Description: Early antebellum defenders of slavery acknowledged that slavery created problems for southern society. They contended, however, that slave society was better and more natural than other forms of social organization. Thomas R. Dew, William Harper, and James Henry Hammond each expressed a social philosophy in which slavery had a crucial role in preserving social order. They argued from the basis of social organicism, the idea that society should have an elite that controlled the masses. For all three men, slavery represented a system of order that helped balance the dangers of democracy. Significantly, however, all three men recognized that the slave system was not perfect, and despite their defense of slavery, argued that it was a human institution and therefore corruptible.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Austin, Clara