"Tise here studies the 'proslavery ideology, a mode of thinking . . . and a system of symbols that expressed the social, cultural and moral values of a large portion of the American population' in the first half of the 19th century . . . Tise chronicles a constant stream of books, articles, pamphlets and sermons—his chapter on the growth of proslavery arguments by clergy, usually derived from narrow interpretations of Scripture, is illuminating—and builds to a remarkable and probably controversial exploration of the 'proslavery Republicanism,' which he sees as the full flowering of the conservative Federalist viewpoint that had only temporarily been defeated by America's founding fathers when they framed our Constitution."
Proslavery rhetoric, Tise shows, came late to the South, where the heritage of Jefferson's ideals was strongest and where, as late as the 1830s, most slaveowners would have agreed that slavery was an evil to be removed as soon as possible. When the rhetoric did come, it was often in the portmanteau of ministers who moved south from New England, and it arrived as part of a full-blown ideology. When the South finally did embrace proslavery, the region was placed not at the periphery of American thought but in its mainstream.
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