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Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South

William A. Link

Publication Year: 2013

Explores the politics and meanings of citizenry and citizens’ rights in the nineteenth-century American South: from the full citizenship of some white males to the partial citizenship of women with no voting rights, from the precarious position of free blacks and enslaved African American anti-citizens, to postwar Confederate rebels who were not “loyal citizens” according to the federal government but forcibly asserted their citizenship as white supremacy was restored in the Jim Crow South.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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Preface: Understanding the South

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pp. vii-viii

In 2008, the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the United Kingdom agreed to fund an international research network dedicated to the theme “Understanding the South, Understanding America: The American South in Regional, National and Global Perspectives.” The network was based at the University of Manchester, with the Universities of Copenhagen...

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pp. 1-18

In societies struggling to make sense of the post–Cold War geopolitical world, the U.S. War on Terror has provoked a battle of values and ideals as real as the earlier conflict with the Soviet Union. The brave, new post-9/11 world requires that young people should be educated in their duties as citizens; fierce battles have raged over school and university curricula. Citizenship...

I. Citizenship in an Enslaved Society

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1. “Ter Show Yo’ de Value of Slaves”: The Pricing of Human Property

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pp. 21-40

In an interview on June 6, 1937, former Alabama bondman Mingo White remarked that “slavery wouldn’t a been so bad, but folks make it so by selling us for high prices, an’ of co’se folks had to try to git dey money’s worth out of ’em.”1 Slaveholders’ need to get their “money’s worth” from the enslaved served as a logical explanation for high prices, according to White...

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2. Rewriting the Free Negro Past: Joseph Lumpkin, Proslavery Ideology, and Citizenship in Antebellum Georgia

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pp. 41-63

By the 1850s the debate over slavery had reached its peak. In the midst of growing sectionalism and political conflict, slavery’s defenders and its opponents engaged in a heated battle over the true nature of bondage in the U.S. South and its impact on those enslaved. Though both sides looked to similar sources, such as the Bible and science, to legitimate their...

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3. Free People of Color, Expulsion, and Enslavement in the Antebellum South

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pp. 64-83

Free people of color in the antebellum United States were excluded from legal citizenship as defined in the 1790 Naturalization Act because they were not “free white persons.” Like their enslaved counterparts, then, southern free blacks were excluded from legal marriage, although most black people, whether enslaved or free, strove to choose their own life...

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4. Citizenship, Democracy, and the Structure of Politics in the Old South: John Calhoun’s Conundrum

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pp. 84-108

In the South, John C. Calhoun asserted in 1848, “the two great divisions of society are not the rich and poor, but white and black; and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals, if honest and industrious, and hence have a position and pride of character of which neither poverty nor misfortune can...

II. Reconstructing Citizenship

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5. Personal Reconstructions: Confederates as Citizens in the Post–Civil War South

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pp. 111-133

On May 2, 1865, the tired remnants of the Army of Tennessee, encamped in Greensboro, North Carolina, gathered to hear Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston’s final orders.1 He asked his men to return home and discharge the “obligations of good and peaceful citizens” as effectively as they had “performed the duties of thorough soldiers in the field.”2 Johnston’s...

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6. Citizenship and Racial Order in Post–Civil War Atlanta

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pp. 134-149

In 1866, residents of Atlanta celebrated the Fourth of July in a way that suggested basic tensions about the meaning of citizenship and freedom in the post–Civil War South. Few places in the Confederacy had experienced defeat with more devastating results than Atlanta, which was besieged and destroyed by William T. Sherman’s large army during the summer and fall...

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7. The Antithesis of Union Men and Confederate Rebels: Loyal Citizenship in the Post–Civil War South

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pp. 150-170

After the official closing of the Civil War, former enemies waged new battles over reunion, most pressingly over membership in the reunited nation. “Confederates” and “Unionists” were wartime categories that did not necessarily carry postwar implications. To what extent would distinctions according to loyalty limit or expand conceptualizations of citizenship?...

III. Reimagining Citizenship

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8. Dark Satanic Fields: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Industrialization, and the U.S. Imperial Imaginary

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pp. 173-200

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin set the scene and organized the story of the antebellum South in U.S. national imagination, serving as the master narrative of southern slavery from the time of its publication in 1852 well into the twentieth century and holding sway still, incalculably, in the historical memory of our own time. In the United...

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9. Fables of the Reconstruction: The Citizen as Character

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pp. 201-222

Writing in 1940 in Survey Graphic magazine, George C. Stoney offered a withering analysis of the poll tax as a barrier to democratic participation in the South. Detailing one repeal effort in Arkansas, Stoney observed that its chances were doomed when “One argument was whispered: ‘Do you want to see niggers in the state capital with their feet on the desk?’”1

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10. White Supremacy and the Question of Black Citizenship in the Post-Emancipation South

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pp. 223-246

With the Reconstruction Acts and the ratification of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the legal ambiguity surrounding the national citizenship of free persons of African descent vanished, and for the first time most of those who had lived in the antebellum South could aver that they were now legally citizens of their states and the American nation. This...

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11. Tolentino, Cable, and Tourgée Confront the New South and the New Imperialism

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pp. 247-270

Although some investigation has been undertaken over the last several decades of the possible connections between the strange career of Jim Crow at home and U.S. expansionism abroad in the post-Reconstruction era, we are still in the early stages of thinking historically about this moment. In my book Sitting in Darkness I made the rather counterintuitive...

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Epilogue: Place as Everywhere: On Globalizing the American South

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pp. 271-290

Two recent, interconnected, and intriguing developments have been the projects of globalizing southern history and that literary scholarship which has come to be called the New Southern Studies. Both are worth encouraging, but also merit scrutiny, and both are of help in making sense of the problem of citizenship. The former is of direct relevance to the...

List of Contributors

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pp. 291-294


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pp. 295-302

E-ISBN-13: 9780813045054
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813044132

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2013