By Jeremy J. Tewell
A Self-Evident Lie explores and underscores the phobia and intricate which means of “slavery” to northerners sooner than the Civil battle. Many northerners requested: If slavery was once 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 again and again expressed challenge that proslavery arguments weren't inherently racial. regardless of race, somebody may possibly 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 used to be justified by way of heritage and religion.
In trenchant and sleek prose, Jeremy Tewell argues that a few Republicans, so much significantly Abraham Lincoln, held that the single potent protect of person liberty was once common liberty, as expressed within the announcement of Independence. so long as american citizens believed that “all males” have been endowed with inalienable rights to existence, 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. hence, via failing to repudiate slavery—thus rejecting the universality of human liberty—northerners made themselves liable to proslavery rationales, particularly once they occurred to occupy a place of political, social, or financial weak point. Black epidermis were stigmatized as a badge of servitude, yet there has been not anything to assure that white epidermis might continuously function an unimpeachable badge of freedom.
This was once an incredible subject in Lincoln’s crusade opposed to Stephen A. Douglas and was once a key argument opposed to using well known sovereignty because the technique for picking out slavery’s prestige within the territories. based on Tewell, Lincoln’s maximum problem was once 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 concerns regarding Lincoln, slavery and antislavery, the Civil warfare, and American highbrow history.
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Extra 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