This Vast Southern Empire - Author Talk with Matt Karp
A discussion with Jacobin editor Matt Karp on slavery and struggles over control of the US state.
This event will celebrate the release of Matt Karp's first book, "This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy"
"States' Rights!" has long been the rallying cry of reaction. But "limited government" has not been a political principle so much as the defensive tactic of a political minority.
So long as the right is able to wield the power of the US state to its own ends, it is more than happy to do so. That seems terrifyingly true today as President-Elect Trump awaits inauguration. The more so because it is far from a new approach.
"Relative to its free population, the South held disproportionate influence in virtually every branch of the antebellum US government...
They sought with terrific ambition to command the power of the entire United States... nowhere did slaveholders wield their power with more energy or commitment than in the realm of foreign and military policy...
The master theorists of the master class did not demand rigid or slavish obedience to the principle of local sovereignty. Rather, they sought to consolidate proslavery forces for a larger struggle that spanned the Atlantic world."
—from "This Vast Southern Empire"
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Matt Karp is Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University and a contributing editor at Jacobin. "This Vast Southern Empire" is his first book.