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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Helper, Hinton Rowan (1829-1906) The Impending crisis of the South: How to meet it

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00267.074 Author/Creator: Helper, Hinton Rowan (1829-1906) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Books Date: 1857 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: First edition. Signed as presented by Samuel A. Winsor. Published by the Burkick Brothers, New York. Bookplate removed. In 1857, Hinton Rowan Helper, the son of a western North Carolina farmer, published one of the most politically influential books ever written by an American. 'The Impending Crisis of the South' argued that slavery was incompatible with economic progress. Using statistics drawn from the 1850 census, Helper maintained that by every measure the North was growing far faster than the South and that slavery was the cause of the South's economic backwardness. Helper's thesis was that slavery was inefficient and wasteful, that it impoverished the South, degraded labor, inhibited urbanization, thwarted industrialization, and stifled progress. A rabid racist, Helper accompanied his call for abolition with a demand for colonization. He concluded with a call for non-slaveholders to overthrow the South's planter elite. During the 1860 presidential campaign, the New York Tribune distributed 500 copies of the book a day, considering it the most effective propaganda against slavery ever written. Many Southerners burned it, fearful that it would divide the white population.

People: Helper, Hinton Rowan, 1829-1906.

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Keywords/Subjects: Economics, African American History, Slavery, Politics, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Census, Industry, Abolition, Literature and Language Arts, Finance, Colonization

Sub Era: Age of Jackson Slavery & Anti-slavery The Crisis of the 1850's