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The U.S. South and Europe

Transatlantic Relations in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

edited by Cornelis A. van Minnen and Manfred Berg

Publication Year: 2013

The U.S. South is a distinctive political and cultural force -- not only in the eyes of Americans, but also in the estimation of many Europeans. The region played a distinctive role as a major agricultural center and the source of much of the wealth in early America, but it has also served as a catalyst for the nation's only civil war, and later, as a battleground in violent civil rights conflicts. Once considered isolated and benighted by the international community, the South has recently evoked considerable interest among popular audiences and academic observers on both sides of the Atlantic.

In The U.S. South and Europe, editors Cornelis A. van Minnen and Manfred Berg have assembled contributions that interpret a number of political, cultural, and religious aspects of the transatlantic relationship during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The contributors discuss a variety of subjects, including European colonization, travel accounts of southerners visiting Europe, and the experiences of German immigrants who settled in the South. The collection also examines slavery, foreign recognition of the Confederacy as a sovereign government, the lynching of African Americans and Italian immigrants, and transatlantic religious fundamentalism. Finally, it addresses international perceptions of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement as a framework for understanding race relations in the United Kingdom after World War II. Featuring contributions from leading scholars based in the United States and Europe, this illuminating volume explores the South from an international perspective and offers a new context from which to consider the region's history.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Series: New Directions in Southern History


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. 6-7

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The U.S. South and Europe: An Introduction

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pp. 1-14

...The U.S. South has always been a distinctive region: not only in the eyes of Americans from other sections of the United States but also in the perception of many Europeans. Once considered as the epitome of isolation and backwardness, the South has recently evoked considerable interest among popular audiences as well as among academic observers on both sides of the...

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1. Southerners Abroad: Europe and the Cultural Encounter, 1830-1895

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pp. 15-32

...With the transportation revolution rendering world travel a more common experience, during the last half of the nineteenth century greater numbers of Americans, southerners among them, visited Europe. Tourism by southerners was not new, but by the late 1840s, the economics and technology of travel had changed significantly. Steam-powered...

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2. Alexis de Tocqueville and Three German Travel Accounts on the Antebellum South and New Orleans

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pp. 33-50

...that have consistently defined European (and American) perceptions of the South. There is, first and foremost, the recurrent trope of southernness as the embodiment of the irrational, uncanny, tropically foreign, and archaically violent, a heartland of darkness so removed from other conventions of U.S. Americanness, both as space and as psychological state, that it becomes part of a different realm. There is the mediated nature of this...

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3. The Germal Forty-Eighters' Critique of the U.S. South, 1850-1861

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pp. 51-72

...The history of immigrants is often complex, confusing, and even contradictory. Groups that may seem to be united by a single language and culture are often divided along regional, religious, cultural, or political lines. This was certainly the case with the one million German immigrants who came to the United States during the 1850s. They varied in many ways, not the...

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4. "In the Days of Her Power and Glory": Visions of Venice in Antebellum Charleston

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pp. 73-86

...On the last morning of his visit to Venice in 1837, James Hammond climbed the steps of the campanile in Piazza San Marco. Looking over the “ancient” city, the South Carolina politician and slaveholder recalled all he had seen over the past four days—the Rialto Bridge, the Ducal Place, the Arsenal, the Bridge of Sighs, the tombs of Canova and Titian, splendid St. Mark’s...

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5. Elizabethan Dreams, Victorial Nightmares: Antebellum South Carolina's Future through an English Looking Glass

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pp. 87-104

...horsemen, gleaming armor, a pale moon rising over a distant castle: such symbols seemingly befit the midlands of medieval Britain better than those of antebellum South Carolina. But when “Black Hawk,” “Grey Eagle,” “Red Rover,” “Blue Ranger,” “Thundergust,” and “Wildfire” welcomed their friends to a Christmas Eve gathering of the “Nighthawks of the Congaree” at their “Hole in the Wall” haunt in 1847, this was the...

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6. Slavery or Independence: The Confederate Dilemma in Europe

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pp. 105-124

...Henry Adams had observed the Confederate agents at work in London throughout America’s Civil War while he served as personal secretary to his father, the U.S. minister to Britain. “The Southern secessionists were certainly unbalanced in mind,” he wrote in his autobiography; they were “haunted by suspicion, by...

