An introductory essay to George Fitzhugh's book Cannibals All! or, Slaves Without Masters (1857).


C. Vann Woodward
Baltimore, 1959

If social theories regularly shared the fate of the social systems in which they were born, the history of thought would be a thin and impoverished thing of purely contemporary dimensions. The theories of George Fitzhugh came very near suffering the fate that befell the social order and institutions he defended. It was not merely that he was the spokesman of a cause that was overwhelmed in military disaster and an order that was leveled by revolutionary action. Nor was it simply that he was the outspoken champion of the discredited, despised, and abolished institution of Negro slavery. More important than the fall of the old order in explaining the eclipse of Fitzhugh was the sensational, if temporary, triumph of the system he opposed, a triumph that followed hard upon the collapse of the order he championed.

The fact was that the very aspects of "free society" that Fitzhugh most fiercely attacked, the aspects he repeatedly prophesied would spell the doom and downfall of that system, were the features that flourished most exuberantly in the decades following Appomattox. These features were an economy of laissez faire capitalism, an ethic of social Darwinism, and a rationalistic individualism of a highly competitive and atomized sort. Even part of his beloved South joined in the pursuit of these heresies.

It is little wonder that one writer could ask, "But who in America would be reading Fitzhugh in twenty years?" The question was intended to be rhetorical and the answer was, of course, "Nobody." In the America of the post-Civil War period, admittedly, it is impossible to imagine a more completely irrelevant and thoroughly neglected thinker than George Fitzhugh.

The lapse of a century, however, has altered the perspective from which earlier generations assessed the significance of Fitzhugh's thought. The triumph of a highly individualistic society no longer seems as permanent in this country as it once did; nor does the disappearance of all forms of slavery before the advance of progress seem inevitable in the rest of the world. The current of history has changed again. Millions of the world's population are seeking security, abandoning freedom, and finding masters. It is not the sort of socialism that Fitzhugh advocated, nor the slavery he defended, but another type of system that he feared which is fulfilling his prophesies. Even in those societies where socialism is abhorred, mass production, mass organization, and mass culture render his insights more meaningful than they ever were in the old order of individualism.

It was Fitzhugh's constant complaint that his contemporary opponents rejected his theory out of hand without evaluation or understanding. He would have been more crushed by the total neglect of posterity, even in the South, until quite recently. For an intellectual tradition that stands in desperate need of contrast and suffers from uniformity — albeit virtuous liberal uniformity — this oversight is unfortunate. Granting his wicked excesses and sly European importations, Fitzhugh could at least furnish contrast. The distance between Fitzhugh and Jefferson renders the conventional polarities between Jefferson and Hamilton, Jackson and Clay, or Hoover and Roosevelt — all liberals under the skin — insignificant indeed. When compared with Fitzhugh, even John Taylor of Caroline, John Randolph of Roanoke, and John C. Calhoun blend inconspicuously into the great American consensus, since they were all apostles in some degree of John Locke.

With such a wealth of sterling and illustrious examples of the Lockean liberal consensus, from Benjamin Franklin to Abraham Lincoln and on down, surely a small niche could be found in our national Pantheon for one minor worthy who deviated all down the line. For Fitzhugh frankly preferred Sir Robert Filmer and most of his works to John Locke and all his. He saw retrogression in what others hailed as progress, embraced moral pessimism in place of optimism, trusted intuition in preference to reason, always preferred inequality to equality, aristocracy to democracy, and almost anything — including slavery and socialism — to laissez faire capitalism. Whatever his shortcomings, George Fitzhugh could never, never be accused of advocating the middle way. Granting all his doctrine to be quite un-American, one might still ask that Fitzhugh's thought be re-examined, if only for the sharp relief in which it throws the habitual lineaments of the American mind.

Louis Hartz, who applauds America's rejection of Fitzhugh, has deplored the prevailing indifference to what he calls "The Reactionary Enlightenment" of the Southern conservatives. "For this was the great imaginative moment in American political thought," he writes, "the moment when America almost got out of itself, as it were, and looked with some objectivity on the liberal formula it has known since birth." While in his opinion the movement ran to fantasy, extravagance, and false identifications, he calls it "one of the great and creative episodes in the history of American thought," and its protagonists "the only Western conservatives America has ever had."1

Hartz is quite justified in placing Fitzhugh near the center and in the forefront of the Reactionary Enlightenment. He goes further to pronounce him "a ruthless and iconoclastic reasoner," "the most logical reactionary in the South," and to attribute to him "a touch of the Hobbesian lucidity of mind." He is on more doubtful ground when he pronounces the Virginian a "more impressive thinker" than the great Carolinian, John C. Calhoun, but he qualifies his praise with numerous charges of inconsistency, irresponsibility, and even insincerity. In commenting upon the South's shift from the liberal doctrine of the Revolution to ante bellum conservatism, Hartz writes: "Fitzhugh substituted for the social blindness of Jefferson a hopeless exaggeration of the truth. The South exchanged a superficial thinker for a mad genius."2 I would not agree fully with either the praise or the indictment implied, but would cordially endorse the demand for serious attention to a neglected and provocative thinker.

It would be misleading, however, to leave the impression that George Fitzhugh was typical of the Southern thinkers of his period or representative of the pro-slavery thought or of agrarian thought. Fitzhugh was not typical of anything. Fitzhugh was an individual — sui generis. There is scarcely a tag or a generalization or a cliche normally associated with the Old South that would fit him without qualification. Fitzhugh's dissent usually arose out of his devotion to logic rather than out of sheer love of the perverse, but evidence warrants a suspicion that he took a mischievous delight in his perversity and his ability to shock. He once wrote teasingly to his friend George Frederick Holmes, referring to his Sociology for the South, "It sells the better because it is odd, eccentric, extravagant, and disorderly."3 He was always a great one for kicking over the traces, denying the obvious, and taking a stand on his own.

For one thing, Fitzhugh was decidedly not an agrarian, for in his opinion "the wit of man can devise no means so effectual to impoverish a country as exclusive agriculture." Manufacturing and commerce were the road to wealth. "Farming is the recreation of great men, the proper pursuit of dull men."4 As for that sacred Southern dogma of free trade, it was a snare and a delusion, another fraud perpetrated by the Manchester heresy, to be avoided at all costs.5 Those who dismiss Fitzhugh and his friends as bemused romantics enamored of feudalism will have to reckon with the Virginian's praise of Cervantes, who "ridded the world of the useless rubbish of the Middle Ages, by the ridicule so successfully attached to it."6 And those who identify the pro-slavery argument with a poisonous racism will have to take into account Fitzhugh's rejection of it. He deplored "the hatred of race" and anything that "cuts off the negro from human brotherhood," "because it is at war with scripture, which teaches that the whole human race descended from a common parentage; and, secondly, because it encourages and encites brutal masters to treat negroes, not as weak, ignorant and dependent brethren, but as wicked beasts, without the pale of humanity."7

