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University, Court, and SlaveProslavery Academic Thought and Southern Jurisprudence, 1831–1861$
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Alfred L. Brophy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199964239

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964239.001.0001

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The Rebel and the Professor

The Rebel and the Professor

Nat Turner, Thomas Roderick Dew, and the Utility of Slavery

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 The Rebel and the Professor
Source:
University, Court, and Slave
Author(s):

Alfred L. Brophy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964239.003.0002

The Nat Turner rebellion of August 1831 sets this book in motion. In the wake of the violence of the rebellion and the brutal reprisals in its aftermath, the Virginia legislature debated a gradual abolition plan. Then William and Mary history professor Thomas Dew wrote an assessment of the debates and argued that slavery should not be ended. His extensive treatise surveyed the history of slavery from ancient times to the present and the economic utility of slavery in Virginia. Dew’s treatise, which subtly engaged with David Walker’s Appeal, argued that even gradual abolition of slavery was impractical. Dew’s treatise was persuasive to many; academics continued to expand on many of his themes from its publication in 1832 until the Civil War.

Keywords:   Nat Turner rebellion, David Walker’s Appeal, Thomas R. Dew, College of William and Mary, historical thought about slavery, colonization, gradual abolition, proslavery thought

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