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Frederick Douglass and George Fitzhugh disagreed on virtually every major issue of the day. On slavery, women's rights, and the preservation of the Union their opinions were diametrically opposed. Where Douglass thundered against the evils of slavery, Fitzhugh counted its many alleged blessings in ways that would make modern readers cringe. What then could the leading abolitionist of the day and the most prominent southern proslavery intellectual possibly have in common? According to David F. Ericson, the answer is as surprising as it is simple; liberalism.

In The Debate Over Slavery David F. Ericson makes the controversial argument that despite their many ostensible differences, most Northern abolitionists and Southern defenders of slavery shared many common commitments: to liberal principles; to the nation; to the nation's special mission in history; and to secular progress. He analyzes, side-by-side, pro and antislavery thinkers such as Lydia Marie Child, Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, Thomas R. Dew, and James Fitzhugh to demonstrate the links between their very different ideas and to show how, operating from liberal principles, they came to such radically different conclusions. His raises disturbing questions about liberalism that historians, philosophers, and political scientists cannot afford to ignore.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. ix
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  1. Part I
  2. p. 1
  1. 1. The Liberal Consensus Thesisand Slavery
  2. pp. 3-13
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  1. 2. The Antislavery and Proslavery Arguments
  2. pp. 14-36
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  1. Part II
  2. p. 37
  1. 3. Child, Douglass, and Antislavery Liberalism
  2. pp. 39-61
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  1. 4. Wendell Phillips Liberty and Union
  2. pp. 62-90
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  1. Part III
  2. p. 91
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  1. 5. Dew, Fitzhugh, and Proslavery Liberalism
  2. pp. 93-120
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  1. 6. James H. Hammond Slavery and Union
  2. pp. 121-153
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  1. Part IV
  2. p. 155
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  1. 7. The “House Divided” and Civil-War Causation
  2. pp. 157-165
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 167-233
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 235-240
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  1. About the Author
  2. p. 241
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814722909
Related ISBN
9780814722121
MARC Record
OCLC
179087875
Pages
252
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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