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Hinton Rowan Helper

(1829—1909)


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(1829–1909),

North Carolina author, spent three years in California during the gold rush, and wrote his impressions in Land of Gold: Reality Versus Fiction (1855). He then became interested in the problem of slavery, and wrote The Impending Crisis of the South: How To Meet It (1857), discussing the question from an economic point of view and advocating free labor, although only in the interest of the whites, since he despised blacks. Unpopular in the South, this antislavery argument was widely distributed by Republicans and Abolitionists and won Helper the post of U.S. consul at Buenos Aires. After his return (1866), he wrote three passionate books denouncing the very existence of colored races, the first of these being Nojoque: A Question for a Continent (1867), a furious satire demanding the extinction of blacks and prophesying a happy “golden age” to be inaugurated by “the total absence of all the swarthy and inferior races of men.” He devoted most of the rest of his life to an unsuccessful project that is described in The Three Americas Railway (1881).

Subjects: Literature.


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