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The abolition of inheritance

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Pages: 154

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Harlan Eugene Read

Excerpt from book: CHAPTER IX THE EIGHT OF HEIRS TO RECEIVE Since, then, it is true that the living can gather no real authority from the dead, the claim to an inheritance must arise from some other source. Naturally there are only four physical factors to the transaction,— the dead person, the heir, the document known as a will, and the living people who consent thereto. Having examined and disproved the theory that the dead person has a right to control the living, let us next examine the claims of the heir. Before considering such of these claims as are based upon argument, I wish first to turn your attention to a most powerful influence or claim of the heir that is founded upon the sentiment of family superiority — the feeling that one's family is better than other families. There are many who have this feeling, just as a man naturally considers himself superior to a horse, or a white man feels himself superior to a negro or an Indian. So far as this feeling applies to respect for one's ancestors and hope for the success of his posterity, it is a worthy feeling: but a clear distinction must be drawn between a wholesome emulation between families in the attainment of mental and moral superiority to others, and the evil wish to use one's 'family as a means for the attainment of selfish and unjust ends. Just as Abraham Lincoln said of the negro,1 " I agree with Judge Douglas that he is not my equal in many respects—certainly not in colour, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas and the equal of every living man," so I may say of a person I consider to be of inferior family " He may not be my social equal, perhaps not my mental equal...  

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