Silkenat argues that the Civil War forced North Carolinians to re-evaluate the meaning of suicide, divorce, and debt, and that the nature of this reinterpretation was predicated on race. The Civil War changed how both white and black North Carolinians understood their place in society and the claims that society had upon them. For whites, this entailed a shift from a world which individuals were tightly bound to their local community to one in which they were increasingly untethered from social ties. For black North Carolinians, though, these trends headed in the opposite direction, as emancipation laid the groundwork for new bonds of community. Looking at these three actions, Silkenat identifies patterns that transformed American society. Silkenat argues that in two significant ways, how North Carolinians understood these three actions differed from broader patterns of social change. First, the attitudes toward these cultural practices changed more abruptly and rapidly in the South than in the rest of American society. Second, North Carolinians understood suicide, divorce, and debt through a prism of race, something that was not a vital consideration in the national discourse on these subjects. As a result, North Carolinians interpreted these three actions with racial meanings.