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EARTH HUNGER AND OTHER ESSAYS

to overcome the difficulties of his situation. If, however, he undertakes this course, he must submit to the constraint of orderly and persistent exertion; he must till the land, or he must shut himself up in a factory for ten hours a day. These conditions are impossible for him—they are just the things which he cannot do. On the other hand, the civilized man, if he wants the liberty to roam about which the savage possesses, must live as the savage lives, by hunting and fishing, and his demands on life must be reduced to the range of those of the savage. If he chooses this line of policy and effort, however, he finds that he cannot earn a living, even such as the savage man gets, because he has not the necessary knowledge and skill for that mode of life.

Hence it appears that the notion of liberty, as emancipation from irksome constraint, finds no realization at either end of the scale, but that men give up some things to get others; that they sacrifice one liberty to get another; that they change their point of view and their notions, and that liberty consists in a better adjustment of their notions to their situation at a given time. What we commonly boast of as progress consists in measuring the situation at one time by the notions of another. It would be just as impossible for operatives from a New England cotton mill to live on the plains as for Indians to work ten hours a day in a New England cotton mill. Whether the historical movement by which society has moved from the life of the Indians to that of the cotton operatives has been progress or degeneration, depends on whether it is viewed from the standpoint of the Indian or the white man. We must be convinced that liberty to do as one pleases is not a gift or boon of nature; it is not a natural and original situation which we have lost, or which has been taken from us. All that notion van-