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374Southern Cultures cosukees and traditional Seminóles separated from the tribe. Covington provides an absorbing account of how the traditionalists, working with and benefiting from the government 's ever-changing Indian policy, gained official recognition in 1962—partially because they resisted assimilation efforts, education, Christianity, and reservation life. The Seminóles ofFlorida is a valuable addition to the study of southern Indian history . The first few chapters present the greatest challenge to the uninitiated in Seminole history and Florida geography. And the detailed discussion of military men, battles, and places requires a few more maps and diagrams that would explain the progress of these events. Masters and Lords: Mid-Nineteenth-Century U.S. Planters and Prussian Junkers. By Shearer Davis Bowman. Oxford University Press, 1993. 357 pp. Cloth, $45.00. Reviewed by Walter Hickel, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University who is working on a dissertation on the role of Confederate veterans' organizations in southern politics and sectional reconciliation after Reconstruction. Few historians have dared to draw comparisons between American and European landed elites and the societies over which they presided. Logistical, linguistic, and conceptual problems abound; voluminous and complex historiographies have to be mastered. Shearer Davis Bowman courageously bridges the Atlantic divide in historical studies by pursuing two objectives in this book. First, he attempts to demonstrate the singular characteristics of the planter class in the antebellum South by comparing it to the Prussian landed nobility , the Junkers, during the Vormärz period between the Napoleonic Wars and the Revolution of 1848. Second, he tries to lend sharper definition to the contested concepts of class, capitalism, and paternalism by applying them to two similar landed elites living in regional societies and political cultures that in many ways still remained an ocean apart. The result is a well written and far-ranging study offering original insight into the economic pursuits, political strategies, and formal ideologies of planters and Junkers. Bowman leaves no doubt that planters and Junkers had enough in common to merit comparison . Both owned and personally managed large agricultural estates that produced profitable staple crops (cotton, tobacco, grain, wool) for a world market centered in England. Both worked their fields with the help of coerced labor—black slaves and dependent peasants . Tight control of their work forces, augmented by extensive formal authority over household members, especially women, confirmed their status as "autocrats" ruling over hierarchical political communities on their estates. Regional economic supremacy and dominion over a host of dependents gave them a stranglehold on local government and decisive influence in the nation state. Planters and Junkers cultivated a genteel lifestyle and an exalted sense of honor that constituted the standard of valor in their societies. In his most consistently comparative and cogent chapter, Bowman analyzes the conservative ideologies that the two landed elites propagated in order to legitimate their political power. Drawing on the writings of Edmund Burke, on proslavery and proserfdom arguments, and especially on southern Evangelicalism and German Pietism, planters and Junkers envisioned a rural society based upon hierarchical social and gender relations. These relations were to be enshrined in law but tempered by the elite's paternalistic oblig- Reviews375 ations toward dependents and the racially inferior. Planters and Junkers gave articulate expression to this ideology when faced with profound challenges to their rule during the secession crisis and the Revolution of 1848, the focal points of Bowman's comparison. The planters proved more conservative because too much was at stake economically, politically , and ideologically to leave any room for concessions on the issue of slavery. Their Prussian counterparts acceded to the creation of the constitution of 1848, the foremost demand of liberal revolutionaries, because the document, imposed by the Prussian king, perpetuated Junker prerogatives. More distinctions between planters and Junkers emerge whenever Bowman examines the role played by the two elites in the political economies of the United States and of Prussia. The rapid territorial expansion and prospering cotton economy of the antebellum South allowed enough upward social mobility into land and slave ownership to make planter rule acceptable to white southerners. Slavery was sanctioned by racial prejudice, protected, like serfdom, by law and custom, and fortified by the overrepresentation of the South...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 374-377
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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