After Secession: Jefferson Davis and the Failure of Confederate Nationalism / Edition 1

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The secession of the southern states from the Union was not merely a culmination of certain events; it was also the beginning of the trial of Confederate nationalism. The slaveholding elite which had led the South out of the Union now had to solidify its support among the nonslaveholding small farmers, a class that constituted the bulk of the white population.

But Jefferson Davis and the new government were greatly hampered in their bid for widespread public support, partially because of the same force that had resulted in secession -- the strong states' rights predisposition of many southerners and their opposition to a strong central government -- and partially because of the great social and economic gap that separated the governed from the governors.

In After Secession Paul Escott focuses on the challenge that the South's widespread political ideals presented to Jefferson Davis and on the way growing class resentments among citizens in the countryside affected the war effort. New material is included on Jefferson Davis and his policies, and interesting new interpretations of the Confederate government's crucial problems of decision making and failure to respond to the common people are offered. The result is both a fresh look at the pivotal role that strong leadership plays in the establishment of a new nation and a revealing study of how Jefferson Davis' frustrations increasingly affected the quality of his presidency.

LSU Press

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Editorial Reviews

Escott focuses on the challenges the South's political ideals presented to Davis in wartime and on the ways in which growing class resentments among citizens in the countryside affected the war effort. Originally published (cloth) in 1978. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807118078
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1992
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 1,325,745
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul D. Escott received his doctorate from Duke University. He is assistant professor of history at the University of north Carolina at Charlotte.

LSU Press

Paul D. Escott received his doctorate from Duke University. He is assistant professor of history at the University of north Carolina at Charlotte.

LSU Press

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Table of Contents

1 Preparation for the Presidency: Jefferson Davis, 1846-1860 1
2 The Problem of Unity: Regional Identity or Confederate Nationalism? 19
3 The Debate over Centralization 54
4 The Quiet Rebellion of the Common People 94
5 Leadership and Loyalty - Jefferson Davis, Joseph E. Brown, and the Common People 135
6 In Search of an Ideology 168
7 Fighting Against Disintegration 196
8 Slavery and Confederate Purpose 226
9 An Assessment of Jefferson Davis as a Political Leader 256
Selected Bibliography 275
Index 291
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