The Freedom-of-Thought Struggle in the Old South. Our only quarrel with Socialism is, that it will not honestly admit that it owes its recent revival to the failure of universal liberty, and is seeking to bring about slavery again in some form. He has no liberty, and not a single right… We agree with Mr. It is, no doubt, an honest, vulgar way of living; but not at all a respectable way. You treat your horses and hounds better. Or Slaves Without Masters 1857 Background: George Fitzhugh was one of the most prominent intellectuals in the antebellum South.
In 1869 congress terminated the Bureau. At mid-century, Fitzhugh's Caroline County had an African American majority, and a majority of the whole population was enslaved. But filled they must be by some one, and in free society, half of its members are employed in occupations that are not considered or treated as respectable. The free laborer must work or starve. They enjoy liberty, because they are oppressed neither by care nor labor.
Before the war he worked in Washington, D. Fitzhugh's postwar writings denigrated African Americans' abilities and argued that would unfit them for manual labor. Further Reading on George Fitzhugh The only full-length study of Fitzhugh is Harvey Wish, George Fitzhugh: Propagandist of the Old South 1943 , which also contains a useful bibliography of proslavery writings and related works. That would be vulgar, disreputable, criminal. I had to read it. Rather than investigate the changes that were unsettling his neighbors in eastern Virginia, Fitzhugh idealized the society of slaveholders.
The alternatives are never that simple, of course, but some such dilemma must always plague any exercise in intellectual history. George Fitzhugh was the most noted of the proslavery intellectuals. In it, he took on not only , the foundational thinker of capitalism, but also , , and the entire liberal tradition. Using the same material that Karl Marx would use ten years later in Das Kapital, Fitzhugh predicted that the exploitation of labor in Northern society, driven by self-interest, would become steadily worse. Fitzhugh's Tidewater Virginia society was changing rapidly.
If you endow colleges, you rear up cunning, voracious exploitators to devour the poor. Vann Woodward points out, was neither insincere nor unreasonable. In slave society, one white man does not lord it over another; for all are equal in privilege, if not in wealth; and the poorest would not become a menial hold your horse and then extend his hand or his hat for a gratuity, were you to proffer him the wealth of the Indies. This book is an awfulness. Fitzhugh suggested a military stratregy that was not used but could cause problems for the South. When children grow up, they become independent and this paternal love is transferred to his grandchildren.
In Sociology for the South, Fitzhugh has many thoughts on slavery. Later Years Partly because Fitzhugh neglected his law practice in order to write, in 1857 he sought a patronage appointment in the administration of President James Buchanan and took a temporary salaried job in the attorney general's office in Washington, D. Also remember that following abolition, Fitzhugh would be easily able to argue that he was correct. Fitzhugh aimed his proslavery writings to provoke reactions from opponents, but he articulated a resilient social mythology of slaveholder paternalism. Labor is indispensable to give value to property, and if you owned every thing else, and did not own labor, you would be poor.
No wonder men should prefer white slavery to capital, to negro slavery, since it is more profitable, and is free from all the cares and labors of black slave-holding. It is the only trade worth following, and slaves the only property worth owning. In 1829 he married Mary Metcalf Brockenbrough and moved near Port Royal, Virginia, where he had obtained a small plantation through marriage, and practiced law. That is: productive citizens, or children who will grow up and become productive citizens. Join Our Mailing List: to receive information about forthcoming books, seasonal catalogs, and more, in newsletters tailored to your interests.
The ordinary relations of men are not competitive and antagonistic as in free-society; and selfishness is not general, but exceptionable. His subject matter included literary criticism, history, genealogy, and general topics, though all were directly or indirectly supportive of his major conviction of the validity of the slavery system. Fitzhugh in 1855 Personal details Born 1806-11-04 4 November 1806 , U. Fitzhugh was a bold and ambitious writer, not tempering his generalizations with qualifications or admitting the legitimacy of alternative arguments. What society needed, he wrote, was slavery, not just for blacks, but for whites as well.
He is buried in a grave in , Huntsville, where his daughter, Mariella Fitzhugh Foster and her husband Capt. Booksellers and Librarians: Our recent titles are available via. Whilst you were engaged in amassing your capital, in seeking to become independent, you were in the White Slave Trade. He used socialist doctrine to defend slavery and drew upon the same evidence Marx used in his indictment of capitalism. In Europe, lands sell much higher than at the North; hence laborers are less free in fact than at the North. Indeed, they have not a single right or a single liberty, unless it be the right or liberty to die. Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of The American Civil War, Oxford University Press.