Take Your Choice
Separation or Mongrelization

By Theodore G. Bilbo

Chapter VII
False Interpretations
of American Democracy

I hold that this government was made on the white basis, by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever.

-- Stephen Douglas

THE DEMANDS of the Negro leaders for complete political, economic, and social equality between the white and Negro races in the United States were stated in Chapter V. The doctrine of the equality of the two races upon which theory these demands are based was shown to be false in Chapter VI. Thousands of years of world history have shown that the achievements of the Caucasian race have been superior to those of the Negro race. Science has recognized physical, mental, and moral differences between the white and black races, and no amount of argument on the part of these full equality advocates can change or alter these findings. Racial differences and inequalities do exist, and they will continue to exist just as long as white women bear white children and Negro women bear Negro children.

In addition to the contention that science supports the demands for full economic, political, and social equality of the white and Negro races in the United States, the colored leaders and their white Quisling friends state that our ideals of democracy and our concepts of religion force us to grant this complete racial equality to the black race. Upon these three grounds - science, democracy, and religion - the arguments for full equality are based. We have already seen that the scientific arguments are false, and we shall now see that the other two contentions based on democracy and religion are equally fallacious.

The fundamental concepts of democracy upon which the government of this Nation is based are embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. By amendment to the Constitution, the Negroes were made citizens of this Republic, and also by constitutional amendment they were given the right to vote. The Negro, just as much as any white citizen, is entitled to the rights, privileges, and protection which are guaranteed to all American citizens. Every citizen, white and colored, is entitled to the same justice and fairness before the law and in the courts of the land.

At this point, it would be well to state the points upon which there may be said to be general agreement. The Negro leaders agree with W. E. B. DuBois that they are seeking for the members of their race "full economic, political and social equality with American citizens, in thought, expression and action, with no discrimination based on race or color." (1) Concerning the first two demands, there is not so much dispute. All American citizens are entitled to economic equality; every man, white or black, is entitled to a job and to a wage sufficient to support himself and his family. A unified effort should be made to further the economic advancement of the Negro race in this country. This does not mean that the employer should be deprived of the right to select his own employees, nor does it mean that racial segregation should be abolished. (2)

Regarding the second demand, political equality, the matter becomes somewhat more complicated. No one questions the fact that Negroes have the constitutional right to qualify as electors. Even in the South where Negroes heretofore did not vote in the white Democratic primaries, there was nothing to prevent them from voting in the general elections, and many of them did vote if they were qualified under the laws of their respective states. Whenever and wherever he can comply with the qualifications for voting as prescribed by the state in which he lives, the Negro should be permitted to vote.

It is the third demand, that of social equality, which white Americans cannot and will not grant. When the Negro leaders include social equality of the races and the abolition of all forms of racial segregation as a part of their program, they not only are asking for what they will never be freely given, but they are greatly diminishing their chances to secure the economic and political equality which they are seeking for their people. Many Southern white liberals and Southern Negro leaders have made attempts to point out how firmly the segregation of the races is established in the Southland and the dangers which will come from organized attempts to abolish segregation and establish the social equality of the races in this Nation. But the Northern and some Southern Negro leaders have refused to heed any warning.

The no-compromise leadership among the Negroes would have none of this fact-facing on segregation, however. At the 33rd annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Los Angeles, Assistant Secretary Roy Wilkins vowed (as quoted) that there would be no faltering in the all-or-nothing policy: 'The issues are clear; the stakes are great; the path is straight; the tensions are tremendous; the pressure crushing. This is our answer to the Ethridges of Kentucky, the Dabneys of Virginia, the Graves of Alabama. This is the watchword that must go forward. We cannot give up the trust!' And A. Philip Randolph declared: 'It is better to die fighting than to live begging.'

