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University, Court, and SlaveProslavery Academic Thought and Southern Jurisprudence, 1831–1861$
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Alfred L. Brophy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199964239

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964239.001.0001

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Slavery, Property, and Constitutionalism in the Secession Debates

Slavery, Property, and Constitutionalism in the Secession Debates

Chapter:
(p.275) 12 Slavery, Property, and Constitutionalism in the Secession Debates
Source:
University, Court, and Slave
Author(s):

Alfred L. Brophy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964239.003.0013

With the election of Lincoln in November 1860, southern politicians, judges, and academics joined together to articulate a robust defense of slavery and property rights in humans and they took action together to shape public opinion in favor of secession. Many of the southern academics who argued in favor of slavery in their scholarship turned to public advocacy to make the case for secession. In the secession debates, the importance of slavery to the southern economy and southern culture loomed large. Many argued that Lincoln’s election threatened the continued existence of slavery. The arguments so carefully developed and promulgated in southern academic and legal circles supported the case for secession. Together, the wealthy and powerful told each other that what they were doing was right. In that way, they brought about Civil War and the destruction of slavery. They were, quite inadvertently, important vehicles for the end of slavery.

Keywords:   James P. Holcombe, University of Virginia, Thomas R. R. Cobb, secession, property, slavery, Abraham Lincoln’s election, Civil War

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