Hinton Rowan Helper

Hinton Rowan Helper (1829-1909) was a 19th century scholar whose writing helped to focus the American public's attention on the most critical issues pertaining to slavery. Helper was born and raised in North Carolina, his father dying only a year after his birth. His father owned a few slaves, working them on a small farm. After a wasted three years in California during the "gold rush" he apparently contemplated a work that would address the economic problems in his own part of the country, the South.  The great success of his book, entitled The Crisis of the American South,  in rallying the anti-slavery put Helper in contact with influential men, and as a result of this he was able to secure the office of consul at Buenos Aires, Argentine Republic, in 1861, holding it for six years. He also attempted to implement a grand scheme to have one great railway linking North, Central and South America, running from Hudson's Bay to Cape Horn. This "Three Americas Railway" concept achieved some interest, but Helper lost much of his own money campaigning for it. He went on to live in South America, where he married. However, because of his later writings, his erstwhile supporters came to regard his post-war views with distaste, and could not allow themselves to be associated with Helper's program of nativism. Helper should be remembered for achieving a nearly impossible feat, that of changing the thinking of his fellow Americans using a scholarly approach, through an orderly presentation of facts and statistics.

Books by Hinton Rowan Helper:

The Crisis of the American South

More information on The Crisis of the American South