By Jeremy J. Tewell
A Self-Evident Lie explores and underscores the phobia and intricate which means of “slavery” to northerners ahead of the Civil struggle. Many northerners requested: If slavery used to be the beneficent and paternalistic establishment that southerners claimed, may well it now not be utilized with equivalent morality to whites in addition to blacks? Republicans many times expressed hindrance that proslavery arguments weren't inherently racial. regardless of race, a person might fall sufferer to the argument that they have been “inferior,” that they might be at an advantage enslaved, that their enslavement served the pursuits of society, or that their subjugation was once justified via historical past and religion.
In trenchant and swish prose, Jeremy Tewell argues that a few Republicans, so much significantly Abraham Lincoln, held that the one powerful shield of person liberty used to be common liberty, as expressed within the assertion of Independence. so long as american citizens believed that “all males” have been endowed with inalienable rights to lifestyles, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, everyone’s liberty will be self-evident, despite circumstance.
Conversely, the reasons intended to exclude a section of society from the rights of guy labored to spoil the self-evidence of these very rights. for this reason, via failing to repudiate slavery—thus rejecting the universality of human liberty—northerners made themselves at risk of proslavery rationales, specially once they occurred to occupy a place of political, social, or fiscal weak point. Black epidermis were stigmatized as a badge of servitude, yet there has been not anything to assure that white dermis might regularly function an unimpeachable badge of freedom.
This was once an important subject in Lincoln’s crusade opposed to Stephen A. Douglas and was once a key argument opposed to using renowned sovereignty because the approach for settling on slavery’s prestige within the territories. in keeping with Tewell, Lincoln’s maximum problem used to be to persuade northern audiences that easy indifference to slavery was once itself inimical to the freedom of whites.
A Self-Evident Lie will intrigue someone attracted to matters concerning Lincoln, slavery and antislavery, the Civil warfare, and American highbrow history.
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Additional resources for A Self-Evident Lie: Southern Slavery and the Threat to American Freedom (American Abolitionism and Antislavery)
A Self-Evident Lie: Southern Slavery and the Threat to American Freedom (American Abolitionism and Antislavery) by Jeremy J. Tewell