Apart from his ideas, Fitzhugh had traits of personality and character that discourage classifying him with any type. In many ways he was the antithesis of the fierce-eyed, grim-faced polemicist who stares out from the picture galleries of the 1850's, whether in the wing for Southern fire-eaters or the wing for abolitionists. Fanaticism is not compatible with a temperament that selects Falstaff and Sancho Panza as favorite characters of fiction. He made much of his remote family connection with the prominent abolitionist leaders Gerrit Smith and James G. Birney, and his acquaintance with other abolitionists. He sought them out, cultivated them. "We have an inveterate and perverse penchant of finding out good qualities in bad fellows," he wrote. "Robespierre and Milton's Satan are our particular friends."8 There was none of the suspicious recluse in him. "We admire them all, and have had kindly intercourse and correspondence with some of them," he said of the abolitionists. He referred often to his debate with Wendell Phillips and to the "generous reception and treatment we received, especially from leading abolitionists, when we went north to personate Satan by defending Slavery."9 Even after the war, when his world was in ruins, his home part of a battlefield, and his enemies were plotting more mischief, he could write in the old vein: "Love is a pleasanter passion than hate, and we have been hating so intensely for the last six years, that we are now looking about for something to love. . . . We are resolved to hate no one, and to quarrel with no one. No, not even with Thad. Stevens and his men."10 If candor and magnanimity could disarm hostile critics, Fitzhugh was well endowed.


George Fitzhugh was born in Prince William County, Virginia, on the Northern Neck between the Potomac and the Rappahannock Rivers on November 4, 1806. He sprang from a numerous family that included men of large landed property and prominence in the history of Virginia. He was descended from William Fitzhugh, "a fair classical scholar, a learned, able, and industrious lawyer, a high tory, high Churchman," who came to the colony in 1671 as land agent for Lord Fairfax. George Fitzhugh's father, a doctor and small planter, did not prosper, and the paternal estate passed out of family hands shortly after his death in 1829. That year, however, the son improved his lot somewhat by marrying Mary Brockenbrough of Port Royal, Caroline County, and promptly moving into his wife's home. This was described later by an unsympathetic neighbor as a "rickety old mansion, situated on the fag-end of a once noble estate."11

Like the mansion, the village of Port Royal had seen better days, but it was prettily seated on the banks of the Rappahannock, and Fitzhugh became devoted to the village and its few citizens. Its most distinguished citizen, the great Jeffersonian intellectual, John Taylor of Caroline, had died five years before young Fitzhugh moved to Port Royal. It is not known whether Fitzhugh ever met Taylor, but he did have several of the famous agrarian's books in his library and their influence may be detected in his own works. He acquired several slaves through his marriage, practiced law in a desultory way, and fathered a family of nine children.12 He was a confirmed homebody. "Love and veneration for the family is with us not only a principle, but probably a prejudice and a weakness. We were never two weeks at a time from under the family roof, until we had passed middle life, and now that our years almost number half a century, we have never been from home for an interval of two months."13 His one visit in the North came in 1855, when he visited Gerrit Smith in Peterboro, New York, and debated Wendell Phillips in New Haven.

In formal education, Fitzhugh never progressed beyond the old field school. His learning in the law he picked up on his own. His real education came of his independent, undirected, unsystematic, but wide reading. "We are no regular built scholar — have pursued no 'royal road to mathematics,' nor to anything else," he confessed. "We have by observation and desultory reading, picked up our information by the wayside, and endeavored to arrange, generalize, and digest it for ourselves."14 Unlike many defenders of the South, he took pains to read the opposition. "We have whole files of infidel and abolition papers, like the Tribune, the Liberator and Investigator," he reported. "Fanny Wright, the Devil's Pulpit and the Devil's Parson, Tom Paine, Owen, Voltaire, et id genus omne, are our daily companions."15 He also read some of the British economists, as well as a few of the English and Continental socialists. In the main, however, he relied upon conservative British journals to keep him abreast of current thought and literature, periodicals such as the Edinburgh Review, the Westminster Review, Blackwoods Magazine, and the North British Review. More in keeping with his station and his time were his love of the Latin classics and his habit of quoting from them.

Of all his contemporaries, Thomas Carlyle seems to have made the most profound impression upon Fitzhugh. The Scot was then at the height of his popularity, and his Virginia admirer quoted him often and with relish, especially his diatribes against the cant of philanthropists and his Olympian thunder against the "Dismal Science," its professors, and their miserable "laws of the shop-till." Carlyle's essay, "The Present Age," furnished the text and suggested both title and subtitle of Cannibals All!16 Carlyle's attack upon the British abolitionists and West Indian emancipation was naturally grist for the pro-slavery propaganda mill, but Fitzhugh was interested in the broader implication of Carlylean doctrine, particularly his diatribes against the "Mammonism" of the industrialists and the wickedness of Manchester economics. The Virginian identified himself willingly with Young England, Disraeli, and Tory socialism.

Fitzhugh's activity in politics was only local, and he never stood for elective office. He was acquainted with a number of Virginia politicians, however, and managed to ingratiate himself with President Buchanan, who appointed him law clerk in the office of the Attorney-General. His literary apprenticeship, late in starting, was served first as a writer for the Federalsburg Democratic Record, 1849-1851, and later as editorial writer for the Richmond Examiner in 1854-1856 and for the Richmond Enquirer in 1855-1857. His most significant journalistic writing was for De Bow's Review, edited by the fiery champion of the South, James D. B. De Bow of New Orleans. According to the reckoning of Harvey Wish, Fitzhugh published "well over a hundred articles" in that journal between 1855 and 1867. He also placed occasional essays in the Southern Literary Messenger of Richmond, and after the war in Lippincott's Magazine of Philadelphia and the Southern Magazine of Baltimore."17

The political crises of Europe and America in 1848 and 1849& appear to have stimulated Fitzhugh's first independent publications, two pamphlets that appeared in Richmond in 1850 and 1851 and were later reprinted as an appendix to Sociology for the South. In the first and more important of them, Slavery Justified, he announced several themes that he was to repeat and elaborate in later works. "Liberty and equality," he declared in his opening sentence, "are new things under the sun." France and the Northern states of the union, the only parts of the world that had given the combination an extensive trial, had proved the experiment was "self-destructive and impracticable" and had "already failed." The evidence of failure was the social distress, economic suffering, and political revolt in both countries. "How can it be otherwise," he asked, "when all society is combined to oppress the poor and weak minded?" Since " 'Every man for himself, and devil take the hindmost' is the moral which liberty and free competition inculcate," and since "half of mankind are but grown-up children" it was apparent that "liberty is as fatal to them as it would be to children." What the weak needed was protection, that is, masters, and so they turned to socialism and communism. Plantation slavery of the South was "the beau ideal of Communism; it is a joint concern, in which the slave consumes more than the master, . . . is far happier . . . is always sure of a support . . . and is as happy as a human being can be." To call free labor "wage slavery" as the socialists did was "a gross libel on slavery," for the condition of free labor was "worse than slavery." The wage system was a contradiction of human needs. "Wages are given in time of vigorous health and strength, and denied when most needed, when sickness or old age has overtaken us. The slave is never without a master to maintain him." The consequence was that "At the slaveholding South all is peace, quiet, plenty and contentment. We have no mobs, no trades unions, no strikes for higher wages, no armed resistance to the law, but little jealousy of the rich by the poor. We have but few in our jails, and fewer in our poor houses."18

