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No man has a right to despise uneducated persons, for they are often the superiors of educated persons in character, in natural ability, and in force of expression.

I think it means "power and influence" (in this context)?

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    uneducated people ... are often ... [better than] educated people ... [because] ... they can say what they mean, clearly, directly, and powerfully (educated people often "beat about the bush" or "mince their words"). Jun 15, 2023 at 17:39
  • Wasn't it beat around the bush?
    – apaderno
    Jun 15, 2023 at 19:17
  • Perhaps it differs based on which side of the Atlantic one beats. Jun 15, 2023 at 22:22
  • I CV'd because as far as I can tell this is basically a simple dictionary look-up, so I doubt that this question will help other English learners. That being said, you are essentially correct; the meaning is similar to "power and influence". (You should also cite the source.) Jun 15, 2023 at 22:30

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@FumbleFingers already answered it in a comment:

uneducated people ... are often ... [better than] educated people ... [because] ... they can say what they mean, clearly, directly, and powerfully (educated people often "beat about the bush" or "mince their words").

Merriam-Webster dictionary meaning 1a for emphasis is

force or intensity of expression that gives impressiveness or importance to something

So "force" refers to uneducated people's ability to emphasize what they mean to the person they are talking to.

More details

That sentence came from a book A First Manual of Composition by Edwin Herbert Lewis (1902) page 87-88. The chapter is "Correctness in the Sentence" and the context is about Vulgar usage:

86. Vulgar usage. All mistakes in grammar are vulgarisms. Vulgar means "pertaining to the crowd." The great mass or crowd of people have, as yet, but little education. But no man has a right to despise uneducated persons, for they are often the superiors of educated persons in character, in natural ability, and in force of expression.

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  • "Force" means what?(in this context)
    – Sam
    Jun 15, 2023 at 17:07
  • In that sentence "force" can either refer to the manner of speaking (maybe in a loud voice to make your point clearly, forcing people listen to you) or to the choice of words (direct, to the point, not considering the feeling of others, the opposite of "gentle"). Jun 15, 2023 at 17:12
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    I think "Force" means should be "power to convince".(in this context)
    – Sam
    Jun 15, 2023 at 17:21
  • @Sam Yes, "power to convince" can be one of the meaning, especially in the example sentence above. But "force of expression" on its own is more general, to mean how someone say what one thinks. You can be forcefully wrong too, where the audience would NOT be convinced but thinks you're an idiot. Jun 15, 2023 at 17:27
  • But it might imply "they(the people) try to make understand the expression anyway"
    – Sam
    Jun 15, 2023 at 17:31

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