Against this attitude of the white liberals in the South was the persisting one of Northern Negro leaders. Reciting injustices to the Negro 'particularly in the Southern States,' The Crisis declared editorially in March, 1941: 'The Crisis leaves to its readers the question of whether there is a great deal of difference between the code for Negroes under Hitler and the code for Negroes under the United States of America - the leading democratic nation in the world.' Roy Wilkins vowed in Detroit after a racial clash there that the Negroes are 'fed up with this democracy stuff.' And when an official of the N.A.A.C.P., William Pickens, issued a statement praising the 99th Pursuit Squadron at Tuskegee, first Negro aviation unit in history, he was dropped from the executive board for implied acceptance of segregation. (3)

The Negro leaders who are seeking social equality of the races and the abolition of every kind of racial segregation cannot justly claim that ideals of American democracy sup- port their demands. They contend that democracy means "full equality" for all citizens, and they quote the Declaration of Independence as proof thereof. Discussing "Certain Unalienable Rights," Mary McLeod Bethune asks for "full American citizenship" for American Negroes. She says: "As long as America offers less, she will be that much less a democracy. The whole way is the American way." (4)

There is absolutely nothing in the immortal declaration "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" to support this plea for social equality of the white and black races in the United States. Any person who uses the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution to bring about the social equality of the races in this country is placing a false and dangerous interpretation on these two documents which embody the ideals of American democracy.

To say that all men or all people or all races are equal is to assert: (a) that certain qualities exist; (b) that these qualities exist among men; (c) that each and every man has exactly the same portion. Now to discover whether there is any validity in the idea of the equality of all men, it has to be asked: What qualities, if any, are shared equally by all men? The author of the famous phrase 'all men are created equal' also wrote: 'I do not mean to deny that there are varieties in the race of man distinguished by their powers both of body and mind. I believe there are, as I see to be the case in the races of other animals.' (Notes on Virginia.) What then did Jefferson mean when he used the word equal? According to his own statement (Letter to Henry Lee, May 8. 1825), among his sources were 'the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney...' Now look at one of these authors, that one closest to Jefferson in time and fighting the divine right of kings exactly as Jefferson was. In his second Treatise on Civil Government, VI, 54, Locke says:

Though I have said above 'That all men by nature are equal,' I cannot be supposed to understand all sorts of 'equality.' Age or virtue may give men a just precedency. Excellency of parts and merit may place others above the common level. Birth may subject some, and alliance or benefits others, to pay an observance to those to whom Nature, gratitude, or other respects may have made it due; and yet all this consists with the equality which all men are in in respect of jurisdiction or dominion one over another, which was the equality I there spoke of as proper to the business in hand, being that equal right that every man hath to his natural freedom, without being subject to the will or authority of any other man.

It is impossible here to go further into the question of the exact content of the word 'equal' as used in the Declaration of Independence. It should be clear that those who deny universal values cannot believe in equality, that they do not know what they are saying, either when they deny the values or when they assert the equality. It is not improbable that they are ignorant of the nature of both

Those of us who believe in universal values can also subscribe without reservation to Jefferson's idea of equality. This idea is more powerful than any high explosive. Handled with knowledge and skill it can civilize the world. Handled ignorantly or maliciously it can blow humane living out of existence and reduce man to a level lower than that of the savage. (5)

