Defending Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Old South: A Brief History with Documents / Edition 1

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Within decades of the American Revolution, the Northern states had either ended slavery or provided for its gradual abolition. Slavery, however, was entrenched in the South and remained integral to American politics and culture. Nationally, it was protected by the U.S. Constitution, federal laws, and Supreme Court decisions, and slaveowners dominated all three branches of the federal government. From the time of the Revolution until the Civil War (and beyond), Southern thinkers offered a variety of proslavery arguments. This body of thought—based on religion, politics and law, economics, history, philosophy, expediency, and science—offers invaluable insights into how slavery shaped American history and continues to affect American society. In this volume, Paul Finkelman presents a representative selection of proslavery thought and includes an introduction that explores the history of slavery and the debate over it. His headnotes supply a rich context for each reading. The volume also includes a chronology, a selected bibliography, and illustrations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312133276
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 3/5/2003
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 237,107
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Finkelman is the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy and Senior Fellow in the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. His many books include Slavery in the Courtroom (1985), which received the Joseph L. Andrews Award from the American Association of Law Libraries; His Soul Goes Marching On; Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid (1995), which was a History Book Club selection; and Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson (second edition, 2002); and he is the co-author of A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States (2002). He edited Dred Scott v. Sandford: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford/St. Martin's, 1997), another volume in the Bedford Series in History and Culture. Finkelman has also published numerous scholarly articles on American legal history and race relations, and he lectures frequently on these subjects. In 1995, he was designated Virginia Historian of the Year by the Virginia Social Science Association.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Introduction: Defending Slavery

Northerners, Southerners, and Slavery

The Legitimacy of Slavery in Earlier Times
The Emergence of Slavery in Early America
The American Revolution Threatens Slavery
The Emergence of Proslavery Thought
The Outlines of Antebellum Proslavery Thought
Racial Theory and Ideology: The Key to Proslavery Thought

The Documents

Politics, Economics, and Proslavery Thought
1. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1787
2. John C. Calhoun, Speech in the U.S. Senate, 1837
3. Edmund Ruffin, The Political Economy of Slavery, 1853
4. Thomas R. R. Cobb, Effects of Abolition in the United States, 1858

5. James Henry Hammond, The Mudsill Speech, 1858

6. Alexander Stephens, The Cornerstone Speech, 1861

Religion and Slavery

7. Reverend A.T. Holmes, The Duties of Christian Masters, 1851

8. DeBow’s Review, Slavery and the Bible, 1850

9. Protestant Episcopal Convention of South Carolina, Duty of Clergymen in Relation to the Marriage of Slaves, 1859

10. Thornton Stringfellow, The Bible Argument: Or, Slavery in the Light of Divine Revelation, 1860

The Law in Defense of Slavery

11. North Carolina Supreme Court, State v. Mann (Opinion of Thomas Ruffin), 1829

12. U.S. Supreme Court, Dred Scott v. Sandford (Opinion of Roger B. Taney), 1857

13. Thomas R. R. Cobb, What Is Slavery, and Its Foundation in the Natural Law, 1858

Racial Theory and Slavery

14. Samuel Cartwright, Report on the Diseases of and Physical Peculiarities of the Negro Race, 1851
15. William J. Grayson, The Hireling and the Slave, 1854
16. George Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South, 1854, and Cannibals All! 1857

17. Josiah C. Nott, Instincts of Races, 1866

A Slavery Chronology (1619-1870)
Questions for Consideration
Selected Bibliography


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