The one cloud in this otherwise idyllic picture of Southern felicity was the free Negro, the few hundred thousand of their race who were deprived of the protection and security of slavery. Their miserable condition was proof of the curse that freedom would prove to their race: another experiment in liberty that ended in failure. The free Negroes of the North were "an intolerable nuisance," and resentment against them there had provoked stringent discriminatory laws and proscription. The answer to the question that formed the title of his second pamphlet, What Shall be Done tvith the Free Negroes?, was, return them to slavery. The Negro was fitted only for that status. "We have fully and fairly tried the experiment of freeing him . . . and it is now our right and our duty, to listen to the voice of wisdom and experience, and re-consign him to the only condition for which he is suited "19

For all his professed love of learning and devotion to logic, Fitzhugh was a propagandist and not infrequently displayed the tactics of that craft, as well as an occasional sample of its disingenuousness. He excused the irregularity of his warfare on the ground that it was necessitated by the nature of his adversaries. "They are divided into hundreds of little guerrilla bands of Isms," he said, "each having its peculiar partisan tactics, and we are compelled to vary our mode of attack from regular cannonade to bushfighting, to suit the occasion." And so he did, shifting his ground, masking his batteries, and resorting to a variety of tricks to confuse his opponents. He deliberately adopted a style, he said, "in which facts, and argument, and rhetoric, and wit, and sarcasm, succeed each other with rapid iteration."20 More serious was the damaging admission he made in a personal letter to his friend Professor Holmes in 1855. "I assure you, Sir," he wrote, "I see great evils in slavery, but in a controversial work I ought not to admit them."21

Fitzhugh's first book, published in 1854, was also the first published in America bearing the new word "sociology" in its title.22 Sociology for the South, or the Failure of Free Society opened with an aggressive assault upon Adam Smith, laissez faire, and all the political economists who advanced the proposition that social well-being was "best prompted by each man's eagerly pursuing his own selfish welfare unfettered and unrestricted by legal regulations, or governmental prohibitions. . . ." He pronounced that philosophy "false and rotten to the core." Such a system not only opened the way for the rich and strong to exploit the poor and weak individuals, but under the guise of "free trade" it paved the way to empire by enabling the industrial and commercial economies to exploit countries with agricultural economies. "Thus is Ireland robbed of her very life's blood, and thus do our Northern states rob the Southern."28

The remedy for these ills was not less government but more government. "Government may do too much for the people, or it may do too little," he thought. "We have committed the latter error."24 Like his contemporary, Henry C. Carey of Philadelphia, Fitzhugh advocated a system of vigorous government participation in economic development, but he urged it upon Virginia and the Southern states as a solution to their problems. Both his economic and social aims and his means of attaining them were departures from the Jeffersonian tradition. He stressed the social values of manufacturing and commerce and the need for the growth of cities in the South to foster these arts. Government should be employed vigorously for planning and promoting schemes of internal improvements, developing financial and marketing facilities, and fostering transportation, particularly the building of railroads. "Our system of improvements, manufactures, the mechanic arts, the building up of our cities, commerce, and education should go hand in hand." Above all it was important to provide public education. "Poor [white] people can see things as well as rich people. We can't hide the facts from them. . . . The path of safety is the path of duty! Educate the people, no matter what it may cost! "25

After disposing of the classical economists to his satisfaction, Fitzhugh turned to the socialists. He was concerned here mainly with English and French socialists, and he treated them with a great deal more respect than he had Adam Smith and the classical economists. Few realized, he wrote "how much of truth, justice and good sense, there is in the notions of the Communists, as to the community of property." They fully acknowledged the obligations of society to the weak and the propertyless and exhibited a sense of responsibility and morality that was foreign to the capitalistic economists. Socialism was, after all, only "the new fashionable name for slavery." If classical economics was "the science of free society," he would pronounce socialism "the science of slavery." Slavery's only quarrel with socialism was the refusal of the latter to acknowledge fully the failure of free society and its futile attempt to build upon institutions and ideas of a discredited order. "We slaveholders say you must recur to domestic slavery," he insisted, "the best and most common form of Socialism. The new schools of Socialism promise something better, but admit, to obtain that something, they must first destroy and eradicate man's human nature."26 In that the socialists shared the fallacies of the philosophers who founded free society.

The trouble started with John Locke and the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. "The human mind became extremely presumptuous" in that era, he wrote, "and undertook to form governments on exact philosophical principles, just as men make clocks, watches or mills. They confounded the moral with the physical world, and this was not strange, because they had begun to doubt whether there was any other than a physical world." Under their spell, Jefferson and a few misguided patriots embellished an otherwise healthy colonial rebellion with the abstractions of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Bill of Rights. These principles were "wholly at war with slavery" and, "equally at war with all government, all subordination, all order," in fact. "Men's minds were heated and blinded when they were written, as well by patriotic zeal, as by a false philosophy, which, beginning with Locke, in a refined materialism, had ripened on the Continent into open infidelity." For a long time these abstractions were a dead letter, had little effect, and did little harm, since inherited English institutions continued with little change. "Those institutions were the growth and accretions of many ages," he pointed out, "not the work of legislating philosophers." But now that the abolitionists were inflamed with these notions, Locke and Jefferson should be firmly refuted and repudiated.27

Fitzhugh opened up on the "self-evident truths" and "inalienable rights" with the zeal of an iconoclast. What was really self-evident was that "men are not born physically, morally, or intellectually equal," and that "their natural inequalities beget inequalities of rights." "It would be far nearer the truth to say, 'that some were born with saddles on their backs, and others booted and spurred to ride them,' — and the riding does them good." The ideal of equality was not only false but immoral. "If all men had been created equal, all would have been competitors, rivals, and enemies." Nature had a better plan. "Subordination, difference of caste and classes, difference of sex, age, and slavery beget peace and good will." Life and liberty were obviously not "inalienable" since "they have been sold in all countries, and in all ages, and must be sold so long as human nature lasts." 28 His distant kinsman, George Mason, author of the Virginia Bill of Rights, had carried self-deception to the point of solemnly forbidding "such harmless baubles as titles of nobility and coats of arms," and this in the face of "the right secured by law to hold five hundred subjects, or negro slaves, and ten thousand acres of land, to the exclusion of everybody else . . . an exclusive hereditary privilege far transcending any held by the nobility of Europe. . . ." This was arrant hypocrisy. "We have the things, exclusive hereditary privileges and aristocracy, amongst us, in utmost intensity; let us not be frightened at the names . . ."29

Fitzhugh did not place his faith in paper institutions — declarations, bills of rights, or even written constitutions — but in organic, flesh-and-blood institutions:

