Jeffrey Rogers Hummel Quote

“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.'”

~ Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

Emancipating the Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War (Chicago: Open Court, 1996), p. 23

Ratings and Comments

Bruno, Paris

Slavery as a totally assumed socialism. enlightening.

  • Reply
c.s.    12/9/05
Mike, Mount Holly, NC

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.

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Anonymous    12/9/05

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.

Joe, Rochester, MI


Yndrd1984, Ames, IA

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).

Poo?, Poo?


J B Wulff, Bristol

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.

cal, lewisville, tx

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.

Waffler, Smith

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.

J Carlton, Calgary

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. :)

warren, olathe

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.

S Petersen, Springfield, MO

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?

  • Reply
RBESRQ    10/29/09

what total gobbledygook - he had no idea what socialism is. It's unfortunate, but in the end the Southerners have won.

RKA, Wasilla, AK

Waffler, I understand your point of view, but first and foremost, Civil War 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 the clutches of King George!

Waffler, Smith

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.

Alan Bramwell, Chiang Mai, Thailand

What a load of utter rubbish. You stole the life of a slave to make a profit!
In today's world Hummel would be pummelled into prison.
It is unthinkable that this opinion has any humanitarian, sane, or decent thought behind it. Capitalism, communism and all the other 'isms' cannot even be compared to slavery, certainly not by anyone wishing to be taken seriously!

E Archer, NYC

'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.' -- Sounds just like the argument of Democrats in which we all are considered on the plantation and merely demand better conditions of our servitude. See, without masters, people are helpless and in need of saving -- to enslave them is to save them.

Robert, Somewhere in the US

I agree with Alan....

Mike, Norwalk

Several good comments here - perspectives and focus on differing aspects of the quote supports reader's thumb's down to & through 5 stars. There is a string of accuracy that winds itself through the quote's weave, leaving room for the varied comments. For those who will read a full unbiased history, It is clear the War Between the States had nothing to do with slavery. There were slaves in the North as well as the South / Lincoln was willing for slavery to continue if the South would re-unify. The South paid the vast majority of the federal budget while the North kept crouching on independent liberties. By way of example: To get a doctorate in any field from a college, most Americans were going to Germany where socialism was the basis of any degree. Returning to America (mostly the Northeast and Ivy league colleges) socialism was taught and encouraged by such returning professors to religious, political, business, banking, etc. leaders and who ever else would listen. The Fabian Socialists of G.B. financed, and otherwise encouraged the move from a Representative Republic - where each individual was sovereign to where, an illuminated oligarchy would rule in an atmosphere of oppressive/totalitarian socialism. There were extremely few to no policing agencies (limited sheriff's offices only) in the U.S. until a decade or so before the War Between the States. Fabian and German socialists assisted in establishing the first few policing agencies in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia to expand the statist oligarchy's will. After the war, local police departments (local standing army(s)) were placed everywhere to enforce the new form of government. Socialism (communism to fascism and more) after the war enslaved all as the races were made equal in the new slavery.

Mark W., Aurora, CO


I thank Mike in Norwalk for his wonderful post! I laugh at the Waffler when he blurts that, ..."the Federal Governmet was and still is in the business of insuring LIBERTY for all just as it did by winning the Civil War"... - what a bunch of rubbish right there -- the feds have only ever been about sucking Our sovereign power along w/Our Liberty!

I believe the quote delivers an EXCELLENT COROLLARY illustrating an unbroken line, from support of slavery by socialists to the support of govt-as-god as practiced by today's lefty plantation masters (in cahoots w/rotten GOP). DOES NOT this quote and attitude dovetail seamlessly with today's totalitarian fascist-socialist anti-American democrat/sjw mentality??


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