Unbalanced and Ignorant, Even Today

Henry Adams was an historian and journalist, the grandson of John Quincy Adams and the great-grandson of John Adams. Forty years after the Civil War, he wrote an autobiography in the third-person: The Education of Henry Adams.

This is an excerpt from chapter 7, “Treason (1860-61)”:

“Adams found himself seeking education in a world that seemed to him both unwise and ignorant. The Southern secessionists were certainly unbalanced in mind — fit for medical treatment, like other victims of hallucination — haunted by suspicion, by idées fixes, by violent morbid excitement, but this was not all. They were stupendously ignorant of the world. As a class, the cotton-planters were mentally one-sided, ill-balanced, and provincial to a degree rarely known. They were a close [sic] society on whom the new fountains of power had poured a stream of wealth and slaves that acted like oil on flame. They showed a young student his first object-lesson of the way in which excess of power worked when held by inadequate hands”.

This description reminds me of certain players on the contemporary political scene, many of whom live in the South even today. 

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