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- Equality Before the Law: California Black Convention Activism, 1855-65
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Proceedings of the Colored National Convention, held in Franklin Hall, Sixth Street, Below Arch, Philadelphia, October 16th, 17th and 18th, 1855.
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Of the Committee on Mechanical Branches among the Colored People of the Free States.
THE development of the physical energies of man, and their control for the weal of society, is one of the prime subjects of political economy. That which God once made in his own image is among the last in the order of creation. The formation of physical proportions come first, then the removal of the darkness which surrounds the practical workings of our physical creations, until there is light, and into that which is formed as the result of first beginnings, shall be breathed the life of superior intelligence. It is the nature of man to follow the order of creation. The physical world in its beautifully enchanting proportions are first spread out before him—he looks, admires, and then tries to imitate. This practice brings the power of thinking into active exercise, and impresses a steady but sure conviction of the necessity of mental culture. The rude tenements brought into existence by physical necessity, are rebuilt and improved upon as time, thought, and culture suggest.
The learning of the world has never been able to keep pace with the development and enlargment of physical power. The mass in the early ages of the world saw the most beautiful arches, dwellings and temples, while the knowledge of letters even was confined to the few.
The wealth of nations commences not in learning, but in physical energies. Learning comes as a necessity of growth. The thinking minds and the energetic wills have been the rulers of the earth; the masses have toiled under the servitude of their control and direction. The spirit of freedom, however, has overcome enslavement by the few, freedom has led to more general education, and hence there is more general intelligence as the result of freedom among the masses. A knowledge of the requirements of freedom, then, in developing the physical powers, must be a part of the foundation of modern civilized society. No people may expect to escape the performance of the duties thus imposed with impunity. It is a law which must be obeyed, or the penalties of its violotions
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