Professor Matthew Karp Discusses Slaveholders and Foreign Policy

Dr. Matthew Karp Speaks in ten Hoor Hall

On September 20th, Dr. Matthew Karp of Princeton University delivered a lecture in ten Hoor Hall, entitled “Slave Power: How Southern Slaveholders Mastered U.S. Foreign Policy.”

In addition to providing an overview of his book, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy, Karp discussed how slaveholders in the Antebellum South viewed themselves and their domestic and foreign policy interests. Karp highlighted the anachronisms that frequently color our understanding of the South and Southerners leading up to the Civil War, as well as the incorrect stereotypes by which they are frequently characterized. Rather, Karp argued that slave-owning Southerners saw themselves as thoroughly modern people, whose goals would be advanced through extensive military action in the American frontier and military build-up in the Western hemisphere. Ironically, much of the military expansion that Southerners accomplished would later be a major reason why the Union was able to overcome the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Thank you, Dr. Karp, for visiting The University of Alabama and speaking with us!