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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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Pro-slavery Academic Thought in the 1840s and 1850s

Pro-slavery Academic Thought in the 1840s and 1850s

(p.48) 2 Pro-slavery Academic Thought in the 1840s and 1850s
University, Court, and Slave

Alfred L. Brophy

Oxford University Press

Many academics built on Thomas Dew’s arguments about proslavery thought in the 1840s and 1850s. Where Dew had largely focused on the virtues of slavery for white people (such as its economic utility and its role in promoting equality of white people), others began to write about slavery’s supposed advantages for the enslaved themselves. They were responding to the increasingly powerful abolitionist critique of slavery. The academics’ proslavery arguments often built a political theory of hierarchy. It emphasized the inequality of enslaved people and argued that enslaved people were not fit for freedom. This discusses the writing of faculty at schools from the University of Virginia, Randolph Macon College, and Washington College in Virginia to Mercer University in Georgia and the Greensboro Female Seminary in Alabama, among many others. Together this reveals the substantial writings by faculty supporting slavery and the shifting nature of the thought as antislavery writers gained prominence.

Keywords:   University of Virginia, Randolph Macon College, proslavery academic thought, university faculty and slavery, political theory of slavery

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