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Constitution of the Indian Mind

American History, Volume I: Aboriginal America (New York: Sheldon, 1860)


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270 CONSTITUTION AND CHARACTER

tions of their race, from their earliest arrival upon these shores to the present time.

THE TWO GREAT MEANS OF CIVILIZATION.

But whatever we may think of the intellectual inferiority of the Indian race, the slowness of their progress in the arts of life was not due wholly to that cause. There are two great essential elements without which civilization can never make any rapid progress, or attain to any great height, in any nation. These two elements are iron, and the art of writing. With the possession of iron to make implements and tools, one man, it is found; can produce the food of ten, thus leaving the other four of the half of the community that we may suppose to be able-bodied, to be employed in other occupations. It is in consequence of this release of so large a portion of the community from the labor of procuring food, through the aid afforded by iron, that arts and inventions arise. Whereas without iron, it requires five men to produce the food of ten, and the other five consist of the very young, the very old, the sick and the infirm. So that, without iron, nearly the whole available strength of the community is required for the production of food, the surplus that remains being barely sufficient to provide, in the simplest possible



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