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An Old Creed for the New South: Proslavery Ideology and Historiography, 1865-1918
     

An Old Creed for the New South: Proslavery Ideology and Historiography, 1865-1918

by John David Smith
 

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An Old Creed for the New South:Proslavery Ideology and Historiography, 1865–1918 details the slavery debate from the Civil War through World War I. Award-winning historian John David Smith argues that African American slavery remained a salient metaphor for how Americans interpreted contemporary race relations decades after the Civil War.

Overview

An Old Creed for the New South:Proslavery Ideology and Historiography, 1865–1918 details the slavery debate from the Civil War through World War I. Award-winning historian John David Smith argues that African American slavery remained a salient metaphor for how Americans interpreted contemporary race relations decades after the Civil War.

Smith draws extensively on postwar articles, books, diaries, manuscripts, newspapers, and speeches to counter the belief that debates over slavery ended with emancipation. After the Civil War, Americans in both the North and the South continued to debate slavery’s merits as a labor, legal, and educational system and as a mode of racial control. The study details how white Southerners continued to tout slavery as beneficial for both races long after Confederate defeat. During Reconstruction and after Redemption, Southerners continued to refine proslavery ideas while subjecting blacks to new legal, extralegal, and social controls.

An Old Creed for the New South links pre– and post–Civil War racial thought, showing historical continuity, and treats the Black Codes and the Jim Crow laws in new ways, connecting these important racial and legal themes to intellectual and social history. Although many blacks and some whites denounced slavery as the source of the contemporary “Negro problem,” most whites, including late nineteenth-century historians, championed a “new” proslavery argument. The study also traces how historian Ulrich B. Phillips and Progressive Era scholars looked at slavery as a golden age of American race relations and shows how a broad range of African Americans, including Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois, responded to the proslavery argument. Such ideas, Smith posits, provided a powerful racial creed for the New South.

This examination of black slavery in the American public mind—which includes the arguments of former slaves, slaveholders, Freedmen's Bureau agents, novelists, and essayists—demonstrates that proslavery ideology dominated racial thought among white southerners, and most white northerners, in the five decades following the Civil War.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

 “A heavily researched and clearly written survey of pro- and antislavery American writings from Appomattox to Versailles.”

Choice

“Scholars will find [An Old Creed for the New South] to be a perceptive analysis of racism in our profession and a useful guide to the literature.”

—Journal of American History

“John David Smith has written the most thorough treatment of the early historiography of slavery in the United States.”

—Journal of Economic History

“Smith shows, in striking detail, how the history of slavery was used to justify the segregation of blacks in 1865–66 and again in post-Reconstruction America.”

—Law and History Review

“A compact, carefully and thoroughly researched, useful study in historiography.”

American Historical Review

“Smith’s extensively researched work . . . is a treasure trove of citations to postwar proslavery writings.”

Southern Historian

“Smith’s insightful study remains an essential text for students of slavery, race relations, and historiography.”

North Carolina Historical Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780809387199
Publisher:
Southern Illinois University Press
Publication date:
02/12/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
340
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

John David Smith, the Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is the author or editor of nineteen books, including  Black Judas: William Hannibal Thomas and “The American Negro,”  winner of the Mayflower Society Award for Nonfiction.

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