In this essay Twain uses satire to prove a poin to readers. He begins the essay saying that he has studied the habits and dispositions of men to those of other animals. He finds the results humiliating because man can obviously be seen as the lower of the two. He states that he used the scientific method to draw each of the conclusions he makes in the essay. His first example is that of an earl who has a buffalo hunt just for the sport of it. He compares this to animals who never take more than what they need. From this he concludes that while men freely practice averice, animals are never miserly. He also discovers from his experiments that man is the only type of animal that harbors insults and waits for a chance to seek revenge. The higher animals, as Twain calls them, do not know the passion of revenge. He concludes that cats are one of the only higher animals who have loose morals. However, he defends them by saying that the cat is innocent because he is unconsciously being loose in morality and that man is immoral because he chooses to be that way. Indecency, vulgarity, and obscenity are things that only men know of because man invented them. Therefore, man is the only animal that blushes because only man has occasion to. Twain makes an arguement concerning man and war as well. The other animals engage only in individual fights while man must have wars. Man is willing to slaughter his own kind and take away the land of his brother. Man is the only animal who sets himself apart in his own country and is patriotic. This patriotism causes man to have armies and try at every turn to grab a slice of other men's countries.
Man is also the only religious animal. Man claims to love his neighbor as himself but is willing to cut the throat of his neighbor is he is not of the same religion. Man also claims to be the reasoning animal. Twain claims that the evidence of his experiments prove man does not reason but is a maniacal animal. His final experiment was to put a cat and a dog in a cage and teach them to be friendsin one hour. He then, in another hour, taught them to be friends with a rabbit. He continued in this manner until he had added a fox, a goose, a squirrel, doves, and a monkey. These higher animals lived in peace together. He then places some men in a cage. He added an Irish Catholic from Tipperary and a Scottish Presbyterian from Aberdeen. He next placed a Turk from Constantinople, a Greek Christian from Crete, an Armenian, a Methodist from Arkansas, a Buddhist from China, a Brahman from Benares, and a Salvation Army Colonel from Wapping into the cage. When Twain later came back to view the results the cage of higher animals were in perfect shape but the cage full of men had been reduced to an assortment of gory pieces. The so called reasoning animals had disagreed on some theological matter and taken the matter on.