Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History

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Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History

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Damn Yankees!

Demonization and Defiance in the Confederate South

George C. Rable

During the Civil War, southerners produced a vast body of writing about their northern foes, painting a picture of a money-grubbing, puritanical, and infidel enemy. Damn Yankees! explores the proliferation of this rhetoric and demonstrates how the perpetual vilification of northerners became a weapon during the war, fostering hatred and resistance among the people of the Confederacy.

Drawing from speeches, cartoons, editorials, letters, and diaries, Damn Yankees! examines common themes in southern excoriation of the enemy. In sharp contrast to the presumed southern ideals of chivalry and honor, Confederates claimed that Yankees were rootless vagabonds who placed profit ahead of fidelity to religious and social traditions. Pervasive criticism of northerners created a framework for understanding their behavior during theof battle, it confirmed the Yankees’ reputed physical and moral weakness. When the Yankees achieved military success, reports of depravity against vanquished foes abounded, stiffening the resolve of Confederate soldiers and civilians alike to protect their homeland and the sanctity of their women from Union degeneracy.

From award-winning Civil War historian George C. Rable, Damn Yankees! is the first comprehensive study of anti-Union speech and writing, the ways these words shaped perceptions of and events in the war, and the rhetoric’s enduring legacy in the South after the conflict had ended.

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Dixie Bohemia

A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s

John Shelton Reed

In the years following World War I, the New Orleans French Quarter attracted artists and writers with its low rents, faded charm, and colorful street life. By the 1920s Jackson Square had become the center of a vibrant if short-lived bohemia. A young William Faulkner and his roommate William Spratling, an artist who taught at Tulane University, resided among the “artful and crafty ones of the French Quarter.” In Dixie Bohemia John Shelton Reed introduces Faulkner’s circle of friends—ranging from the distinguished Sherwood Anderson to a gender-bending Mardi Gras costume designer—and brings to life the people and places of New Orleans in the Jazz Age. Reed begins with Faulkner and Spratling’s self-published homage to their fellow bohemians, “Sherwood Anderson and Other Famous Creoles.” The book contained 43 sketches of New Orleans artists, by Spratling, with captions and a short introduction by Faulkner. The title served as a rather obscure joke: Sherwood was not a Creole and neither were most of the people featured. But with Reed’s commentary, these profiles serve as an entry into the world of artists and writers that dined on Decatur Street, attended masked balls, and blatantly ignored the Prohibition Act. These men and women also helped to establish New Orleans institutions such as the Double Dealer literary magazine, the Arts and Crafts Club, and Le Petit Theatre. But unlike most bohemias, the one in New Orleans existed as a whites-only affair. Though some of the bohemians were relatively progressive, and many employed African American material in their own work, few of them knew or cared about what was going on across town among the city’s black intellectuals and artists. The positive developments from this French Quarter renaissance, however, attracted attention and visitors, inspiring the historic preservation and commercial revitalization that turned the area into a tourist destination. Predictably, this gentrification drove out many of the working artists and writers who had helped revive the area. As Reed points out, one resident who identified herself as an “artist” on the 1920 federal census gave her occupation in 1930 as “saleslady, real estate,” reflecting the decline of an active artistic class. A charming and insightful glimpse into an era, Dixie Bohemia describes the writers, artists, poseurs, and hangers-on in the New Orleans art scene of the 1920s and illuminates how this dazzling world faded as quickly as it began.

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From Rebellion to Revolution

Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World

Eugene D. Genovese

In perhaps his most provocative book Eugene Genovese examines the slave revolts of the New World and places them in the context of modern world history. By studying the conditions that favored these revolts and the history of slave guerrilla warfare throughout the western hemisphere, he connects the ideology of the revolts to that of the great revolutionary movements of the late eighteenth century. Genovese argues compellingly that the slave revolts of the New World shaped the democratic character of contemporary European struggles just as forcefully as European struggles influenced New World rebellion. The revolts, however, had a different purpose before as well as after the era of the French Revolution. Before, their goals were restoration of African-type village communities and local autonomy; after, they merged with larger national and international revolutionary movements and had profound effect on the shaping of modern world politics. Toussaint L’Ouverture’s brilliant leadership of the successful slave revolt in Saint-Dominique constitutes, for Genovese, a turning point in the history of slave revolts, and, indeed, in the history of the human spirit. By claiming for his enslaved brothers and sisters the same right to human dignity that the French bourgeoisie claimed for itself, Toussiant began the process by which slave uprisings changed from secessionist rebellions to revolutionary demands for liberty, equality, and justice. Those who have taken issue with Genovesse before will find little in From Rebellion to Revolution to change their minds. The book is sure to be widely read, hotly debated, and a major influence on the way future historians view slavery.

