Download Poor Whites of the Antebellum South: Tenants and Laborers in by Charles C. Bolton PDF

By Charles C. Bolton

In Poor Whites of the Antebellum South, Charles C. Bolton supplies a different voice to 1 of the main elusive teams within the society of the previous South. Bolton's distinctive exam finds a lot concerning the lives of those landless white tenants and employees and their dating to yeoman farmers, black slaves, loose blacks and elite whites. supplying a provocative research of the failure of the Jeffersonian "yeoman perfect" of democracy in white-majority components, this booklet additionally exhibits how bad whites represented a extra major presence at the political, financial, and social panorama than formerly were thought.
Looking at particular regions--the "settled" important piedmont of North Carolina and the "frontier" of northeast Mississippi--Bolton describes how terrible whites performed a tremendous, notwithstanding circumscribed, function within the neighborhood financial system. depending on transitority employment, they represented a troubling presence in a society in response to the foundations of white independence and black slavery. even supposing perceived through southern leaders as a risk, negative whites, Bolton argues, didn't shape a political alliance with both unfastened or enslaved blacks as a result of a variety of elements together with white racism, kinship ties, faith, schooling, and mobility. A concluding dialogue of the concern of 1860-61 examines the rejection of secession through major numbers of terrible whites, in addition to the results for his or her destiny because the outdated South grew to become towards the new.
Poor Whites of the Antebellum South sheds gentle on a bunch frequently ignored in southern historical past. it really is an immense contribution that may be of curiosity to all scholars and historians of the yank South.

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Extra resources for Poor Whites of the Antebellum South: Tenants and Laborers in Central North Carolina and Northeast Mississippi

Example text

Yeoman farmers tested the new opportunities available for selling market surpluses while maintaining their strong commitment to a farming policy that focused on raising food for household consumption first. Nevertheless, clear distinctions became evident in the economic conditions of white North Carolinians during the I 850S as a result of the changes in agricultural production. While most landed farmers, through a strategy of innovation tempered with caution, benefited from the new opportunities that arose in the I 850S to make money from the sale of tobacco, cotton, or especially surplus wheat, such advancements generally bypassed the landless farmers of the central Piedmont.

62 For example, very few tenant farmers produced enough wheat to generate a market surplus (see table 4). Additionally, since very few cash renters existed in the central Piedmont during the antebellum period, most tenants normally relinqUished a portion of all crops produced to pay the landlord, a situation that generally eliminated most "surplus" production. At the same time, any increase in the acreage tenants devoted to marketable crops, either from their own desire or, more likely, from a landlord's demand, meant a reduction in the proportion of their households' production capacity that could be utilized for self-suffiCiency purposes.

Many of the men also participated in the actual mining, receiving pay of 3 cents a ton. 2 The trade-off for steady employment at this mine, however, proved to be a loss of personal freedom. Most of the wage miners working the Silver 36 Poor Whites of the Antebellum South Hill mine during the 1840S and 1850S lived in a world in which the company completely owned the neighborhood: the houses, the school, the stables, the blacksmith shop, and the store. The company maintained strict discipline over its workers, and those who would not submit to the regimen found themselves unwelcome at the mine.

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