This article engages with the recent scholarship of Mark Mazower and Jeanne Morefield regarding the South African and Commonwealth statesman Jan Christian Smuts (1870–1950), and in particular with their contention that Smuts was preoccupied with issues of racial superiority, and that this was his main motivator in matters of politics, both internationally and domestically. However, during his lifetime Smuts did not see the ‘Native question’ in the form in which it manifested from the 1950s onwards. It is therefore unfair and inaccurate to over-emphasise the racial question when writing about Smuts. Any historical account of Smuts must keep at least one eye on what Smuts could not have foreseen and must place Smuts in the context of his own time. Progression from smaller to greater wholes – one white nation instead of two language sections; a united South Africa instead of divided colonies and republics; membership of self-governing Dominions in a single British Commonwealth, and membership of international organisations, in particular the League of Nations, and later the United Nations – these were the ends to which Smuts’ energies were unreservedly devoted throughout his career. This is the correct lens through which to view Smuts’ liberal credentials.