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7. The Lynching of Southern Europeans in the Southern United States: The Plight of Italian Immigrants in Dixie

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pp. 125-144

...The literature on lynchings in the U.S. South has developed significantly in the last couple of decades. As studies in this field have grown in number, in the efforts to overcome the black-versus-white divide underlying U.S. history, scholarly attention has focused not only on African Americans but...

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8. Southern Politicians, British Reformers, and Ida B. Wells's 1893-1894 Transatlantic Antilynching Campaign

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pp. 145-164

...As the United States and Great Britain grew closer together at the end of the nineteenth century, British social leaders placed pressure on their American counterparts to uphold common social, economic, and political standards. While minor deviations might be forgiven, American leaders needed to demonstrate the general respectability of American society in order to be treated as trusted business partners. The issue of American...

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9. Transatlantic Fundamentalism: Southern Preachers in London's Pulpits during World War I

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pp. 165-180

...In 1911, Rev. A. C. Dixon left the famous pulpit of the Moody Church in Chicago, founded by the late nineteenth-century evangelist Dwight L. Moody and in some ways the Vatican of American nondenominational evangelicalism, and moved his ministry to an equally esteemed, conservative platform in London: the Metropolitan Tabernacle, a church led for nearly forty years by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Two years later, another...

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10. Europeans Interpret the American South of the Civil War Era: How British and French Critics Received The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Gone WIth the Wind (1939)

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pp. 181-204

...Since World War I, the market for films in Europe has been dominated by films produced in the United States. This has often been seen as exemplifying a process of “Americanization” in which American ideas, culture, values, and lifestyle have spread across the globe. Yet “America” on film is very much a generalized construct on the part of non-Americans. American...

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11. Gunnar Myrdal and Arthur Raper in the Jim Crow South

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pp. 205-222

...A unique relationship between two social scientists, collaborating at the start of World War II, provides a view of a particular intersection between Europe and the American South during a time of great crisis and change in both—a relationship that developed substantial and lasting benefits for both, pushing a wedge into southern race relations at a time of ferment and...

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12. Explaining Jim Crow fo German Prisoners of War: The Impact of the South on the World War II Reeducation Program

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pp. 223-242

...During the first half of the twentieth century, service in the armed forces was “a common form of popular mobility and the only form of mass travel the masses could afford.” For millions of soldiers in World War II, serving in uniform meant going to places few had ever been to—or sometimes even heard of—before. For many German soldiers, sailors, and airmen, the travel experience continued after they fell into enemy hands. By the end of...

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13. Britain, the American South, and the Wide Civil Rights Movement

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pp. 243-264

...Here are two incidents that seem familiar to any student of the civil rights movement. First, white police officers use dogs to dispel black people from the streets in a city where racial confrontation has attracted international media attention. Second, demonstrators gather in the nation’s capital in support of “Jobs and Freedom” for African Americans. To most readers...

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14. Resisting the Wind of Change: The Citizens' Councils and European Decolonization

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pp. 265-282

...“Will Western Europe Be Driven Out of Africa?” So worried Medford Evans in a 1978 article in the Citizen, the official publication of the leading white segregationist organization, the Citizens’ Councils of America (sometimes known colloquially by its original name, the White Citizens’ Councils). Evans quoted the 1910 edition of the...

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pp. 283-284

...The essays in this volume were originally presented and discussed at the Roosevelt Study Center’s Ninth Middelburg Conference of Historians of the United States, titled “The U.S. South and Europe,” on April 27–29, 2011, and later revised into publishable essays. The conference and publication of the book were made possible by the generous sponsorship of...


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pp. 285-290


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pp. 291-208

About the Series, Other Works in the Series

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pp. 209-210

E-ISBN-13: 9780813143194
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813143088

Page Count: 316
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: New Directions in Southern History

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Southern States -- Foreign public opinion, European.
  • Europe -- Relations -- Southern States.
  • Southern States -- Relations -- Europe.
  • Southern States -- Race relations.
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