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Proslavery: A History of the Defense of Slavery in America, 1701-1840 Paperback – September 1, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. In a sweeping examination of the point at which America's "Revolutionary ideology" was finally supplanted by an ascendant counterrevolutionary response to a rising tide of abolitionism, he documents his conviction that the defense of slaveryespecially after the so-called Missouri compromise and the public arguments against slavery by such voices as that of William Lloyd Garrison in Liberatorwas neither a sectional, nor a Southern, but a national phenomenon. Tise chronicles a constant stream of books, articles, pamphlets and sermonshis chapter on the growth of proslavery arguments by clergy, usually derived from narrow interpretations of Scripture, is illuminatingand 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. Tise is director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Illustrations.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Historians generally associate proslavery thought and rhetoric with the Old South, seeing it as the response of self-interested planters to the threats of abolitionism . . . Through extensive research, Tise makes a compelling case that the proslavery arguments of the Old South were neither unique nor stated with greater conviction than in other parts of the nation. He finds the roots of proslavery thought among New England's Federalists and conservative ministers, men who feared slave rebellion and doubted the wisdom of the libertarian ideology of the American Revolution . . . A clearly written, closely argued thesis built on thorough use of primary sources.

(Choice)

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.

(Publishers Weekly)

Tise challenges everything that has long been held sacred by historians of the proslavery movement. Moreover, he offers us not simply a revisionist but a revolutionary thesis. He has severed proslavery from slavery and found its home in the very place where others had detected the origins of abolitionism. Most significantly, Tise has redefined proslavery thought

(Kenneth S. Greenberg American Historical Review)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820323969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820323961
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,521,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Thomas K. Carberry on April 22, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Did you know Dartmouth and Princeton pumped out pro-slavery preachers? Did you know many of the justifications for slavery came from the Bible? Did you know that much of the debate of slavery came not over its morality, but over its cost benefit analysis and bottom line profit margin?

Or that President Woodrow Wilson's father made his name preaching in favor of slavery?

Slavery remains with us to this day in the 13th Amendment and all Americans should read about our evil past, I think.
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Format: Paperback
I read Larry Tise's Proslavery not long after it was published, because I was asked to review it. I found it well written, but somewhat dense, yet very rewarding. Some antebellum wit said of the region, "alas for the South, her books have grown fewer, she never was much for literature."

While some can think of exceptions to that statement, it was generally true. White Southerners were not a bookish people, and did not produce, or read, volumes by the carload. If you subtract titles in law, political philosophy, and theology, the list is even shorter. What Tise does is trace the origins of the pro-slavery defense or "positive good" argument back to its origins among New England clergy and other northern thinkers and writers. His volume, at just over five hundred pages, is not easy reading, but he deals with an important subject, has an original thesis, and proves many of his points.

Michael B. Chesson
Founding Professor and Dean
The American College of History & Legal Studies
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A useful book for students of early American history. The author challenges popularly held beliefs as to origins of support for the intuition of slavery. Tise does an excellent job making his case.
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Format: Hardcover
I was excited to get my hands on this book by Larry E. Tise. I was hoping that it would be a reliable discription of the arguments that were used by those who argued for slavery. Not only was I diappointed, I found myself becoming rather irritated at the author's general thesis, which, I think he failed to "prove". He is trying to show that the southern pro-slavery argument was not "southern", but that it originated in, what he calls "conservative rebublicanism" of New England. At least that is what I understood him to be aruging.

Certainly there were northerners who were anti-abolition and were proslave, so what? Certainly there were ministers from New England who were pro-slavery, so what? There were also scores of New England clergy other people who were opposed to slavery. Tise seems to think that by showing there were a bunch of northerns who were proslavery that proves that the southerns got the ideas to defend slavery from them. Or, as he says "that it was spurred by impluses from outside the South, and that nonsoutherners as well as nonsouthern ideas were chiefly responsible for the transformation" Please.

Honestly, I think Tise misses the truth here.
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