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

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Cambridge University Press, 2005 M10 17
The Mind of the Master Class tells of America's greatest historical tragedy. It presents the slaveholders as men and women, a great many of whom were intelligent, honorable, and pious. It asks how people who were admirable in so many ways could have presided over a social system that proved itself an enormity and inflicted horrors on their 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. Even those who judge their way of life most harshly have much to learn from their probing moral and political reflections on their times - and ours - beginning with the virtues and failings of their own society and culture.
 

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User Review  - wildbill - LibraryThing

I enjoyed this book immensely. It greatly added to my knowledge and understanding of the ante-bellum South and why secession and the Civil War occurred. Reading this book was like reading one of the ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese is Elonore 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 (2002008). 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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