It cannot be forgotten that Thomas Jefferson who wrote that "all men are created equal" also wrote the following lines concerning the Negro.
Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free; nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government.
Jefferson believed that the race question should be solved by colonization of the Negroes at some place outside the United States, and he devoted much time and energy to promoting such a scheme. There is no indication whatsoever that either he or any of the other Founding Fathers interpreted the words of the Declaration of Independence to destroy the racial barriers which from the very beginning of our history separated the white and black races in the United States. Practically all of these men were owners of Negro slaves, and the indications are that they never even thought of the Negro when they announced to the world that "all men are created equal."
Democratic theories of government in their modern form are based on dogmas of equality formulated some hundred and fifty years ago, and rest upon the assumption that environment and not heredity is the controlling factor in human development. Philanthropy and noble purpose dictated the doctrine expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the document which to-day constitutes the actual basis of American institutions. The men who wrote the words 'we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,' were themselves the owners of slaves and despised Indians as something less than human. Equality in their minds meant merely that they were just as good Englishmen as their brothers across the sea. The words 'that all men are created equal' have since been subtly falsified by adding the word 'free' although no such expression is found in the original document and the teachings based on these altered words in the American public schools of today would startle and amaze the men who formulated the Declaration. (6)
The Negro leaders not only claim that American democracy teaches the social equality of the white and black races, but they go further and proclaim that the denial of this equality is fascism. According to Doxey A. Wilkerson, many Negroes have asked: "Why fight fascism in Germany when we have fascism right here in America?" (7) It is also contended that segregation of the races is a "Hitler-like doctrine." These social equality advocates completely overlook the fact that racial barriers existed in this Nation before the world ever heard of the fascism of modern Germany or of Adolph Hitler and his doctrines or any of his followers. Segregation of the races, racial integrity and the color line have always been the ideals of this Nation. Segregation of the white and black races is as American as any of the other well-known institutions and ideals which have come to us through the one hundred and fifty years of our national existence. Great American statesmen have proclaimed the inequalities of the white and black races all through our national history. Our illustrious leaders have advocated the segregation of the races in this country; they have warned us of the dangers of amalgamation. The present day leaders of the Negro race may attack the denial of social equality to the Negro as in accordance with the teachings of Hitler, but there is no foundation, no logic, and no reason for such a contention. Long before Hitler spoke of racial superiority and plunged the world into the greatest war in history. the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln. said:
I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not, nor ever have been, In favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to inter- marry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior. and as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. (Speech at Charleston, Illinois, September ]8, 1858.)
Can it be possible that the Negro leaders who today seek to destroy racial barriers would brand Abraham Lincoln as "fascist"? Do they contend that his opinions concerning the Negro race were Hitler-like? Do they contend that the Great Emancipator and war-time President was "un-American" ? Of course, they dare not make such a charge. Lincoln did not believe in the social equality of the white and black races, and nowhere do we find any record to show that he believed American democracy required him or any other American to subscribe to the doctrine of complete racial equality.

Senator Stephen Douglas, who was Lincoln's opponent in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, was also opposed to the granting of full equality to the Negro race. These two statesmen differed on their attitude toward slavery, but they were in agreement that social equality with the whites must be denied the American Negro as long as he remains in this country. In debating with Lincoln, Douglas, who was a statesman from Illinois, said:

I hold that this government was made on the white basis, by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and should be administered by white men, and none others. I do not believe that the Almighty made the Negro capable of self-government. I am aware that all the Abolition lecturers that you find traveling about through the country, are in the habit of reading the Declaration of Independence to prove that all men were created equal and endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.... Now, I say to you, my fellow-citizens that in my opinion the signers of the Declaration had no reference to the Negro whatever, when they declared all men to be created equal. They desired to express by that phrase white men, men of European birth and European descent, and had no reference either to the Negro, the savage Indians, the Feegee, the Malay, or any other inferior and degraded race, when they spoke of the equality of men. One great evidence that such was their understanding, is to be found in the fact that at that time every one of the thirteen colonies was a slaveholding colony, every signer of the declaration represented a slaveholding constituency, and we know that no one of them emancipated his slaves, much less offered citizenship to them, when they signed the declaration; and yet, if they intended to declare that the Negro was the equal of the white man, and entitled by divine right to an equality with him, they were bound, as honest men, that day and hour to have put their Negroes on an equality with themselves. Instead of doing so, with uplifted eyes to heaven they implored the divine blessing upon them, during the seven years bloody war they had to fight to maintain that Declaration, never dreaming that they were violating divine law by still holding the Negroes in bondage and depriving them of equality.

My friends, I am in favor of preserving this government as our fathers made it. It does not follow by any means that because the Negro is not your equal or mine, that hence he must necessarily be slave. On the contrary, it does follow that we ought to extend to the Negro every right, every privilege, every immunity which he is capable of enjoying, consistent with the safety of our society... (8)

How can the Negro leaders contend that it is "un-American" and "undemocratic" to preserve the government as our forefathers made it? As was once emphatically stated by Senator Robert Toombs: "This Republic was born of the soul of a race of pioneer white freemen who settled on our continent and built an altar within its forest cathedral to Liberty and Progress. In the record of man, has the Negro ever dreamed this dream?" (9)

