War, sacrifices were made by men engaged in it; but they were cheered by the future. Gen. Washington himself endured greater physical hardships than if he had remained a British subject. Yet he was a happy man, because he was engaged in benefiting his race—something for the children of his neighbors, having none of his own.
Meanwhile, Tocqueville concluded that the removal of the Negro population from America could not resolve the crisis, as he predicted that a civil war would break out:
When I contemplate the condition of the south, I can only discover two alternatives which may be adopted by the white inhabitants of those states; that is either to emancipate the negroes, and to intermingle with them; or, remaining isolated from them, to keep them in a state of slavery as long as possible. All intermediate measures seem to me likely to terminate, and that shortly, in the most horrible of civil wars, and perhaps in the total extermination of one or other of the two races.
Though slavery was a key issue, the abolition of slavery was not a strong concern for Lincoln. The Civil War was not primarily over slavery; it was the first step in moving the United States from a decentralized government to a centralized one.
While the war lasted only four years, its roots can be traced back to a great compromise forged during the Constitutional Convention when the delegates agreed to permit slavery. In 1922, during his remarks at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial, President Warren Harding noted that this concession in the Constitution represented “an ambiguity which only a baptism in blood could efface.
In the summer of 1862, newspaper editor Horace Greeley published an editorial called “The Prayer of Twenty Millions.” In it he upbraided the president for fighting against the evil of slavery while refusing to enact legislation to forbid it. Lincoln replied to Horace Greeley that his paramount object in this struggle was to save the Union, and not either to save or to destroy slavery. If he could save the Union without freeing any slave he would do it, and if he could save it by freeing all the slaves he would do it; and if he could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone he would also do that.
What do we learn from Tocqueville’s prediction? First, he was right in observing that the Negroes may long remain slaves without complaining; but if they are once raised to the level of freemen, they will soon revolt at being deprived of all their civil rights; and as they cannot become the equals of the whites, they will speedily declare themselves as enemies.”
It is true that without knowledge of history, humans are socially, intellectually, and emotionally rootless. Much of what is going on today stems directly from the past. Today most blacks behave the way they do because don’t understand their history; it is only by understanding history that we can understand the present situation we find ourselves in.
Secondly, Blacks have been conditioned to feel that their color is a badge of degradation. We have programmed to think little of ourselves instead and most blacks have a very strong inferiority complex. This is the reason why some black women and men have resorted to bleaching themselves so that they could have some resemblance to whites.
Remember Michael Jackson who was ironically admired or idolized by many blacks and whites bleached his skin to make it paler so he wouldn’t appear as a black man. He had numerous plastic surgeries altering his nose and lips again to resemble the white man. We hate ourselves and this self-hatred is one of the major reasons poor black youths have no sense of self-worth and see other Blacks as nothing.
We’ve not learned to love ourselves. The majority of black crime is black-on-black crime, not black-on-white crime, because to Blacks, Whites have worth. All this is because we have been indoctrinated to feel inferior because we don’t see ourselves as valuable human beings created in the image of God.
Lastly, many African Americans have psychological anchors of racial hatred passed down from previous generations who remember slavery and discrimination. Unable to step out of their programming due to racial hatred, they are setting themselves up to be slaves again. And this is why they are bitter when they look back at their history and what has been done to them. But as we shall see in the next post, bitterness and unforgiveness is very dangerous.
Part of this article is adapted from Reclaiming The Forgotten Biblical Heritage, Volume 1