By Jeremy J. Tewell
A Self-Evident Lie explores and underscores the terror and complicated that means of “slavery” to northerners sooner than the Civil battle. Many northerners requested: If slavery used to be the beneficent and paternalistic establishment that southerners claimed, might it now not be utilized with equivalent morality to whites in addition to blacks? Republicans many times expressed predicament that proslavery arguments weren't inherently racial. without reference to race, an individual may 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 was once justified by way of historical past and religion.
In trenchant and swish prose, Jeremy Tewell argues that a few Republicans, such a lot significantly Abraham Lincoln, held that the one powerful protect of person liberty used to be common liberty, as expressed within the announcement 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 excuses intended to exclude a section of society from the rights of guy labored to break the self-evidence of these very rights. for this reason, through failing to repudiate slavery—thus rejecting the universality of human liberty—northerners made themselves prone to proslavery rationales, specially once they occurred to occupy a place of political, social, or financial weak spot. Black epidermis have been stigmatized as a badge of servitude, yet there has been not anything to assure that white epidermis might regularly function an unimpeachable badge of freedom.
This used to be an immense topic in Lincoln’s crusade opposed to Stephen A. Douglas and was once a key argument opposed to using well known sovereignty because the strategy for making a choice on slavery’s prestige within the territories. in response to Tewell, Lincoln’s maximum problem used to be to persuade northern audiences that easy indifference to slavery was once itself inimical to the freedom of whites.
A Self-Evident Lie will intrigue an individual drawn to concerns on the topic of Lincoln, slavery and antislavery, the Civil warfare, 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