By Jeremy J. Tewell
A Self-Evident Lie explores and underscores the terror and complicated that 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 possibly it now not be utilized with equivalent morality to whites in addition to blacks? Republicans time and again expressed hindrance that proslavery arguments weren't inherently racial. regardless of race, someone may possibly fall sufferer to the argument that they have been “inferior,” that they'd be at an advantage enslaved, that their enslavement served the pursuits of society, or that their subjugation used to be justified by way of historical past and religion.
In trenchant and swish prose, Jeremy Tewell argues that a few Republicans, such a lot particularly Abraham Lincoln, held that the one potent guard of person liberty used to be common liberty, as expressed within the assertion of Independence. so long as americans 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 phase 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 susceptible to proslavery rationales, specially once they occurred to occupy a place of political, social, or monetary weak point. Black dermis have been stigmatized as a badge of servitude, yet there has been not anything to assure that white pores and skin may consistently function an unimpeachable badge of freedom.
This used to be a huge topic in Lincoln’s crusade opposed to Stephen A. Douglas and was once a key argument opposed to using well known sovereignty because the procedure for settling on slavery’s prestige within the territories. in line with Tewell, Lincoln’s maximum problem used to be to persuade northern audiences that straightforward indifference to slavery used to be itself inimical to the freedom of whites.
A Self-Evident Lie will intrigue someone drawn to concerns with regards to Lincoln, slavery and antislavery, the Civil struggle, and American highbrow history.
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Additional info 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