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Copyright (c) 1998 Yeshiva University
Cardozo Women's Law Journal

ARTICLE: LOUISA MCCORD AND ANTEBELLUM SOUTHERN LEGAL THOUGHT

1998

5 Cardozo Women's L.J. 33

Author

Alfred L. Brophy *

Excerpt



Introduction

In the 1850s, as Americans debated slavery, Southern women produced novels describing plantation life in idyllic terms and obliquely responding to the abolitionists' critique of slave law. 1 One Southern woman, Louisa McCord, responded with essays explicitly discussing proslavery law, as well as economic and political thought. Writing in the Southern Quarterly Review, one of the leading Southern periodicals of the time, McCord questioned the results that would flow from the reforms of the law that Harriet Beecher Stowe sought in her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin:




 
Make your law to interfere with the God-established system of slavery, which our Southern states are beautifully developing to perfection, daily improving the condition of the slave, daily waking more and more the master to his high and responsible position; make your laws, we say, to pervert this God-directed course, and the world has yet to see the horrors which might ensue from it. 2




 
The exchange was part of the intellectual world of antebellum Southern women who debated law and legal and political theory, terrain usually written about as if it were reserved only for men at that time. 3





I. Louisa McCord and the Intellectual World of Antebellum SouthCarolina
 
Louisa Cheves was born into an affluent South Carolina family in 1810. Her father, Langdon Cheves, who served as director of the Second Bank of the United States, provided an atmosphere that discussed political and social thought, business and religion. Much of her early childhood was spent in Philadelphia, ...
 
 
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