One South or Many?: Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil by Robert Tracy McKenzie

By Robert Tracy McKenzie

This ebook is a state-wide research of Tennessee's agricultural inhabitants among 1850 and 1880, which is dependent upon titanic samples of census facts in addition to plantation bills, Freedmen's Bureau documents, and the Tennessee Civil warfare Veterans Questionnaires. even though the examine applauds students' becoming appreciation of southern variety through the 19th century, it argues that contemporary scholarship either oversimplifies differences among Black Belt and Upcountry and exaggerates the socioeconomic heterogeneity of the South as an entire.

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Extra resources for One South or Many?: Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil War-Era Tennessee

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37. " Bode and Ginter also observed that in antebellum Georgia rates of landlessness were significantly higher outside of the heavy cotton-growing regions. Indeed, they found that in the Georgia Black Belt the supply of white labor could vary markedly within a county, depending on soil characteristics as well as other factors. See Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley, "The Economic Structure of Rural Tennessee, 1850-1860," Journal of Southern History 8 (1942): 162-82 (quotation on p. 165); Bode and Ginter, Farm Tenancy and the Census, pp.

8ff. 32 One South or Many? farmers who owned slaves. " Because slaves were expensive to begin with and were heavily taxed as well, those who purchased slaves implicitly committed themselves to at least enough market production to cover both purchase price and tax burden. 41 This heightened commercial focus not only affected the mentalite of producers and undermined "traditional modes of social interaction" within farm communities, as many social historians have argued. It also threatened more mundane consequences by reducing the South's capacity to provide its own foodstuffs.

2). Among the top half of farm operators, they varied dramatically, primarily because of the abundant slave labor that western farmers commanded. Despite the clear importance of slave labor, its uneven distribution throughout the ranks of white farm operators cannot fully explain the relatively small interregional differences in median farm size across the state. Regression analysis of the distribution of improved acreage across the entire sample does show, as expected, that the number of slaves that an operator owned was a powerful predictor of farm size.

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