Arthur Michelson, a middle school math teacher, writes a nice piece on the importance of learning mathematics: precision, analysis, discipline of the mind. Thomas Krannawitter applauds Michelson’s effort and reminds us that Lincoln studied Euclid for the same reasons. Note this from 1854:
If A. can prove, however conclusively, that he may, of right, enslave B.—why may not B. snatch the same argument, and prove equally, that he may enslave A?
You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.
You do not mean color exactly?—You mean the whites are intellectually the superior of blacks, and, therefore, have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.
But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest, you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you.