Slaveholders' Dilemma: Freedom and Progress in Southern Conservative Thought, 1820-1860

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In antebellum times slaveholders perceived themselves as thoroughly modern and moral men who were protecting human progress against the perversions spawned by the more radical aspects of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. The slaveholders insisted that, in resisting the religious heresies, infidelity, ultra-democratic politics, and egalitarian dogmas then sweeping the North and Western Europe, they were proving themselves the firmest carriers of genuine progress itself. Surprisingly, they accepted the widespread ...

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