State governments, and senators, and representatives, and militia, and cities, and churches, and colleges, and universities, and landed property, are institutions. Things of flesh and blood, that know their rights, 'and knowing dare maintain them.' We should cherish them. They will give permanence to government, and security to State Rights. But the abstract doctrines of nullification and secession, the general principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and Constitution of the United States, afford no protection of rights, no valid limitations of power, no security to State Rights. The power to construe them, is the power to nullify them.30
"Institutions are what men can see, feel, venerate and understand," such institutions as were associated with Moses, Alfred, Numa, and Lycurgus. "These sages laid down no abstract propositions, founded their institutions on no general principles, had no written constitutions. They were wise from experience, adopted what history and experience had tested, and never trusted to a priori speculations, like a More, a Locke, a Jefferson, or an Abbe Sieyes." The teaching of history was "that it is much better, to look to the past, to trust to experience, to follow nature, than to be guided by the ignis fatuus of a priori speculations of closet philosophers."31

Encouraged by the reception of his Sociology in "the confidence that we address a public predisposed to approve our doctrine, however bold or novel,"32 Fitzhugh plunged into the most productive period of his life. Between 1854 and 1857 he was not only writing editorials for the Richmond Examiner and Richmond Enquirer and articles for De Bow's Review, but he was also at work on his major book, Cannibals All! or, Slaves Without Masters, published in Richmond in 1857.

If he considered the Sociology "bold" and "novel," he undoubtedly thought of its successor as still bolder and even more novel. The very title, Cannibals All! proclaimed the moral relativism with which he proposed to affront conventional American values. He realized at the outset, he said, that "our analysis of human nature and human pursuits is too dark and sombre to meet with ready acceptance."33 Nothing daunted, he set out to perform a sort of Nietzschean transvaluation of American values, a subversion of the national faith in progress and the goodness of human nature, as well as the characteristic addiction to liberalism, optimism, and respectability. "But if you would cherish self-conceit, self-esteem, or self-appreciation," he warned, "throw down our book; for we will dispel illusions which have promoted your happiness, and show you that what you have considered and practiced as virtue is little better than moral Cannibalism." In the Virginian's inverted hierarchy of values, freedom was slavery and slavery freedom, respectability was criminal and crime respectable. His premise was that "all good and respectable people are 'Cannibals all,' who do not labor, or who are successfully trying to live without labor, on the unrequited labor of other people: —Whilst low, bad, and disreputable people, are those who labor to support themselves, and to support said respectable people besides."34

Fitzhugh was saying what Thorstein Veblen unconsciously paraphrased nearly half a century later: "Those employments which are to be classed as exploit are worthy, honorable, noble; other employments, which do not contain this element of exploit, and especially those which imply subservience or submission, are unworthy, debasing, ignoble."35 Like Veblen, the Virginia sociologist accounted reputability proportional to guile: "The more scalps we can show, the more honored we are." But unlike him, Fitzhugh made no pretense of detachment and moral neutrality. "You are a Cannibal!" he charged, "and if a successful one, pride yourself on the number of your victims, quite as much as any Fiji chieftain, who breakfasts, dines and sups on human flesh."36

Fundamental to his critique of free society and his defense of slavery was an extreme form of the labor theory of value, which he had absorbed, he said, from the socialists. "My chief aim," he wrote in his Preface, "has been to show, that Labor makes values, and Wit exploitates and accumulates them; and hence to deduce the conclusion that the unrestricted exploitation of so-called free society, is more oppressive to the laborer than domestic slavery."37 His attack was directed at the moral complacency and assumption of superiority in the North. "We are, all, North and South, engaged in the White Slave Trade," he insisted, "and he who succeeds best, is esteemed most respectable. It is far more cruel than the Black Slave Trade, because it exacts more of its slaves, and neither protects nor governs them." Proof of it lay in the admittedly greater profitability of free labor, which to Fitzhugh only meant that the employer of free labor retained more and gave labor less of the value created than did the owner of slave labor. "You, with the command over labor which your capital gives you, are a slave owner — a master, without the obligations of a master. They who work for you, who create your income, are slaves, without the rights of slaves. Slaves without a master!" In his opinion the masters of free labor "live in ten times the luxury and show that Southern masters do," while "Free laborers have not a thousandth part of the rights and liberties of negro slaves." On the other hand, "The negro slaves of the South are the happiest, and, in some sense, the freest people in the world."38

In Fitzhugh's philosophy the idea of progress was a modern delusion. Modern history, in fact, was a record not of progress but of retrogression. He advanced the theory in his Sociology that "the world has not improved in the last two thousand, probably four thousand years, in the science or practice of medicine, or agriculture," and that it had actually been "retrograding in all else save the physical sciences and the mechanic arts. . . . It is idle to talk of progress, when we look two thousand years back for models of perfection."39 Bourgeois criteria were "purely utilitarian and material," typified by the sentiments and philosophy of Benjamin Franklin, which were "low, selfish, atheistic and material." Acceptance of these criteria tended "to make man a mere 'featherless biped;' well-fed, well-clothed and comfortable, but regardless of his soul as 'the beasts that perish.'"40

In Cannibals All! he repeated his attack on the idea of progress and elaborated his theory of retrogression in the arts, but to this he added a rejection of the Whiggish interpretation of history. He grounded his critique on something rather similar to the Marxian dialectic of class struggle. His writing by this time reveals acquaintance with Marx's Communist Manifesto, and he interpreted each political upheaval in terms of material advantages or disadvantages accruing to conflicting social classes. The theory advanced in William Blackstone's Commentaries that the appearance of the House of Commons near the reign of Henry III "was the dawn of approaching liberty," he rejected out of hand. "We contend that it was the origin of the capitalist and moneyed interest government, destined finally to swallow up all other powers in the State, and to bring about the most selfish, exacting and unfeeling class despotism." The emancipation of the serfs was not "another advance towards equality of rights and conditions," as Blackstone claimed, because "it aggravated inequality of conditions, and divested the liberated class of every valuable, social, and political right." Blackstone was also wrong in holding that the Reformation "increased the liberties of the subject," for "in destroying the noblest charity fund in the world, the church lands, and abolishing a priesthood, the efficient and zealous friends of the poor, the Reformation tended to diminish the liberty of the mass of the people, and to impair their moral, social and physical well-being."41

In leveling his sights on the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Fitzhugh was striking close to the philosophical underpinnings of the American Revolution. His interpretation of the events of 1688 was similar to that later advanced by Marx. Far from "the consummation or perfection of British liberty" usually pictured, the Glorious Revolution in Fitzhugh's view was "a marked epoch in the steady decay of British liberty." What really happened was that the powers of the house of Commons were increased at the cost of prerogatives of the Crown, the Church, and the nobility, "the natural friends, allies, and guardians of the laboring class." The settlement and the subsequent chartering of the Bank of England "united the landed and moneyed interests, placed all the powers of government in their hands, and deprived the great laboring class of every valuable right and liberty. The nobility, the church, the king were now powerless; and the mass of people, wholly unrepresented in the government, found themselves exposed to the grinding and pitiless despotism of their natural and hereditary enemies." The subsequent history of Britain was another story of "Slaves without Masters," the degradation of the masses. He quoted Charles Dickens as saying, "Beneath all this, is a heaving mass of poverty, ignorance and crime." Those who persisted in describing this sad decline as "progress" were afflicted with a wilful blindness.42

