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Liberty and Man

Slaves and Blacks


The Philomathesian Society


Liberty and Man
4. October 1, 1823
“Do Savages enjoy as much happiness as civilized people?”
Decided in the Negative.

That this question was up for debate in the nineteenth century, showed how progressive the Philomathesian Society was as a group. They were willing to consider if technological advancement and modern society could provide the same happiness that simpler societies held so sacred. At a time when modernity was blindly accepted as a necessity for happiness, the Society was flexible enough to at least consider that indigenous culture may result in more happiness.

6. October 6, 1824
“Do the civilized inhabitants of America possess more courage and fortitude than the non-civilized?”
Decided in the Negative.

This resolution attests to the tremendous amount of tolerance among the Philomathesian Society. Unlike most Americans who looked down upon the natives, this society actually believed in the inherent dignity of each person. They resolved that the natives had to possess more fortitude to withstand foreigners taking their land than the settlers did in taking it. The Society ruled against a majority of their ancestors in favor of the Native Americans.

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