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Women and Freedmen's Aid after the Civil War

Document 6

TRIBUNE OFFICE, NEW YORK, Sept. 7, 1870.        

MRS. GRIFFING:--In my judgment you and others who wish to befriend the blacks crowded into Washington, do them great injury. Had they been told years ago, "You must find work; go out and seek it," they would have been spared much misery. They are an easy, worthless race, taking no thought for the morrow, and liking to lean on those who befriend them. Your course aggravates their weaknesses, when you should raise your ambition and stimulate them to self-reliance. Unless you change your course speedily and singly, the swarming of blacks to the District will increase, and the argument that Slavery is their natural condition will be immeasurably strengthened. So long as they look to others to calculate and provide for them, they are not truly free. If there be any woman capable of earning wages who would rather some one else than herself should pay her passage to the place where she can have work, then she needs reconstruction and awakening to a just and honest self-reliance.  

                Yours,                HORACE GREELEY*

* Horace Greeley was the noted editor of the New York Tribune.

-- Letter written by Horace Greeley to Josephine Griffing, 7 September 1870

12. Why does Greeley believe that helping freedmen is a mistake?

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