Fanatical Schemes: Proslavery Rhetoric and the Tragedy of Consensus / Edition 2

Fanatical Schemes: Proslavery Rhetoric and the Tragedy of Consensus / Edition 2

by Patricia Roberts-Miller
     
 

ISBN-10: 0817356533

ISBN-13: 9780817356538

Pub. Date: 04/28/2010

Publisher: University of Alabama Press

What was the relationship between rhetoric and slavery, and how did rhetoric fail as an alternative to violence, becoming instead its precursor?
 
Fanatical Schemes is a study of proslavery rhetoric in the 1830s. A common understanding of the antebellum slavery debate is that the increased stridency of abolitionists in the 1830s, particularly the

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Overview

What was the relationship between rhetoric and slavery, and how did rhetoric fail as an alternative to violence, becoming instead its precursor?
 
Fanatical Schemes is a study of proslavery rhetoric in the 1830s. A common understanding of the antebellum slavery debate is that the increased stridency of abolitionists in the 1830s, particularly the abolitionist pamphlet campaign of 1835, provoked proslavery politicians into greater intransigence and inflammatory rhetoric. Patricia Roberts-Miller argues that, on the contrary, inflammatory rhetoric was inherent to proslavery ideology and predated any shift in abolitionist practices.
 
She examines novels, speeches, and defenses of slavery written after the pamphlet controversy to underscore the tenets of proslavery ideology and the qualities that made proslavery rhetoric effective. She also examines anti-abolitionist rhetoric in newspapers from the spring of 1835 and the history of slave codes (especially anti-literacy laws) to show that anti-abolitionism and extremist rhetoric long preceded more strident abolitionist activity in the 1830s.
 
The consensus that was achieved by proslavery advocates, argues Roberts-Miller, was not just about slavery, nor even simply about race. It was also about manhood, honor, authority, education, and political action. In the end, proslavery activists worked to keep the realm of public discourse from being a place in which dominant points of view could be criticized--an achievement that was, paradoxically, both a rhetorical success and a tragedy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780817356538
Publisher:
University of Alabama Press
Publication date:
04/28/2010
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: "Industrious in scattering the seeds of insurrection" 1

1 "Slavery shall not be discussed": The Political Power of the Irrational Rhetor 18

2 "With firm, undaunted resolution": The Rhetoric of Doom 46

3 "A deep conviction, settled on every bosom": Alarmism, Conspiracy, and Unification 72

4 "For the sake of your wives, children and their posterity": Manly Politics 103

5 "Careless of the Consequences": Extended Defenses of Slavery 127

6 "Our laws to regulate slaves are entirely founded on terror": The Political Theory of Slave Codes 159

7 "The Sweet Waters of Concord and Union": Proslavery Rhetoric in a Deliberative Setting 187

Conclusion: "Any rational plan": The Responsibilities of Rhetoric 211

Notes 239

Works Cited 259

Index 275

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