The Negro Problem: Abraham Lincoln's Solution. William P. Pickett

1910 Journal of Political Economy  
ways: they will carry the bulky traffic, thus giving the railways the opportunity to devote themselves exclusively to high-class freight at increased profits. A vast system of waterways of standard depth is consequently outlined *so that a canal boat, like a freight car, can travel throughout the length and breadth of the land. No longer should we feel "the blight of continental distances." The entire argument rests upon the assumption that traffic moves more cheaply by water than by land. The
more » ... than by land. The fundamentally important item in cost has, however, been disregarded. Water transportation is shown to be many times cheaper than railway carriage by comparing the rates on a waterway that has been constructed by the government and donated to public use with rates charged by railways which have built their own highways and must earn a profit on their total investment. Until a cost comparison is made which includes all the expense items it cannot be proved that waterway transportation is the more economical. The chapter on "The Battle of the Engineers" is full of suggestion. The conflicting arguments of the civil and army engineers as to the feasibility of reservoirs to hold back and distribute the flow of rivers and as to the effect of deforestation on floods are set forth and commented upon. While the experts are disagreeing the author settles the latter of these mooted questions and is supported by "a plain Wisconsin lumberman" who says that "all a man needs is common-sense" to know that forests prevent floods. The book is very well illustrated and attractively made; it is interesting reading; it is "suggestive ;" but it cannot be regarded as "sound and generally useful." Mr. Pickett finds the hope of solving the negro problem in a policy of inducing the negroes to emigrate, for colonization in other countries. The negro in this country has shown himself to be alien, inferior, and unassimilable. Extermination and amalgamation are remedies quite out of the question. The attempt of the South to force the negro into permanent serfdom is repugnant to the spirit of our institutions, and is hardly less fatal to the progress of the white South than to the aspirations of the black. The programme of education favored by the North is hopeless: the educated negro is even more a cause of friction than his indolent fellows-though Mr. Pickett may be indiscreet in assuming that education would have the same significance if it became the rule that it now has as a marked exception. If, then, the negro can be neither depressed nor raised he must be removed altogether from this country where he is so hopelessly a misfit. His removal is consequently the concern of the book. The plan which is advocated contemplates the ultimate exclusion of the negro from citizenship. During the interval between the promulgation of the plan and the final abrogation of the negro's political and civil privileges the intermarriage of negroes and whites is to be absolutely forbidden, negro immigrants are to be barred, and a carefully organized and assisted emigration is to aid the present
doi:10.1086/251650 fatcat:ylj4pfrn2zhqbo32rwlebi2rtq