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What shall be done with the four million slaves if they are emancipated? ... Primarily, it is a question less for man than for God -- less for human intellect than for the laws of nature to solve. It assumes that nature has erred; that the law of liberty is a mistake; that freedom, though a natural want of the human soul, can only be enjoyed at the expense of human welfare, and that men are better off in slavery than they would or could be in freedom; that slavery is the natural order of human relations, and that liberty is an experiment. What shall be done with them? Our answer is, do nothing with them; mind your business, and let them mind theirs. Your doing with them is their greatest misfortune. They have been undone by your doings, and all they now ask, and really have need of at your hands, is just to let them alone. They suffer by every interference, and succeed best by being let alone.

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What Shall Be Done With The Slaves If Emancipated? Douglass' Monthly, January, 1862 1862

Submitted by Normando on July 06, 2020

Frederick Douglass

US abolitionist (1818-1895), escaped slave, Abolitionist, author, editor of the North Star and later the New National Era

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