It is of possible significance that upon the title pages of his two books, the subtitles, Failure of Free Society and Slaves Without Masters, are printed in larger type than the main titles. At any rate the disparity suggests the predominance of attack over defense in the author's polemics. In both works the great bulk of space is given over to the shortcomings and failing of free society. The ferocity of Fitzhugh's indictment of the capitalist economy surpasses that of John Taylor at the beginning of the century and the Southern Populists toward its close, and is equaled only by the severity of the socialist attack. He could snarl at "this vampire capitalist class" as bitterly as any socialist. In fact Fitzhugh exploited and quoted extensively from many of the sources that Karl Marx used ten years later in the first volume of Capital to marshal evidence of the inhumanity of British industrial capitalism. Prominent among these sources were the reports of Parliamentary Commissions appointed to investigate conditions among coal, iron, and textile workers in the 1840's. He also relied upon Tory reformers and British journals, particularly the Edinburgh Review, which he called "a grand repository of the ignorance, the crime, and sufferings of the workers in mines and factories . . . in fine, of the whole laboring class of England."43

It was perhaps the abundance of material at hand that caused Fitzhugh to concentrate mainly upon British rather than American conditions. He made no more allowance than did Marx for the occasional exaggerations of reformers and spared his readers none of the horrors of the evidence. One is treated to the full measure of misery in the Scottish coal pits with their sub-human child laborers from five to thirteen years of age, who did not see the light of day for weeks on end; their naked men and "almost naked" women workers harnessed to coal carts and toiling twelve to fourteen hours a day. There were the child calico-printers of Lancashire who were kept at their tasks for fourteen or sixteen consecutive hours and grew up with pipe-stemmed legs, pinched faces, and brutalized minds. There were the metal workers of Wolverhampton "cruelly beaten with a horsewhip, strap, stick, hammer handle, file, or whatever tool is nearest at hand."44 Was it any wonder, asked Fitzhugh, that an American abolitionist after intensive study of British labor conditions declared that "he would sooner subject his child to Southern slavery, than have him to be a free laborer of England."45 If the degraded workers of England were to be enslaved, in fact, they would "by becoming property, become valuable and valued" and would be elevated from their present plight at least to the status of domestic animals.46

In his attack upon free society in America, Fitzhugh borrowed freely from the tactics northern abolitionists employed in their propaganda against Southern slavery. The criminology of the subject was employed as fair description of conditions, and the occasional instance of sadism and depravity presented as the prevailing practice. Just as the abolitionists made effective use of quotations from Southerners and slave-holders upon the evils of the slave society, so Fitzhugh employed to the fullest the testimony of abolitionist reformers upon the failing of free society. He described the testimony of "the actual leaders and faithful exponents of abolition" whom he quoted as "our trump card." Out of their own mouths he would prove "the inadequacy and injustice of the whole social and governmental organization of the North." Since many of the abolitionists were passionate critics of free society and entertained schemes for reform of the North as well as the South, each with his own panacea, Fitzhugh did not lack for live ammunition from their publications.47

It was good propaganda to catalogue the desperate remedies and wild panaceas to which the breakdown of free society had driven the reformers, and Fitzhugh did so regularly: "Mr. Greeley's Phalansteries, Mr. Andrews' Free Love, Mr. Goodell's Millennium and Mr. [Gerrit] Smith's Agrarianism," to say nothing of the multitudinous nostrums of Mr. Garrison, "King of the Abolitionists, Great Anarch of the North."48 Why all the remedies if there were no diseases in free society?

Why have you Bloomer's and Women's Right's men, and strong-minded women, and Mormons, and anti-renters, and "vote myself a farm" men, Millerites, and Spiritual Rappers, and Shakers, and Widow Wakemanites, and Agrarians, and Grahamites, and a thousand other superstitious and infidel Isms at the North? Why is there faith in nothing, speculation about everything? Why is this unsettled, half demented state of the human mind co-extensive in time and space, with free society? Why is Western Europe now starving? and why has it been fighting and starving for seventy years? Why all this, except that free society is a failure? Slave society needs no defence till some other permanently practicable form of society has been discovered. Nobody at the North who reads my book will attempt to reply to it; for all the learned abolitionists had unconsciously discovered and proclaimed the failure of free society long before I did.49
It was not the slaveholders but the abolitionists who "have for years been roaring . . . to the Oi Polloi rats, that the old crazy edifice of society, in which they live, is no longer fit for human dwelling, and is imminently dangerous."50 Yet the same philosophers were inviting the South to abandon its stable society, demolish its tested and benevolent institutions, and move into the rickety edifice of free society which the abolitionists had already condemned as uninhabitable.

Fitzhugh's books appeared at the height of the sectional controversy over slavery and the literary war it induced. It is all the more difficult for that reason to assess their relative importance and distinguish their influence from that of the many other pro-slavery books of the period. His Sociology profited much from the wholehearted endorsement and several notices it received from George Frederick Holmes, foremost reviewer in the South. De Bow and other Southern editors gave it space and frequent notice, and the first printing of the book was almost sold out in a few months. Fitzhugh complained of "the affectation of silent contempt" by the Northern press, and such attention as he got in that quarter was in the main hostile. Among Southern writers who revealed the influence of the Sociology, whether admitted or not, Professor Wish mentions Edmund Ruffin (who did acknowledge the impact of Fitzhugh's "novel and profound views"), Albert Taylor Bledsoe, William J. Grayson, James D. B. De Bow, George D. Armstrong, and Thornton Stringfellow.51

The response to Cannibals All! was also flattering in the South, though some of its critics in that quarter were troubled by its concession to socialism and by its carelessness and inconsistencies. Even De Bow thought the author "a little fond of paradoxes, a little inclined to run a theory into extremes, and a little impractical." But on the whole the Southern reception was enthusiastic. The book, after all, marked an advance to "higher ground" in the Southern position at the climax of the sectional controversy. It virtually ignored defensive tactics and concentrated upon aggressive strategy along radical anti-capitalist lines.52

