The Peculiar Institution

By Kenneth M. Stampp,

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Why read it?

1 author picked The Peculiar Institution as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book came out in 1956 and almost instantly became a classic. It essentially ripped apart the claims put forth by southern historians that slavery was a benign institution and that slaves were better off in the Deep South than if they had remained in “savage” Africa. The book also made it clear that slavery, and not states’ rights, brought on the Civil War. But the main reason I chose this book is that I had the good fortune of taking Stampp’s lecture course when I was a freshman back in 1952. Were his lectures dazzling? No, they weren’t. But…

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