Lecture Description

When America’s first geographer, Jedidiah Morse, toured the southern states shortly after the American Revolution, he found that they shared little in common; in Georgia alone, for example, “No general character will apply to the inhabitants at large. Collected from different parts of the world, as interest, . . . their character and manners must of course partake of all the varieties which distinguish the several states and kingdoms from which they come.” Had he travelled shortly after the Civil War, of course, he would have had no doubt that (white) southerners now shared “general character” forged in a slave society that had been overthrown in war. This lecture traces the rise of “the South” as a single place and “southern” as an identity (for whites) between those two eras.


General and Historiography South

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