The legend of the satanic champion of evil from Port Royal had grown in anti-slavery circles since the appearance of his first book, and Cannibals All! was received as the last word in diabolism. William Lloyd Garrison, according to Professor Wish, gave it "considerably more attention than perhaps any other book in the history of the Liberator." Garrison quoted long passages from the book as horrible examples of the extremes to which "this cool audacious defender of the soul-crushing, blood-reeking system of slavery" could go as the spokesman of "the cradle-plunderers and slave-drivers at the South." Surely Cannibals All! could be written down as the "gospel according to Beelzebub that is preached at the South." In another mood he called Fitzhugh "the Don Quixote of Slavedom — only still more demented" than the Knight of La Mancha. "If he is not playing the part of a dissembler, he is certainly crack-brained, and deserves pity rather than ridicule or censure." But Garrison spared him neither censure nor ridicule: the Virginian was "demoniacal," his writings "idiocy." Granted that Fitzhugh showed a certain ingenuity and cleverness in pointing out the failings of free society, these were as nothing compared to the abominations of slave society. Granted the South might be free of "Isms" — so was despotic Russia.53

Many of Fitzhugh's more startling phrases and paradoxes, taken out of context, lent themselves admirably to quotation by Republicans or antislavery people for the purpose of discrediting the South or the Democrats. The more extreme pronouncements of the Virginian were thereby represented erroneously not only as typical of his views, but also those of his party and his region. Abraham Lincoln was a faithful reader of Fitzhugh's articles and editorials in the Richmond Enquirer and cited them in his speeches during the years 1856 to 1859 as representative of the wicked purposes of Democrats and slaveholders. He even went so far as to connive in planting one of the Enquirer articles in a pro-slavery paper of Springfield, which could then be quoted to the embarrassment of local Democrats.54 William Hemdon, his law partner, bought a copy of Sociology for the South and reported that, "This book aroused the ire of Lincoln more than most pro-slavery books." If he read as far as page 94 in that work, Lincoln found this passage: "One set of ideas will govern and control after awhile the civilized world. Slavery will every where be abolished, or every where be re-instituted." He could have found the same idea in different words in Cannibals All! [page 106]. Actually, in replying to charges of Senator Stephen A. Douglas regarding the famous House Divided speech of 1858, Lincoln said in a speech at Cincinnati, September 17, 1859: 'But neither I, nor Seward, nor [Congressman John] Hickman is entitled to the enviable or unenviable distinction of having first expressed that idea. The same idea was expressed by the Richmond 'Enquirer' in Virginia, in 1856, quite two years before it was expressed by the first of us." Lincoln mistakenly attributed the irrepressible conflict idea to Roger A. Pryor, editor of the paper, but the author of the unsigned editorial of May 6,1856, to which he referred was really Fitzhugh.55

The strain of irresponsibility in his writings involves Fitzhugh in the guilt of his generation. It is somewhat ironical, however, that the Virginian should have been associated in such a personal way with the origins of the irrepressible conflict and House Divided ideas, or that he should have sometimes been made a symbol of Southern intransigence and militant disunionism. He actually deplored nullification, opposed secession till the last moment, and dreaded disunion. In all probability, he no more desired a bloody showdown than did Lincoln. The final words of Cannibals All! were a friendly appeal to the abolitionists:

Extremes meet — and we and the leading Abolitionists differ but a hairbreadth. . . Add a Virginia overseer to Mr. Greeley's Phalansteries, and Mr. Greeley and we would have little to quarrel about. . . . We want to be friends with them and with all the world; and, as the curtain is falling, we conclude with the valedictory and invocation of the Roman actor — "Vos valete! et plaudite!"

Like many Americans of his day, George Fitzhugh was absorbed in the great sectional crisis, and his mind was molded by the titanic surge and flow of the struggle. Unlike all but a very few, however, he managed to achieve a modicum of timelessness and universality in his theories that places them just beyond the destructive reach of historical relativism and should spare them dismissal as the cynical rationalization of outmoded institutions. In the opinion of Charles A. Beard, Fitzhugh's thought was "unlimited in its sweep," a "universal view" that "exceeded the planting view and the agrarian view in its scope of details, in its diversity of content, and in its reach of time."56 He would seem to deserve some attention outside the context of slavery and the Civil War.

In so far as the phrase is permissible at all, Fitzhugh was an American original. For many reasons he rejected the political principles of the Enlightenment upon which Jefferson based his thought. He found the economic determinism of Madison inadequate for his purposes, as well as the narrow capitalist-versus-agrarian dialectic of the other sage of Port Royal, John Taylor. The parochialism of Calhoun appealed to him, but not the Carolinian's legalistic constitutionalism, and most certainly not his heretical adaptation of Lockean theory. Unlike his Southern predecessors and contemporaries, Fitzhugh's approach was not political, or economic, or legalistic, but sociological and psychological — both with an antique flavor, and yet more attuned to the modern than to the eighteenth- or nineteenth-century mind. His belated discovery of his intellectual obligations to the ancients is revealing of both his naivete and his originality. He wrote Professor Holmes in 1855:

I received from Mr. Appleton's, a week ago, Aristotle's Politics and Economics. I find I have not only adopted his theories, his arguments, and his illustrations, but his very words. Society is a work of nature and grows. Men are social like bees; an isolated man is like a bird of prey. Men and society are coeval. . . . Now, I find that, although Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Jefferson, Macaulay, and Calhoun are against me, Aristotle, Carlyle, you, and all the leading minds of the day are with me. . . . I used to think I was a little paradoxical. I now fear I am a mere retailer of truisms and common places.57
If man were a social and political animal from the word go, and if society were an organism — as organic as an elaborated and diversified beehive — then all the talk about compacts, and social contracts, and man-in-a-state-of nature, and natural rights, and consent of the governed, and equality was arrant nonsense. Hobbes was as wrong as Locke, and Jefferson as wrong as Calhoun, and Adam Smith was out of his mind. Society was an organic continuum, inegalitarian and hierarchical. The inequalities explained and necessitated the hierarchy. They also required that government recognize the facts of life, refuse to be blinded by laissez faire dogmas, and intervene to protect the weak from the strong. An ethic of devil-take-the-hindmost led straight to tyranny and anarchy. Inequality was both necessary and desirable, and stability was important above all. This did not exclude change. Growth meant change, and society was a growing organism. But it had to grow according to the laws of growth, slowly, with uninterrupted continuity of institutions and moral values — not in fits and starts and revolutions according to the specifications and theories of philosophers and Utopian dreamers. "Such is the theory of Aristotle," he wrote, "promulgated more than two thousand years ago, generally considered true for two thousand years, and destined, we hope, soon again to be accepted as the only true theory of government and society."58

There came a point, however, where Fitzhugh departed from the Aristotelian way. While man was social, he was not rational. He was, in fact, fundamentally irrational, guided not by reason but by instinct, custom, habit, and requiring tradition and religion and stable institutions to keep him in line. Fitzhugh held and often expressed a profound skepticism of all atomistic and rationalistic theories of human nature and a strong aversion to rationalistic philosophers. "Modern philosophy treats of men only as separate monads or individuals," he complained.59 His attitude was not that of anti-intellectualism, but he distrusted intellect that departed from experience and history and tradition and arrogantly spun lofty abstractions. Especially did he distrust intellect fired by moral passion and conviction of self-righteousness. "In fine, all of the greatest and darkest crimes of recorded history have been perpetrated by men 'terribly in earnest' blindly attempting to fulfill, what they considered, some moral, political or religious duty." There had been too much of that type of intellect loosed upon mankind, he wrote after the war, too much in the South as well as the North.60

