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Extra info for Early Works of Orestes A. Brownson: The Transcendentalist Years, 1838-39
It was known in some Boston circles that Brownson had planned to take issue with the Board of Education. Mann told Samuel G. ” And, Mann was right, but partisan politics was not the only reason. On the controversy, see Arthur E. Bestor, “Horace Mann, Elizabeth P. Peabody, and Orestes A. Brownson,” Proceedings of the Middle States Association of History and Social Science Teachers 38 (1940-41): 47-53, quotation on 49. 79 On his early views, see the Introduction to EW, 2. 80 “Education of the People,” Boston Quarterly Review 2 (October, 1839): 393434.
His article was clearly an attempt to support the legality of the removal policy, citing as it did numerous Supreme Court decisions and treaties that supplied legal justification. Brownson shared with many in his society a paternalistic attitude toward the Indian. The Indians were “uncivilized and improvident” and needed the government’s protection so they could gradually become acculturated into American society. At the present time, however, the two races, Indian and white, could not live together.
Desire, in Brownson’s understanding, was essentially involuntary, a matter of necessity arising from nature; will was essentially a matter of personal free determination. Here again Brownson’s criticism stemmed from his acceptance of Cousin’s view of personality, which Cousin had learned from Maine de Biran. Phrenologists had no place in their psychology for the human free will which was the distinguishing characteristic and faculty of human personality. Willing was not desiring, and was not intellect.