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January 1978

Power and Prejudice

Arch Surg. 1978;113(1):13-14. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1978.01370130015001

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Two hundred years ago, William Pitt allowed that "unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it." When I took over the chief editorship of the Archives of Surgery several years ago, I knew I was assuming power, but I did not then appreciate its magnitude. The months that have passed since handing the position over to another have given me the opportunity for some objective reflections on the matter.

One of the least desirable duties of the position was to return manuscripts to authors with suggestions for alterations. Knowing the fallibility of editors, I initially feared indignant responses. But at least 50% of the authors sent their manuscripts back with thanks for the suggestions. Furthermore, I received few disagreements and no indignant rejoinders. Since I myself often used to sit at the opposite end of this communication channel, I knew that such benign responses do

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