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The Ideology of Slavery

Proslavery Thought in the Antebellum South, 1830–1860

Drew Gilpin Faust

Publication Year: 1981

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.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Series: Library of Southern Civilization

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-x

The pages that follow attempt to portray the development, mature essence, and ultimate fragmentation of proslavery thought during the era of its greatest importance in the American South. Although recent years have witnessed an intensification...

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Introduction: The Proslavery Argument in History

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pp. 1-20

The controversy over slavery in the antebellum United States did not end with abolition of the South's peculiar institution. In the century that has followed Appomattox, historians have debated the sources and meaning of the slavery agitation...

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I. Thomas Roderick Dew: Abolition of Negro Slavery

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pp. 21-77

Thomas Roderick Dew was born in 1802 in Tidewater Virginia to a plantation-owning family that had been in America since the midseventeenth century. In 1818, he enrolled at the College of William and Mary, where he quickly rose...

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II. William Harper: Memoir on Slavery

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pp. 78-135

William Harper was born in Antigua in 1790, the son of a Presbyterian minister who moved with his family to Charleston in 1799. Young Harper graduated from South Carolina College in 1808 and was admitted to the bar in...

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III. Thornton Stringfellow: A Brief Examination of Scripture Testimony on the Institution of Slavery

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pp. 136-167

Thornton Stringfellow was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, in 1788, and except for a brief period of residence in South Carolina lived in Fauquier and nearby Culpeper counties all his life.1 Son of a slaveholder who owned nearly...

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IV. James Henry Hammond: Letter to an English Abolitionist

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pp. 168-205

James Henry Hammond was born in South Carolina in 1807. Son of a schoolmaster who had moved South at the turn of the century, young Hammond graduated from South Carolina College in 1825. After several years teaching...

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V. Josiah C. Nott: Two Lectures on the Natural History of the Caucasian and Negro Races

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pp. 206-238

Josiah Nott was born in 1804 to a prominent South Carolina family. At the age of twenty, he graduated from South Carolina College, where he was a close friend of James Henry Hammond. Nott studied at the College of Physicians and Surgeons...

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VI. Henry Hughes: Treatise on Sociology

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pp. 239-271

Born in 1829, Henry Hughes grew up in Port Gibson, Mississippi. In 1847 he graduated from Oakland College in his native state, then went on to New Orleans to study law and to Paris to pursue such varied subjects as architecture...

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VII. George Fitzhugh: Southern Thought

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pp. 272-299

George Fitzhugh was born in 1804 in Prince William County, Virgina. Although he was descended from one of Virginia's oldest and most prominent families, Fitzhugh himself was never prosperous. The agricultural decline...

Selected Bibliography of Secondary Works on the Proslavery Argument

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pp. 301-306

E-ISBN-13: 9780807153956
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807108925

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 1981

Series Title: Library of Southern Civilization