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When Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings he was hoping to create a mythology for the British people that seemed to exist in other peoples like the Norse and Germanic peoples. Like many cultures, ancient peoples believed that humans were one of many races of beings that existed the the most ancient of times.
The elves were some of the oldest of the races and had learned much wisdom through the ages. They are viewed with high respect in Tolkien's work. Dwarves are seen as greedy and myopic and so concerned with the search for underground riches that they care little for anyone else. Humans are viewed as a great race with great potential but with one major weakness: a lust for power. It was a human that failed to destroy the ring in LOTR. It was also Boromir, a human, who tried to take the ring from Frodo.
Thus, in Tolkien's thought humanity would continue into our modern age while the other races faded away, but the jury would still be out on how man would govern the world.
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