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George H. Smith

George H. Smith was formerly Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Humane Studies, a lecturer on American History for Cato Summer Seminars, and Executive Editor of Knowledge Products. Smith's fourth and most recent book, The System of Liberty, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.

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The Liberty Party

by George H. Smith on May 14, 2018

Smith discusses some circumstances that led to the formation of the abolitionist Liberty Party in 1840.

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Defending Slavery by Attacking Capitalists

by George H. Smith on Apr 27, 2018

Smith explains how some Southerners defended chattel slavery by contrasting it favorably with “wage slavery” in the North. 

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Moncure Conway’s Fall from Grace

by George H. Smith on Apr 13, 2018

How was the abolitionist Moncure Conway widely criticized by other American abolitionists for his peace proposal that would end the Civil War?

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Defenses of the Right of Secession

by George H. Smith on Mar 30, 2018

Smith discusses the doctrine of state sovereignty, as defended by Alexander Stephens, Thomas Jefferson, and John C. Calhoun.

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Gradualism and the Republican Party

by George H. Smith on Mar 16, 2018

Smith discusses plans for the abolition of slavery by radical members of the Republican Party.

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The Slave Trade and the Constitution

by George H. Smith on Sep 29, 2017

Smith explains some features of the slave trade and the constitutional provision that it would not be banned in America for at least 20 years.

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Slavery in the Constitutional Convention

by George H. Smith on Sep 22, 2017

Smith discusses some controversies over slavery during the framing of the Constitution, especially the three-fifths clause.

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Are Judges Bound to Enforce Unjust Laws?

by George H. Smith on Jul 28, 2017

Smith details the scholarly debate between Lysander Spooner and Wendell Phillips over the constitutionality of slavery.

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The Constitution and Slavery

by George H. Smith on Jun 23, 2017

Smith discusses the schism in the abolitionist movement over the constitutionality of slavery, and he begins his analysis of Lysander Spooner’s arguments in The Unconstitutionality of Slavery.

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Abolitionism: Slavery as Sin

by George H. Smith on Apr 14, 2017

Smith begins his explanation of why so many abolitionists joined the crusade for the legal prohibition of alcohol.