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Declarations of Dependence

The Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, 1861-1908

Gregory Downs

Publication Year: 2011

In this highly original study, Gregory Downs argues that the most American of wars, the Civil War, created a seemingly un-American popular politics, rooted not in independence but in voluntary claims of dependence. Through an examination of the pleas and petitions of ordinary North Carolinians, ###Declarations of Dependence# contends that the Civil War redirected, not destroyed, claims of dependence by exposing North Carolinians to the expansive but unsystematic power of Union and Confederate governments, and by loosening the legal ties that bound them to husbands, fathers, and masters.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents/Illustrations

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pp. vii-ix

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Introduction: Friends Unseen: The Ballad of Political Dependency

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pp. 1-14

The Civil War transformed the relationship between the American people and their government. As war shifted the boundaries between the political and the personal, women and men pressed previously private, intimate needs onto states they embodied into patrons they could...

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1 Hungry for Protection: The Confederate Roots of Dependence

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pp. 15-41

In June 1861, five days after he enlisted, a Confederate private named Harrison H. Hanes knew ‘‘nothing a bout the war only there are many men here’’ at his drill camp in Garysburg, North Carolina. Writing to his friend Nancy Williams, Hanes asserted, ‘‘[I] still feel that...

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2 Slaves and the Great Deliverer: Freedom and Friendship behind Union Lines

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pp. 43-74

In April 1865, not long after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, a ‘‘dispatch boat, with drooping flag shrouded in mourning’’ carried the news of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination to the massive Union colony of ex-slaves on Roanoke Island in North Carolina’s Albemarle...

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3 Vulnerable at the Circumference: Demobilization and the Limitations of the Freedmen’s Bureau

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pp. 75-100

In June 1865, the face of government changed in North Carolina as Freedmen’s Bureau agents opened offices across the state. Working with the Union’s state military commander, the provisional governor, and the remaining Union soldiers, these officials were the front line of...

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4 The Great Day of Acounter: Democracy and the Problem of Power in Republican Reconstruction

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pp. 101-129

The governor Hugo Hillebrandt and many freedpeople looked to in 1868 was the same William Holden who had been turned out of office only three years earlier. Starting in 1866, Holden adeptly read the transformations in Washington, ingratiated himself with Radical...

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5 The Persistence of Prayer: Dependency after Redemption

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pp. 131-162

In 1876, Zebulon Baird Vance rose again. Running to ‘‘redeem’’ the state from Radical Reconstruction, Vance led one branch of a regionwide assault against Republican rule. Between 1874 and 1876, Democrats drove Republicans from state houses, took control of Congress...

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6 Crazes, Fetishes, and Enthusiasms: The Silver Mania and the Making of a New Politics

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pp. 163-184

In 1896, two years after Zebulon Vance died, the son of his old rival Tom Settle paged through a series of distressing field reports about the ‘‘silver craze’’ sweeping through his congressional district. In a campaign about the gold standard, a fantastic, incorrect rumor about a government-sponsored gift of money...

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7 A Compressive Age: White Supremacy and the Growth of the Modern State

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pp. 185-212

Two years after Tom Settle’s defeat, young Democrats toppled Republicans and Populists in an infamous white supremacy campaign. As they captured the state legislature in 1898, then confirmed disenfranchisement in a 1900 referendum, they created not just Jim Crow but a...

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Coda: Desperate Times Call for Distant Friends: Franklin Roosevelt as the Last Good King?

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pp. 213-220

Almost four decades after the white supremacy campaign, a federal interviewer called on an aged ex-slave from Jones County, North Carolina, at her residence in Saint Louis, Missouri. Despite the oddity of a government listening to people it had long excluded, Susan...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 221-226

In writing this book, and in the long and slow intellectual path that led me through teaching and journalism and fiction to American political history, I have had good cause to recognize the enduring power of dependence. For graduate students and beginning historians, reliance upon others is not merely a virtue; it is often a necessity. Although the name on the manuscript...

Notes

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pp. 227-275

Bibliography

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pp. 277-336

Index

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pp. 337-346


E-ISBN-13: 9781469603407
E-ISBN-10: 1469603403
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807834442
Print-ISBN-10: 0807834440

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • North Carolina -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865.
  • North Carolina -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950.
  • Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- North Carolina.
  • Dependency -- Political aspects -- North Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • Patron and client -- Political aspects -- North Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • Political culture -- North Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • Populism -- North Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • North Carolina -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects.
  • North Carolina -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
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