The Ideology of Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Antebellum South, 1830--1860 (Library of Southern Civilization)
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In one volume, these essentially unabridged selections from the works of the proslavery apologists are now conveniently accessible to scholars and students of the antebellum South. The Ideology of Slavery includes excerpts by Thomas R. Dew, founder of a new phase of proslavery militancy; William Harper and James Henry Hammond, representatives of the proslavery mainstream; Thornton Stringfellow, the most prominent biblical defender of the peculiar institution; Henry Hughes and Josiah Nott, who brought would-be scientism to the argument; and George Fitzhugh, the most extreme of proslavery writers.
The works in this collection portray the development, mature essence, and ultimate fragmentation of the proslavery argument during the era of its greatest importance in the American South. Drew Faust provides a short introduction to each selection, giving information about the author and an account of the origin and publication of the document itself.
Faust's introduction to the anthology traces the early historical treatment of proslavery thought and examines the recent resurgence of interest in the ideology of the Old South as a crucial component of powerful relations within that society. She notes the intensification of the proslavery argument between 1830 and 1860, when southern proslavery thought became more systematic and self-conscious, taking on the characteristics of a formal ideology with its resulting social movement. From this intensification came the pragmatic tone and inductive mode that the editor sees as a characteristic of southern proslavery writings from the 1830s onward. The selections, introductory comments, and bibliography of secondary works on the proslavery argument will be of value to readers interested in the history of slavery and of nineteenth-centruy American thought.
West. Fitzhugh's "opposition to interest or capital" one defender summarily dismissed as "foolish."4' In hoping to save southern civilization as they knew it, southerners sought to perpetuate rather than resolve the inconsistencies between their prebourgeois labor system and the bourgeois world market in which it flourished. 46. Donald, "The Proslavery Argument Reconsidered," 3. 47. Arthur C. Cole presents evidence for the direct influence of Fitzhugh on Lincoln's "house divided" speech. See
calculated to disturb the conscience of an honest slave-holder. No one can read it without seeing and admiring that the meek and humble Saviour of 61 THOMAS RODERICK DEW the world in no instance meddled with the established institutions of mankind—he came to save a fallen world, and not to excite the black passions of men and array them in deadly hostility against each other. From no one did he turn away; his plan was offered alike to all—to the monarch and the subject—the rich and the poor the
those of the abolitionists—could never serve as reliable bases for social organization. It was all very well, Dew counseled his fellow Virginians, to admit the abstract evils of slavery, but the relative dangers of the alternatives—abolition with or without colonization—were far greater.21 Dew called upon southerners to recognize the implications of their own social order and to assume responsibility for it. "One generation," as historian Eugene Genovese has remarked about the South in the years
famine, until he gathered up all the money; and when money failed, the Egyptians came and said, "Give us bread;" and Joseph said, "Give your cattle, and I will give for your cattle, if money fail." When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said, "There is not aught left in sight of my Lord, but our bodies and our lands. Buy us and our lands for bread." And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. So the land became Pharaoh's, and as for the people, he removed them
governments of every form, and Christian subjection on the part of servants to their masters, whether good or bad; for the purpose of showing forth to advantage, the glory of the Gospel, and putting to silence the ignorance of foolish men, who might think it seditious. By "every ordinance of man," as the context will show, is meant governmental regulations or laws, as was that of the Romans for enslaving their prisoners taken in war, instead of destroying their lives. When such enslaved persons