In renouncing Locke and rationalism and the Enlightenment, Fitzhugh had no notion of renouncing the heritage of the America Revolution — the true heritage, that is. Not at all, he declared. "All the bombastic absurdity in the Declaration of Independence about the inalienable rights of man, had about as much to do with the occasion as would a sermon or oration on the teething of a child or the kittening of a cat . . . Our institutions, State and Federal, imported from England where they had grown up naturally and imperceptibly . . . would have lasted for many ages, had not thoughtless, half-informed, speculative men, like Jefferson, succeeded in basing them on such inflammable materials. . . . The Revolution of 76 was, in its action, an exceedingly natural and conservative affair; it was only the false and unnecessary theories invoked to justify it that were radical, agrarian and anarchical." These were the theories of John Locke, "a presumptuous charlatan, who was as ignorant of the science or practice of government as any shoemaker or horse jockey." These theories had not inspired the Revolution of '76, but by slow fuse had eventually touched off "the grandest explosion the world ever witnessed," the Revolution of '61. "The French Revolutions of '89, 1830, and 1848, were mere popguns compared to it; as we all see and feel, for its stunning sound is still ringing in our ears." He wrote that in 1863 when, indeed, the stunning sound of revolution was deafening.61

While Fitzhugh expressed distrust for any book on moral science less than four hundred years old, he made one significant exception, Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha. This was the work of the forgotten Kentish monarchist and conservative whom Locke had felt it necessary to belabor extensively in his Treatise. Filmer's stress upon the patriarchal family, rather than his defense of the divine right of monarchs, was what struck the deep responsive chord in Fitzhugh. For the Virginian the family was everything, and society, government were but the family writ large — the authoritarian, patriarchal family. Aristotle had taught him "that the family, including husband, wife, children, and slaves, is the first and most natural development of that social nature." It was the model of all institutions: "this family association, this patriarchal government . . . gradually merges into larger associations of men under a common government or ruler." It was the disproof of Locke, for "Fathers do not derive their authority, as heads of families, from the consent of wife and children." It was the justification of domestic slavery, for "besides wife and children, brothers and sisters, dogs, horses, birds and flowers — slaves also belong to the family circle," and there they, like other weaker members, received the care, protection, and control they needed.62

There is a possible clue in Fitzhugh's thought to the provocative questions and indictments advanced by Louis Hartz in his treatment of the Reactionary Enlightenment. Because Hartz finds "beneath the feudal and reactionary surface of Southern thought" nothing but slavery, he concludes that the massive structure of reaction was "a simple fraud" and that, "Fraud, alas, was the inevitable fate of Southern social thought." He goes on to say, "They exchanged a fraudulent liberalism for an even more fraudulent feudalism: they stopped being imperfect Lockes and became grossly imperfect Maistres. This was the meaning of Fitzhugh's 'great conservative reaction'. . . ." Not only did their system not fit the American liberal formula, "the real trouble with it was that it did not fit any formula, any basic categories of Western social theory."63

Fitzhugh did find a formula, and he did not go back to feudalism nor forward to Maistre for it — only back to the seventeenth century, to John Locke's chosen antagonist, Sir Robert Filmer. And in seventeenth-century Kent, as well as in Virginia of that and the two following centuries, as Peter Laslett has pointed out, the patriarchal family was a pretty "basic category." That was why Locke took Filmer seriously. "Filmerism," says this historian, "was above all things the exaltation of the family: it made the rules of domestic society into principles of political science."64 The gentry of Kent were a close-knit community. "The genealogical interrelationships between its members were extensive, complicated and meticulously observed by all of them: it is astonishing how distant a connexion qualified for the title 'cozen.' The reason for this excessive consciousness of kinship was patriarchalism."65

This Kentish cousinage and its "excessive consciousness of kinship" extended across the Atlantic. "By 1660," writes Laslett, "this group of interrelationships existed in two places in the world: in middle eastern Kent and in Virginia in the area of the James River. This process, by which an English county society reproduced its names, its attitudes, its literary interests, even its field sports, in the swamps of the Virginia creeks, had begun with the foundation of the Virginia Company of London in 1606. . . . The story of the early Virginian planters' families illustrates the most important feature of the English gentry of the time — the immense strength of the family bond and the extraordinary cohesion of the grouping of families by locality. There could be no more vivid illustration of patriarchalism at work."66 As for the Kentish gentry, "The most characteristic thing they produced was the political thinking of Sir Robert Filmer and the most surprising was the society of the Old South in the United States."67 In fact, the transplanted patriarchal offshoot outlasted the original: "the descendents of the Virginian planters, who became the slaveholders of the Southern States, were the heads of a classic type of patriarchal household, so that it survived until the middle of the nineteenth century even in such a rationalistic and egalitarian society as the U.S.A."68 The English historian even suggests that the Southern branch had "lineaments even more strongly marked than in England, perhaps because there were then no towns of any consequence."69

But what of the Revolutionary generation of the Virginia Enlightenment — the Masons, the Randolphs, the Jeffersons, the Madisons, the Washingtons — and their apparently firm commitment to the antithesis of Filmerism, to the Lockean principles of rationalistic individualism and its picture of an atomistic society? Whatever principles these gentry subscribed to in the 1770's and later, they were one and all patriarchs on their own — Thomas Jefferson included. The anthropological, sociological, and political realities of Virginia society were those of the patriarchal family. Those realities might better be understood in Filmerian than in Lockean terms. And curiously enough, many of these Revolutionary Lockeans were blood relatives — remote "cozens" of Sir Robert himself. "In Virginia the Filmers and the Filmer conections," writes Laslett, "were associated with all the great families which finally gave to the thirteen colonies their Revolutionary leadership in the 1770's — the Washingtons, the Byrds, the Berkeleys, and the Randolphs and so the Jeffersons. Whatever the subsequent literary and philosophical reputation of Sir Robert Filmer, he had been a great genealogical success."70 Sir Robert was a family man in more ways than ideological.

It was not "simple fraud" that led George Fitzhugh to seize upon Filmer in his search for some ideological basis on which to construct his defense and his understanding of Virginia society, even in mid-nineteenth century. As a sociologist he had got hold of some firm anthropological data. It is rather more a wonder that the patriarchs of Revolutionary Virginia should have temporarily embraced Locke than that their sons should have returned to Filmer.

