The Civil War Essay Research Paper CIVIL — страница 3

  • Просмотров 476
  • Скачиваний 4
  • Размер файла 29

that the south had the maximum degree of culture and unity in terms of Southernism. It was the strongest section in the United States as in the sectional solidarity and the awareness of its entity. It had a cultural unity despite the diversity, a coherence that led many historians to name this period as the anti-bellum period while referring to the uniqueness of the south. Even the climate has been attributed as a feature of this southern uniqueness. The hot weather in the predominantly agrarian setup is seen as another facet in the southern makeup. There was the existence of the plantation style cultivation based on the slave labor produced tobacco, cotton and sugar which was mainly for export. The southern planters had trade through merchants with England. Urbanization had not

really occurred on the scale of the northern section. There was a rural character with few towns and cities consisting of a diffused population of 13 persons per square mile including the slaves. The majority of the people were Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. Southernism The Southernism referred to by many historians consisted of certain features like the rural character, the plantation system, slavery and the social organization and the very different products of this region. The rural character of the southern section is attributed to the people?s love for their land. There was also a devotion to the English culture and a conscious effort to recreate English society in the lifestyles of the affluent of the south. The society was mainly conservative, liking the status quo with no

changes in their style of living. The society was quite orderly with a clearly defined class organization though not a rigid one. Social mobility was possible but not as easily as in the north or the west as there was minimum class competition. Often the climate has been given to explain the comfortable life enjoyed by the southern people. Everyone had an easy life without much effort, as they were free from the necessity of conquering the environment, as the soil was very fertile and easy to till. The southern people had a lot of spare time to enjoy life. Though this would be an exaggeration, it is true that there was a lot of leisure time especially among the higher classes. There was a belief or a passion for pleasure more than toil with a firm conviction that it was more

important to have pleasure than to have profit. The second feature often put forward to explain the uniqueness of the south is the plantation system with salves as the labor force. U.B. Phillips believes the slave system to be the main reason for the Southernism talked about. The south was the only area where slavery was institutionalized and a vast number of slaves of different color and race were found here. The people of the south were determined to keep the south as the white man?s south. Slavery was more than a labor force-it was a device of white supremacy. Slavery was an institution supported by white people and the unifying factor for all southerners be it planter or poor white was their superiority over the blacks. From 1820s onwards, slavery was being criticized within

the United States. It was condemned by the northerners who were supported by the Latin Americans, British and other Europeans. Slavery had been abolished all over the world and the only place where it remained was in the south section of the United States. The people of the south were aware of the criticism directed at their institution and knew that they defied world opinion. They were under tremendous pressure and suffered from guilt over the issue. They were probably uncomfortable with their separate identity. The dilemma deepened when the majority of the south did not want slavery and its criticism while for the planters, abolition was impossible. They realized the isolation due to this issue but could not solve the problem. The social organization of the southern society was

very different from other areas of the United States. There were 8 important groups of free population in the south. Slaves were considered as property and the differences within their group were not taken into account. The eight main groups of society were- 1-Major Planters ? They were the apex of society and were the aristocrats of the south. They were called cotton or tobacco nabobs. They lived in huge palatial mansions using slaves for their plantations. They numbered not more than 8,000 in the 1860?s. This class was the ideal of the south and every white man aspired to be part of this elite. 2-Medium planters. 3-Small planters-Together the medium and small planters were 18,000 people. The planters got the best education in the south. In a typical planter family, the elder