— George William Curtis American writer 1824 - 1892
1860s, The Good Fight (1865)
Context: A white man's government? Well, I am a white man, I believe. Will anybody undertake to teach me what are the antipathies and loathings of white men? What mean whites may or may not like is of small importance. But the generous soul of my race, which has led the van in the great march of liberty and civilization, and whose lofty path is marked by the broken chains of every form of slavery, has an instinctive hatred of injustice, of exclusive privilege, of arrogance, ignorance, and baseness, and an instinctive love of honor, magnanimity and justice. The white soul of my race naturally loves the man, of whatever race or color, who bravely fights and gloriously dies for equal rights, and instinctively loathes every man who, saved by the blood of such heroes, deems himself made of choicer clay. The spirit of caste asks us to believe the outraged race inferior. Inferior? Inferior in what? In sagacity? In fidelity? In nobility of soul? In the prime qualities of manhood? And who are asked to believe this? We? We, hot, panting, exhausted from a fight for our national life in a part of the country where every white face was probably that of an enemy, and every colored face was surely that of a friend. We are asked to say it, whose brothers and sons, escaping from horrible pens of torture and death hundreds of miles from our lines, made their way through swamps and forests, safe from hungry bloodhounds and fiercer men, back to our homes and hearts, only because the men whom in our triumphant fortune we are asked to betray, in our darkest hour of misfortune risked their lives to save ours.