The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders' Worldview

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9780521615624: The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders' Worldview

Presenting many slaveholders as intelligent, honorable and pious men and women, this study asks how people who were admirable in so many ways could have presided over a social system that inflicted gross abuse on slaves. The South had formidable proslavery intellectuals who participated fully in transatlantic debates and boldly challenged an ascendant capitalist ("free-labor") society. Blending classical and Christian traditions, they forged a moral and political philosophy designed to sustain conservative principles in history, political economy, social theory, and theology, while translating them into political action.

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Book Description:

The Mind of the Master Class tells of America's greatest historical tragedy. A great many of the slaveholding men and women were intelligent, honorable, and pious; yet, these very people, admirable in so many ways, presided over a social system that proved itself an enormity and inflicted horrors on their slaves. Even now, there is much to be learned from their moral and political reflections on their times--and ours.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese is Eléonore Raoul Professor of the Humanities at Emory University, where she was founding director of Women's Studies. She is Editor of The Journal of The Historical Society and serves on the Governing Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities (2002-2008). In 2003 President George Bush honored her with a National Humanities Medal, and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars honored her with its Cardinal Wright Award. Among her books and published lectures are: The Origins of Physiocracy: Economic Revolution and Social Order in Eighteenth-Century France; Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South; and Feminism without Illusions: A Critique of Individualism.

Eugene D. Genovese, a retired professor of history, served as first president of The Historical Society. Among his books are Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made; The Slaveholders' Dilemma: Southern Conservative Thought, 1820-1860; and A Consuming Fire: The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South. Fox-Genovese and Genovese serve on the editorial boards of a number of scholarly journals and are co-authors of Fruits of Merchant Capital: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capitalism. In 2004 The Intercollegiate Studies Institute presented them jointly with its Gerhard Niemeyer Award for Distinguished Contributions to Scholarship in the Liberal Arts.

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