"Southerners did not stop with an open defense of slavery. They went on to attack northern society for its 'wage slavery' and 'exploitation of workers,' using arguments repeated by socialist critics of capitalism. The southern writer who developed these arguments most extensively was George Fitzhugh, a Virginia planter and lawyer. His two books were provocatively entitled Sociology for the South: Or the Failure of the Free Society and Cannibals All! Or Slaves Without Masters. In them, Fitzhugh defended slavery as a practical form of socialism that provided contented slaves with paternalistic masters, thereby eliminating harsh conflicts between employers and allegedly free workers. 'A Southern farm is the beau ideal of Communism; it is a joint concern, in which the slave ... is far happier, because ... he is always sure of support.' ... 'The best governed countries, and which have prospered the most, have always been distinguished for the number and stringency of their laws,' he wrote; 'liberty is an evil which government is intended to correct.'"
Emancipating the Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War (Chicago: Open Court, 1996), p. 23
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Reader comments about this quote:
Slavery as a totally assumed socialism. enlightening.
 -- Bruno, Paris     
     -- c.s.      
    The Civil War was not fought to end slavery. Lincoln's stated purpose was to preserve the Union and thereby maintain the control of the Southern states by the federal government. The slavery issue was brought up late into the war to bolster waning support of the Union cause. Lincoln was attempting to take the moral high ground so to speak. We have Lincoln and the Union victory to thank for the massive federal government we have today along with the abolition of state's rights.
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
  • 1
    The Civil War was not about slavery, rather about the south's right to suceed from the union. As to the end of the quote, more government results in less liberty.
     -- Anonymous     
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    This isn't really about the Civil War or leaving the Union. This is about how advocates of slavery said that their system was similar to socialism and communism, and was thus more just than the "wage slavery" of capitalism, and how socialists still use the same arguments (without the slavery part, of course).
     -- Yndrd1984, Ames, IA     
     -- Poo?, Poo?     
    The Civil War was first and foremost about the balance of power in Congress between the northern mostly industrial and business states and the agrarian economy of the south. Count up the senators for each region and see what will happen to the balance as new, western states enter the union as free states. The more interesting aspect of this quote is the drive by our current half-breed President to establish the socialism of the plantation system for all. Ironic isn't it.
     -- J B Wulff, Bristol     
    The northern coal miners had it worse than slavery. The only difference was that they were not slaves in name. They only had company store certificates to spend only at the company store and could never leave their jobs until the debt was settled with the company stores-which it never was! The Robber Barons up north could care less avout slavery. They only wanted high tarriffs to force southerners to buy all their products from the rich industrialists. The slaves in the south had a much more comfortable retirement.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    THE CIVIL WAR WAS! ABOUT SLAVERY. The south seceded because they saw that Lincoln would move to end slavery. They knew about his "house divided speech" and knew that his new Republican Party was an abolitionist party. Contray to Fitzhugh the Federal Governmet was and still is in the business of insuring LIBERTY for all just as it did by winning the Civil War at great cost I remind you. 150,000 Union deaths to 75,000 Confederate deaths. The industrial revolution was brutal to workingmen every where it is true. That pragmatism has prevailed over ideologies like capitalism, socialism etc is the greatest accomplisment of these United States.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    THE CIVIL WAR WAS NOT ABOUT SLAVERY, IT WAS ABOUT FEDERAL CONTROL. Lincoln used slavery as his politically correct vehicle to impose Federalist policies and laws so his business criminal buddies could manipulate markets. HE was the first in a long line of FASCIST PRESIDENTS and couldn't give a Rat's a*s about "liberty". lol You're a lot of fun Waffler. :)
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Good educational quote! Democrats haven't changed much have they! The civil war was about slavery you dopes! Learn your history and then learn to think and reason.
     -- warren, olathe     
    Most of you seem to miss the point of the quote. We can debate the cause/purpose of the Civil War all day as well as Lincoln's intent. That is not the significance of the quote. Its point is to show the ideology of those who espouse socialism and communism as the ideal verses those of us who believe in liberty. I believe we do, don't we?
     -- S Petersen, Springfield, MO     
    what total gobbledygook - he had no idea what socialism is. It's unfortunate, but in the end the Southerners have won.
     -- RBESRQ     
    Waffler, I understand your point of view, but first and foremost, Civil Was was not about slavery. Lincoln only went for emancipation to achieve high moral ground to get backings from France and England. If you look at it from slaves point of view, even the reason for revolutionary war turns its head and will stare at us that the root behind that war was indeed whether to align with a country that abolished slavery or to be an independent state out of a clutches of King George!
     -- RKA, Wasilla, AK     
    There are first causes and underlying causes. The first immediate cause was secession. The underlying cause and the reason for secession was slavery. I love it when Warren and I can agree on something. He and I (I believe) have always agreed on the real cause of the Civil War and he is right on target above.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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