The new encyclopedia of Southern culture. Volume 3, History by Charles Reagan Wilson

By Charles Reagan Wilson

Supplying a chronological and interpretive backbone to the twenty-four volumes of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, this quantity widely surveys historical past within the American South from the Paleoindian interval (approximately 8000 B.C.E.) to the current. In 118 essays, members disguise the turbulent previous of the zone that has witnessed widespread racial clash, a bloody Civil struggle fought and misplaced on its soil, vast in- and out-migration, significant fiscal differences, and a civil rights flow that introduced primary switch to the social order.

Charles Reagan Wilson's assessment essay examines the evolution of southern heritage and how our realizing of southern tradition has spread out over the years and in keeping with numerous occasions and social forces--not simply because the contrary of the North but additionally within the higher context of the Atlantic global. Longer thematic essays conceal significant eras and occasions, equivalent to early cost, slave tradition, Reconstruction, the recent Deal, and the increase of the recent South. short topical entries conceal individuals--including figures from the Civil struggle, the civil rights stream, and twentieth-century politics--and corporations corresponding to the Southern Christian management convention, Daughters of the Confederacy, and electorate' Councils, between others. jointly, those essays provide a sweeping connection with the wealthy historical past of the region.

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The Alliance was significant in southern history in trying to forge a class coalition by overcoming racial divisions. Its reformers called for structural changes in the economy to give the federal government a greater role in regulating and controlling an economy increasingly dominated by corporate power. Agrarian protesters attempted to substitute economic issues for racial issues as the dominant concerns in public policy. It was a direct class appeal to the poor, articulating the profound grievances of farmers and forging a democratic political culture.

The slave-based plantation system was uniquely southern, and its crops were distinctive to the region. The nature of the southern population was different from that elsewhere, with English, African, and Scots-Irish elements remaining dominant at a time when the northern population was being transformed through immigration. Southerners remained rural, while industry, immigration, urbanization, and reform were changing the North. The southern social structure was the background against which a distinctive culture appeared.

Southerners remained rural, while industry, immigration, urbanization, and reform were changing the North. The southern social structure was the background against which a distinctive culture appeared. Planter hegemony over society was based partly on con  trol of the South’s wealth. Wealthy planters owned the best farming land, and the productivity of these lands was greater than that of smaller farms. The planter elite included two groups: those traditional southern families whose wealth extended back several generations or more, taking on the refinements and prestige of ‘‘old money,’’ and a larger group of self-made men, humble in origins, who had seized opportunities and luck to amass fortunes from cotton.

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