It is difficult to understand the arguments of these advocates of social equality of the races. They contend that American democracy demands that the white and Negro races mix and mingle and intermarry. Does it not occur to them that such a condition would destroy the Nation to which they claim to pledge their loyalty? Praise and acknowledgment of the power and greatness of the United States and the contention that whites and Negroes should intermarry according to individual preference are thoroughly inconsistent. Racial intermarriage would destroy the "race of pioneer white freemen" who created this Nation, and it would thus destroy the Nation itself. Who can visualize a future of progress for a Nation of octoroons ? The Negro leaders either ignore this possibility, or have no objection to such a condition, or by their silence they admit that they would welcome such a future.

The colored editor of What the Negro Wants, R. W. Logan, pleads for the fulfilment of the democratic aims of this Nation by granting full and complete equality to the Negro race, but he is not very much interested in the future of this democratic Nation when, in his plea for intermarriage, he says: "Why, we shall all be dead in 2044 and the people will do what they wish." (10) If our ancestors had been so utterly lacking in racial pride and in vision and hope for their own future and that of their posterity, we would today be a Nation of mongrels. No one except possibly the mongrels themselves would dare to contend that we would have benefitted from such a state of affairs.

At this point, there is a deplorable and sorrowful fact which should be noted by every reader. In eighteen states in this white man's country and also in the District of Columbia, where the Nation's Capitol is located, intermarriage of the races is permitted by law. This fact is a national shame, or should I say crime, against the white race of America, and I pray God that these states and the Congress of the United States, on behalf of the District of Columbia, will do something about this situation before it is too late.

Democratic ideals among an homogeneous population of Nordic blood, as in England or America, is one thing, but it is quite another for the white man to share his blood with, or intrust his ideals to, brown, yellow, black or red men.

This is suicide pure and simple, and the first victim of this amazing folly will be the white man himself. (11)

The Negro leaders themselves say that never in the history OI the United States have the members of their race been accorded full and complete equality with the whites. And it is true that "On no aspect of the race problem are most white Americans, North as well as South, so adamant as they are on their opposition to intermarriage." (12) Then, what stronger proof than the actual practice of white Americans do we need in ascertaining how the majority of our people feel toward the demands of the Negro leaders today for the social equality of the races?

We have found that white Americans have never interpreted American democracy to mean that there would be no racial barriers between the white and black citizens of this Republic, and those who now seek to read such a meaning into the Declaration of Independence are misconstruing the immortal words which were penned by Thomas Jefferson. The social equality of the white and Negro races and the abolition of racial segregation have never been in accordance with the ideals of this Nation. Any one who advances such an argument is placing a false interpretation on the meaning of American democracy, and because he is willing, either consciously or unconsciously, that the future of this Republic be destroyed, he is a traitor to his country as well as to his race.

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  1. Logan R. W. What the Nero Wants, p. 65.

  2. See Chapter IV, p. 50 for a statement of equal and exact justice for negroes and whites, with the right of separation enforced at all costs.

  3. Graves, John Temple, The Fighting South (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1943). pp. 127, 132.

  4. Logan, R. W., What the Nero Wants, p. 255.

  5. Reprinted from What the Nero Wants (the Publisher's Introduction p. xvi) edited by Rayford W. Logan. by permission of The University of North Carolina Press. Copynght,1944, by The University of North Carolina Press.

  6. Grant, Madison, The Passing of the Great Race, p. xvi.

  7. Logan R. W., What the Nero Wants, p. 196.

  8. The speech from which this quotation comes has been reprinted in: Calvin, Ira, The Lost White Race (Brookline, Massachusetts: Courtway-White Publications, 1944). p. 39. This speech was made by Senator Douglas at Jonesboro, Illinois, September 15, 1858.

  9. Calvin, Ira, The Lost White Race, p. 62.

  10. Logan, R. W., What the Nero Wants, p. 28.

  11. Stoddard, Lothrop, The Rising Tide of Color, p. xxxii (from the Introduction by Madison Grant).

  12. Logan. R. W., What the Nero Wants, p. 28.