Deconstruction of the Theory of White Supremacy in Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Deconstruction of the Theory of White Supremacy in Uncle Tom's Cabin

In the novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe unmasks the unjust and unfair treatment of blacks by whites during the time in which she lived. Stowe goes on to criticize American slave owners for their irrational justifications of slavery. They use racial superiority and sub-human categorization of blacks as means of justifying slavery. She deconstructs the theory of white supremacy in her emotional and thought provoking novel. Stowe demonstrates in her depiction of the beating of the slaves how they are inhumanely treated as animals. She also uses many slave and master relationships in order to demonstrate society’s belief of racial superiority.

Under the institution of slavery, not all men are created equal. There is the dominant force, the master, and there is the submissive one, the slave. Most slave owners believed that the submissive and dominant characteristic were innate according to race. Stowe refutes this belief by portraying a slave, George Harris, which is smarter than his master is. This illustration undermines the concept of racial superiority in the fact that whites believed that they were innately superior to blacks. Stowe states that George is “in the eye of the law not a man, but a thing, all of these superior qualifications were subject to the control of a vulgar narrow-minded, tyrannical master”(11). George invented a machine at work that his boss thought was a way to get out of work and a “labor-saving machine”(12). George is taken out of the factory and put to work. Later, he asks the unspoken question of the “who made him my master?”(15). Stowe uses a black man to criticize the entire concept of slavery. She ...

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...econstructs the theory of white supremacy by analyzing the sub-human categorization of blacks and the belief of racial superiority. She writes an emotional and accurate depiction of “God’s curse on slavery!-a bitter, bitter, most accursed thing! -a curse to the master and a curse to the slave!”(33). Nothing good can come out of such a “deadly evil” in which one asserts power over the other in order to maintain racial superiority.


Works Cited

Donovan, Josephine. Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Evil, Affliction, and Redemptive

Love. Boston: Twayne Publishers, .

Gossett, Thomas F. Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture. Southern

Methodist University Press, 1985

“Racial Essentialism,” American Quarterly, v.46, #4, December 1994.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. New York: Bantam Books,


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