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White Over BlackAmerican Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812$
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Winthrop D. Jordan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834022

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838686_jordan

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The Negro Bound by the Chain of Being

The Negro Bound by the Chain of Being

(p.482) XIII The Negro Bound by the Chain of Being
White Over Black

Winthrop D. Jordan

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes mankind as existing in an untidy variety of shapes and colors, and it was essential that this natural disarray should submit to some universal, ordering principle of nature. Americans, especially, had reason to sense a discordant note when they contemplated the status of Africans in their new empire of liberty. Here lay the makings of an interesting dilemma: what would happen if the passion for system in nature should conflict with the yearning for a harmoniously ordered society? That any scientific answer concerning the variability of man would have ramifications for a vital social issue did not alter the necessity of finding some explanation. Most philosophers hoped that their findings would comport with the dictates of benevolence, but the misery of the slave could never be allowed to dictate to God's creation.

Keywords:   Africans, nature, liberty, ordered society, ordering principle

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