Overview

In Southern Society and Its Transformations, a new set of scholars challenge conventional perceptions of the antebellum South as an economically static region compared to the North. Showing that the pre-Civil War South was much more complex than once thought, the essays in this volume examine the economic lives and social realities of three overlooked but important groups of southerners: the working poor, non-slaveholding whites, and middling property holders such as small planters, professionals, and ...
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Southern Society and Its Transformations, 1790-1860

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Overview

In Southern Society and Its Transformations, a new set of scholars challenge conventional perceptions of the antebellum South as an economically static region compared to the North. Showing that the pre-Civil War South was much more complex than once thought, the essays in this volume examine the economic lives and social realities of three overlooked but important groups of southerners: the working poor, non-slaveholding whites, and middling property holders such as small planters, professionals, and entrepreneurs. The nine essays that comprise Southern Society and Its Transformations explore new territory in the study of the slave-era South, conveying how modernization took shape across the region and exploring the social processes involved in its economic developments. The book is divided into four parts, each analyzing a different facet of white southern life. The first outlines the legal dimensions of race relations, exploring the effects of lynching and the significance of Georgia’s vagrancy laws. Part II presents the advent of the market economy and its effect on agriculture in the South, including the beginning of frontier capitalism. The third section details the rise of a professional middle class in the slave era and the conflicts provoked. The book’s last section deals with the financial aspects of the transformation in the South, including the credit and debt relationships at play and the presence of corporate entrepreneurship. Between the dawn of the nation and the Civil War, constant change was afoot in the American South. Scholarship has only begun to explore these progressions in the past few decades and has given too little consideration to the economic developments with respect to the working-class experience. These essays show that a new generation of scholars is asking fresh questions about the social aspects of the South’s economic transformation. Southern Society and Its Transformations is a complex look at how whole groups of traditionally ignored white southerners in the slave era embraced modernizing economic ideas and actions while accepting a place in their race-based world. This volume will be of interest to students of Southern and U.S. economic and social history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826272430
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2011
  • Series: NEW CURRENTS SO ECON & SOC, #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 1,078,604
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Susanna Delfino is Associate Professor of American History in the Department of European Research at the University of Genoa, Italy. She lives in Albissola Marina, a city in Savona, Italy. Michele Gillespie, the Kahle Associate Professor in the Department of History at Wake Forest University, resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She and Susanna Delfino previously collaborated as editors of Technology, Innovation, and Southern Industrialization and Global Perspectives on Industrial Transformation in the American South (both available from University of Missouri Press). Louis M. Kyriakoudes is Director of the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage as well as Associate Professor of History at The University of Southern Mississippi. He is the author of The Social Origins of the Urban South: Race, Gender, and Migration in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, 1890–1930. He lives in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
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Table of Contents

Preface J. William Harris 1

Editors' Introduction Susanna Delfino Michele Gillespie Louis Kyriakoudes 9

Part I Legal and Extralegal Dimensions of Race Relations

Chapter 1 "A Vile, Immoral, and Profligate Course of Life": Poor Whites and the Enforcement of Vagrancy Laws in Antebellum Georgia Keri Leigh Merritt 25

Chapter 2 The Lynching of Slaves: Race, Law, and the White Community in the Antebellum South Michael J. Pfeifer 45

Part II The Advent of the Market Economy and the Agricultural World

Chapter 3 Frontier Capitalism: Market Migration to Rural Central Missouri, 1815-1860 Jeff Bremer 79

Chapter 4 "Anything … That Would Pay": Yeoman Farmers and the Nascent Market Economy on the Antebellum Plantation Frontier Gary T. Edwards 102

Chapter 5 "Chased Out on the Slippery Ice": Rural Wage Laborers in Baltimore's Hinterlands, 1815-1860 Max L. Grivno 131

Part III The Rise of the Middle Classes

Chapter 6 Professionalization and the Southern Middle Class Jonathan Daniel Wells 157

Chapter 7 Education and Professionals in the Old South: Schooling's Impact on Career and Social Class Jennifer R. Green 176

Part IV Entrepreneurial and Financial Aspects of the Transformations

Chapter 8 Corporate Entrepreneurship in the Antebellum South Robert E. Wright 197

Chapter 9 "In Pursuit of Their Livelihood": Credit and Debt Relations Among Natchez Planters in the 1820s Elbra David 217

Contributors 249

Index 253

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