In an elaborate comparison, Fitzhugh identified the South and its heritage and tradition with Filmer, and the North and its tradition and heritage with Locke. The English Tories, with whom he identified the South, "are conservative, for the most part, agreeing with Sir Robert Filmer"; while the English Whigs "are progressive, rationalistic, radical, and agree with Locke in his absurd doctrines of human equality and the social contract." These were "the antinomes or opposing forces" in the mother country: Filmer versus Locke. "The North and the South would pretty well supply the places, or act the part, of these forces in America."71

Fitzhugh's home at Port Royal was shelled by Union troops during the war, while he and his family were refugees in Richmond. After the war and for more than a year during the Johnsonian Reconstruction, he was employed, oddly enough, as an agent of the Freedmen's Bureau and served with a Negro freedman as an associate judge of the Freedmen's Court. From this vantage point he viewed the Reconstruction drama and wrote about it philosophically, sometimes humorously, but rarely with any bitterness. After the death of his wife in 1877 he moved to Kentucky to live with a son, and finally to Texas with an impoverished daughter. There he died, nearly blind, in 1881 at the age of seventy-four.

In the many articles he published in De Bow's Review after the war, Fitzhugh counseled the South to accept the new order, but he showed little disposition to retract any of his ante-bellum theories. In 1867 he had the hardihood to reprint an article he had written in 1863 at the crest of the Confederate tide: ". . . we begin a great conservative reaction," he had announced. "We attempt to roll back the reformation in its political phases, for we saw every where in Europe and the North reformation running to excess, a universal spirit of destructiveness, a profane attempt to pull down what God and nature had built up and to erect ephemeral Utopia in its place."72

In 1857 he had defiantly addressed to the abolitionists a boast of the security and confidence of the Old Regime: "Is our house tumbling about our heads, and we sitting in conscious security amidst the impending ruin?" he asked. "No! No! Our edifice is one that never did fall, and never will fall; for Nature's plastic hand reared it, supports it, and will forever sustain it."73 So far as the record reveals, he never had the hardihood to reprint that, but as a philosopher he may have reflected upon it from time to time.


1. Louis Hartz, The Liberal Tradition in America (New York, 1955), pp. 147, 176.

2. Ibid., pp., 159, 182, 184.

3. Fitzhugh to Holmes, April 11, 1855, quoted in Harvey Wish, George Fitzhugh, Propagandist of the Old South (Baton Rouge, 1943), pp. 126-127.

4. George Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South, or The Failure of Free Society (Richmond, 1854), pp. 15, 156.

5. Ibid., pp. 7-33.

6. George Fitzhugh, Cannibals All! or, Slaves Without Masters (Richmond, 1857), p. 132 [all page references to Cannibals All! are to the John Harvard Library edition].

7. Fitzhugh, Sociology, p. 95, also p. 147. In 1861, however, Fitzhugh became a convert to the theory of the innate inferiority of the Negro race. Wish, Fitzhugh, pp 298-299.

8. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, p. 97.

9. Ibid., p. 86.

10. George Fitzhugh, "Thad. Stevens's Conscience — The Rump Parliament," De Bow's Review, After the War Series, II (1866), 469-470.

11. Wish, Fitzhugh, pp. 1-13.

12. Ibid., pp. 14-18.

13. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, p. 192.

14. Ibid., p. 67.

15. Ibid., p. 192.

16. Printed in Thomas Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamphlets (London, 1850). See pp. 52-53, 56.

17. Wish, Fitzhugh, pp. 343-344.

18. Fitzhugh, Slavery Justified — Liberty and Equality — Socialism — Young England — Domestic Slavery, reprinted in Appendix of Sociology for the South, pp. 226-258.

19. Reprinted, ibid., pp. 259-306.

20. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, p. 239.

21. Fitzhugh to Holmes, April 11, 1855, quoted in Wish, Fitzhugh, p. 111.

22. Henry Hughes of Mississippi published A Treatise on Sociology (Philadelphia, 1854) the same year.

23. Fitzhugh, Sociology, pp. 11-14; see also p. 133.

24. Ibid., p. 145.

25. Ibid., pp. 144-148; see also p. 153.

26. Ibid., pp. 42, 47, 61, 72.

27. Ibid., pp. 175-177.

28. Ibid., pp. 177-183.

29. Ibid., pp. 184, 190-191.

30. Ibid., pp. 188-189.

31. Ibid., pp. 183,187.

32. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, p. 7.

33. Ibid., p. 35.

34. Ibid., p. 16.

35. Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class, An Economic Study in the Evolution of Institutions (New York, 1899), p. 15.

36. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All! pp. 39, 17.

37. Ibid., p. 5.

38. Ibid., pp. 15, 17-19.

39. Fitzhugh, Sociology, pp. 157-159.

40. Ibid., p. 90.

41. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, p. 107.

42. Ibid., p. 108. Cf. Karl Marx, Capital (Chicago, 1919), I, 795-796.

43. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, p. 158.

44. Ibid., pp. 167-176.

45. Ibid., p. 109.

46. Ibid., p. 155.

47. Ibid., pp. 85, 93-95.

48. Ibid., p. 211.

49. Fitzhugh to A. Hogeboom, January 14, 1856, ibid., p. 103.

50. Ibid., p. 96.

51. Wish, Fitzhugh, p. 126; and for summary of critical reception of the Sociology see pp. 113-125.

52. Ibid., p. 198. The criticism of Cannibals All! is summarized in pp. 195-199.

53. Boston Liberator, March 6, 13, April 19, 1857, quoted in Wish, Fitzhugh, pp. 200-203.

54. Albert J. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1858 (Boston, 1928), II, 30-31.

55. See Wish, Fitzhugh, pp. 150-159, 288, on the whole House Divided speech matter.

56. Charles A. Beard, The American Spirit (New York, 1942), p. 288.

57. Fitzhugh to Holmes, April 11, 1855, quoted in Wish, Fitzhugh, pp. 118-119. See also Cannibals All!, pp. 12-13.

58. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, p. 71. See also Arnaud B. Leavelle and Thomas I. Cook, "George Fitzhugh and the Theory of American Conservatism," Journal of Politics, VII (1945), 145-168.

59. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, p. 54.

60. Fitzhugh, "Terribly in Earnest," De Bow's Review, After the War Series, II (1866), 172-177.

61. Fitzhugh, "Revolutions of '76 and '61 Contrasted," ibid., IV (1867), 36-42. This was originally published in the Southern Literary Messenger, XXXVII (1863), 718-726.

62. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, in order of quotation, pp. 193, 72, 243, 205.

63. Hartz, The Liberal Tradition, pp. 146-148.

64. Peter Laslett, "Sir Robert Filmer, The Man and the Whig Myth," William and Mary Quarterly, Ser. 3, V (1948), 544.

65. Peter Laslett, "The Gentry of Kent in 1640," Cambridge Historical Journal, IX (1948), 150.

66. Ibid., pp. 161-162.

67. Ibid., pp. 162-163.

68. Peter Laslett (ed.), "Introduction" to Sir Robert Filmer, Patriarcha and Other Political Works (Oxford, 1949), p. 26.

69. Laslett, "The Gentry of Kent," p. 150n.

70. Laslett (ed.), "Introduction" to Filmer, Patriarcha, p. 10.

71. Fitzhugh, "The Impending Fate of the Country," De Bow's Review II (1866), 569.

72. Fitzhugh, "Revolutions of '76 and '61 Contrasted," ibid., IV (1867), 43.

73. Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, p. 97.