James Henry Hammond, 1807 – 1864

James Henry Hammond, 1807 – 1864

A Governor, Senator, lawyer, teacher, and lifetime
supporter of the divine institution of slavery.
The innovator of the term “Mudsill Theory,” and the
popularizer of the well known southern mantra
“Cotton is King.”

Born in 1807 in South Carolina, known as being a
particularly bright, and passionate mind throughout
his childhood, and adult life, Hammond was a dedicated
defender of justice, and servant of the people, graduating
from South Carolina College in 1825, eventually pursuing
a career as a lawyer, being admitted to the bar in 1828.
Beginning his political career as a newspaper editor of
the long defunct “Southern Times” Hammond was a staunch
supporter of the States Rights oriented proposal of
“nullification” which held that states could declare
null any Federal law that was not conducive to their
interest as a sovereign state. This becoming a popular
stance of many southerners during the Tariff controversy
of 1828.

Hammond utilized this newly acquired interest in,
and experience with, politics in his first political forray
in a successful bid for the House of Representatives in 1835.
Being elected on the ticket of the Nullifier Party. His
most prominent political victory came when he was elected
Governor of South Carolina in 1842, eventually being chosen
by the Legislature for the United States Senate in 1857.
During his tenure as an elected official he was exceptionally
adamant in his advocacy, and defense of slavery. He cointed,
and popularized the Mudsill Theory, that states that a lower
class had to, and was always going to be present to perform
the menial tasks within drudges of society, and thereby that
population should be elevated to their most capable, in their
respective fields, stating all of these positions, and more
in his co-authored book titled: “The Pro-Slavery Argument”
Written from the viewpoints of many prominent, pro-slavery
intellectuals, published in 1857.

Hammond’s advocacy of slavery was not just as an abstract good,
but he being a planter, aswell as a politician, and owner of
over 300 slaves saw slavery as a utility not exclusively for
refined civilization, but as much for the slaves themselves who
were posited as being an inferior people who rquired paternalistic
aid, and guidance for the betterment of themselves. He articulated
this in a variety of speeches, but also demonstrated this in a
number of manuals he wrote regarding the proper way to run a
plantation, based on his estate, Redcliffe.

Hammond summarized the mudsill theory in the following quote:
“In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties,
to perform the drudgery of life. That is, a class requiring but a low
order of intellect and but little skill. Its requisites are vigor,
docility, fidelity. Such a class you must have, or you would not have
that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement.”

Resigning from office in 1860, and dying in 1864 James Henry Hammond
is remembered as being, possibly, the most well known defender of
slavery in the antebellum south. Facing mass public scrutiny, slander,
and controversy, he was unflinchingly dedicated to his ideals. We
would endorse reading his co-authored work, link to the book below,
viewing his speeches, and studying this servant of the paternalistic,
divinely inspired institution of slavery.

(Clicking covers will redirect to the full book)

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