Lieber, Slavery, and the Problem of Free Thought in Antebellum South Carolina
FRANCIS LIEBER AND THE CULTURE OF THE MIND, Charles R. Mack and Henry H. Lesesne, eds., pp. 11-22, University of South Carolina Press, 2005
12 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2009
Date Written: 2005
In this article, Professor Finkelman discusses the career of Francis Lieber, a German-born immigrant and intellectual during the antebellum period. Lieber was a conservative who was within the social circle of many of the leading intellectuals and politicians of his day. His career as a professor moved him from the North to Columbia, South Carolina for twenty-one years. During his time in South Carolina, Lieber was made uncomfortable by his adopted home’s avid support of slavery, his beliefs that the South lacked the intellectual atmosphere of the North and that the culture was run by religious zealots. Due to his discomfort, Lieber spent much of his time in South Carolina seeking a position back North, and was successful shortly before war broke out. During the war, Lieber became an important aid to President Lincoln; Professor Finkelman argues that if South Carolina had been more accepting of Lieber and his beliefs that Lieber would have remained in the South throughout the war.
Keywords: Francis Lieber
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