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Love's Whipping BoyViolence and Sentimentality in the American Imagination$
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Elizabeth Barnes

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834565

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877968_barnes

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Fathers of Violence

Fathers of Violence

Frederick Douglass, John Brown, and the Radical Reproduction of Sensibility

(p.83) Chapter 3 Fathers of Violence
Love's Whipping Boy

Elizabeth Barnes

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines George Fitzhugh's infamous critique of northern capitalism, in which he proposes southern slavery as evincing the most humane, most affectionate, and most liberating relationships to be found in the Western Hemisphere. Knowing their place in the hierarchy of human relations and protected by masters who act with the instinct of fathers, “negro slaves of the South are the happiest, and, in some sense, the freest people in the world.” Although misguided abolitionists might succeed in eradicating slavery, observes Fitzhugh, “human law cannot beget benevolence, affection, maternal and paternal love. . . . It can never create between the capitalist and the laborer, between the employer and the employed, the kind and affectionate relations that usually exist between master and slave.”

Keywords:   George Fitzhugh, northern capitalism, southern slavery, liberating relationships, Western Hemisphere

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