The Old South / Edition 1

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The Old South is a collection of primary documents and previously published essays introducing students to recent themes found in scholarship on the social and cultural history of the Old South. The documents are drawn directly from the essays not only to vividly illustrate the events, but also to show students how historians construct arguments based on archival evidence. Smith introduces the collection with a detailed essay, and provides study questions, suggestions for further reading, a map, and a chronology of significant events creating a highly useful student-friendly reader.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This is an exceptionally well-conceived and well-executed collection of documents and scholarly essays. Mark Smith deserves high marks for at once presenting and recasting the antebellum South in bold and original ways. The Old South is absolutely first-rate." Peter Coclanis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"This book provides an excellent introduction to the study of the antebellum South, covering the salient topics in the region's economic, political, and cultural history. Mark Smith's essay on the historiography is elegant and informative, and his choice of readings is judicious. Undergraduates will learn a great deal from this volume, and it is perfectly suited for course adoption." Joan E. Cashin, author of Our Common Affairs: Texts from Women in the Old South

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Mark M. Smith is Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. He previously taught at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. He is the author of Mastered by the Clock: Time, Slavery, and Freedom in the American South (1997) and Debating Slavery: Economy and Society in the Antebellum American South (1998).

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Table of Contents


Map: The Old South in 1860.



Part I: A Modern Old South.

Introduction to Documents and Essays.

1. An "Old" Old South.

Sketches of the South Santee, 1797-1798.

A Georgia Planter on the Classical South, 1835.

A Georgia Planter Bemoans the Cost of Slavery, 1846.

An "Old" Old South. (Raimondo Luraghi).

2. An Old South by the Clock.

The Importance of "Early Rising," 1851.

Clock Time and Southern Railroads, 1834.

Plantation Time, 1851.

Timing Slave Labor by the Watch, 1843.

Plantation Time from a Slave's Perspective, 1847.

An Old South by the Clock. (Mark M. Smith).

Study Questions and Further Reading.

Part II: Southern Honor, Southern Violence.

Introduction to Documents and Essays.

3. The Appearance of Honor and the Honor of Appearance.

Affronts to Honor in a Southern Newspaper, 1843.

Public Accusations of Falsehood, 1833.

Codes of Honor and Dueling, 1858.

The Appearance of Honor and the Honor of Appearance. (Kenneth S. Greenberg).

4. Poor, Violent Men in a Premodern World.

A Traveller's Comments on the "Barbarity" of the Southern Frontier, 1816.

A Traveller Observes Techniques of Fighting. 1807.

"Tall talk" Among Ruffians, 1843.

Poor, Violent Men in a Premodern World. (Elliot J. Gorn).

Study Questions and Further Reading.

Part III: Constructing And Defending Slavery.

Introduction to Documents and Essays.

5. Slavery Ordained of God.

Frederick Law Olmstead Recounts Impressions of a Religious Meeting, 1856.

James Henley Thornwell's Defense of Slavery, 1860.

Slavery Ordained of God. (Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese).

6. Proslavery, Gender, and the Southern Yeomen.

James Henley Thornwell Associates Slavery and Gender Relations, 1852.

John L. Manning's Letter to his Wife, 1860.

George Howe Justifies the Subordination of Women, 1850.

Proslavery, Gender, and the Southern Yeomen. (Stephanie McCurry).

Study Questions and Further Reading.

Part IV: Communities, Cultures, and Economies: Lives of the Enslaved.

Introduction to Documents and Essays.

7. Benefits of the Lowcountry Slaves' Economy.

Charles Manigault's Plantation Journal, 1844.

A South Carolina Rice Planter on the Slaves' Economy, 1858.

Petition and Deposition of Former Slaves, 1873.

Benefits of the Lowcountry Slaves' Economy. (Philip D. Morgan).

8. Ambiguities of the Upcountry Slaves' Economy.

Former Slaves Recall Independent Production.

A Foreign Traveller Observes Wage-earning Slaves, 1860.

Slaves on Trial, 1846.

Ambiguities of the Upcountry Slaves' Economy. (Lawrence T. McDonnell).

Study Questions and Further Reading.

Part V: Selling Southern Bodies.

Introduction to Documents and Essays.

9. The Slave Trader in Image and Reality.

A Boston Minister on Slave Traders, 1855.

A Slaveholder Comments on Traders and Prices, 1846.

A Trader Notes Market Prices for Slaves, 1859.

The Slave Trader in Image and Reality. (Michael Tadman).

10. Reading Bodies, Answering Questions.

A Southern Physician on "Unsoundness in the Negro," 1858-1859.

A Trader Notes How Slaves Affect Their Sales, 1856.

A Former Slave Notes Buyers Reading Bodies, 1855.

A Slave Reads a Buyer, 1858.

Asking Questions and Reading Bodies. (Walter Johnson).

Study Questions and Further Reading.

Part VI: Womanhood in Black and White.

Introduction to Documents and Essays.

11. Breast-Feeding and Elite White Womanhood.

Southern Medical Opinions on Wet Nursing and Breast Feeding, 1850.

Newspaper Advertisements for Wet Nurses, 1859.

A Southern Mother on Child-Rearing, 1844.

Breast-Feeding and Elite White Motherhood. (Sally McMillen).

12. Slave Women and Definitions of Womanhood.

Defining a "Good Wife" and "Good Woman," 1835.

Testimony of Three former Virginia Female Slaves.

Elizabeth Keckley Resists Bondage.

Slave Women and Definitions of Womanhood. (Brenda Stevenson).

Study Questions and Further Reading.


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