Beginning with Nathan Beverley Tucker, a professor at William and Mary, this chapter introduces the key themes of the book: that southern academics developed lengthy defenses of slavery based on political theory of hierarchy, the economic utility of slavery, and the centrality of slavery to human history. Those arguments help us understand how southern politicians and judges reasoned about slavery and help us view the motives of Southerners as they became increasingly aggressive in promoting slavery and, ultimately, moved toward Civil War.
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