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The Indians' New South

Cultural Change in the Colonial Southeast

James Axtell

In this concise but sweeping study, James Axtell depicts the complete range of transformations in southeastern Indian cultures as a result of contact, and often conflict, with European explorers and settlers in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Stressing the dynamism and constant change in native cultures while showing no loss of Indian identity, Axtell effectively argues that the colonial Southeast cannot be fully understood without paying particular attention to its native inhabitants before their large-scale removal in the 1830s. Axtell begins by treating the irruption in native life of several Spanish entradas in the sixteenth century, most notably and destructively Hernando de Soto’s, and the rapid decline of the great Mississippian societies in their wake. He then relates the rise and fall of the Franciscan missions in Florida to the aggressive advent of English settlement in Virginia and the Carolinas in the seventeenth century. Finally, he traces the largely symbiotic relations among the South Carolina English, the Louisiana French, and their native trading partners in the eighteenth-century deerskin business, and the growing dependence of the Indians on their white neighbors for necessities as well as conveniences and luxuries. Focusing on the primary context of interaction between natives and newcomers in each century—warfare, missions, and trade—and drawing upon a wide range of ethnohistorical sources, including written, oral, archaeological, linguistic, and artistic ones, Axtell gives a rich sense of the variety and complexity of Indian-white interactions and a clear interpretative matrix by which to assimilate the details. Based on the fifty-eighth series of Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures, The Indians’ New South is a colorful, accessible account of the clash of cultures in the colonial Southeast. It will prove essential and entertaining reading for all students of Native America and the South.

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Nothing But Freedom

Emancipation and Its Legacy

Eric Foner. foreword by Steven Hahn

Nothing But Freedom examines the aftermath of emancipation in the South and the restructuring of society by which the former slaves gained, beyond their freedom, a new relation to the land they worked on, to the men they worked for, and to the government they lived under. Taking a comparative approach, Eric Foner examines Reconstruction in the southern states against the experience of Haiti, where a violent slave revolt was followed by the establishment of an undemocratic government and the imposition of a system of forced labor; the British Caribbean, where the colonial government oversaw an orderly transition from slavery to the creation of an almost totally dependent work force; and early twentieth-century southern and eastern Africa, where a self-sufficient peasantry was dispossessed in order to create a dependent black work force. Measuring the progress of freedmen in the post--Civil War South against that of freedmen in other recently emancipated societies, Foner reveals Reconstruction to have been, despite its failings, a unique and dramatic experiment in interracial democracy in the aftermath of slavery. Steven Hahn's timely new foreword places Foner's analysis in the context of recent scholarship and assesses its enduring impact in the twenty-first century.

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Slavery and American Economic Development

Gavin Wright

“Slavery and American Economic Development is a small book with a big interpretative punch. It is one of those rare books about a familiar subject that manages to seem fresh and new.”—Charles B. Dew, Journal of Interdisciplinary History “A stunning reinterpretation of southern economic history and what is perhaps the most important book in the field since Time on the Cross. . . . I frequently found myself forced to rethink long-held positions.”—Russell R. Menard, Civil War History Through an analysis of slavery as an economic institution, Gavin Wright presents an innovative look at the economic divergence between North and South in the antebellum era. He draws a distinction between slavery as a form of work organization—the aspect that has dominated historical debates—and slavery as a set of property rights. Slave-based commerce remained central to the eighteenth-century rise of the Atlantic economy, not because slave plantations were superior as a method of organizing production, but because slaves could be put to work on sugar plantations that could not have attracted free labor on economically viable terms. Gavin Wright is William Robertson Coe Professor in American Economic History at Stanford University and the author of The Political Economy of the Cotton South and Old South, New South: Revolutions in the Southern Economy Since the Civil War, winner of the Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Award of the Southern Historical Association. He served as president of the Economic History Association and the Agricultural History Society.

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The Southern Political Tradition

Michael Perman

In The Southern Political Tradition, the distinguished southern historian Michael Perman explores the region’s distinctive political practices and behaviors, primarily resulting from the South’s perception of itself as a minority under attack from the 1820s to the 1960s. Drawing on his extensive research and understanding of southern politics, Perman singles out three features of the area’s political history. He calls the first element “The One-Party Paradigm,” a political system characterized by one-party dominance rather than competition between two or more. The second feature, “The Frontier and Filibuster Defense,” illustrates a dramatic, preemptive response within Congress to any threat to the region’s racial order. And in the third, “The Over-Representation Mechanism,” Perman describes the skillful manipulation of institutional mechanisms in Congress that resulted in greater influence than the region’s relatively small population warranted. This anomalous tradition has all but disappeared since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Southern Political Tradition offers an insightful and provocative perspective on the South’s political history.

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The White House Looks South

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson

William E. Leuchtenburg

Perhaps not southerners in the usual sense, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson each demonstrated a political style and philosophy that helped them influence the South and unite the country in ways that few other presidents have. Combining vivid biography and political insight, William E. Leuchtenburg offers an engaging account of relations between these three presidents and the South while also tracing how the region came to embrace a national perspective without losing its distinctive sense of place. According to Leuchtenburg, each man "had one foot below the Mason-Dixon Line, one foot above." Roosevelt, a New Yorker, spent much of the last twenty-five years of his life in Warm Springs, Georgia, where he built a "Little White House." Truman, a Missourian, grew up in a pro-Confederate town but one that also looked West because of its history as the entrepôt for the Oregon Trail. Johnson, who hailed from the former Confederate state of Texas, was a westerner as much as a southerner. Their intimate associations with the South gave these three presidents an empathy toward and acceptance in the region. In urging southerners to jettison outworn folkways, Roosevelt could speak as a neighbor and adopted son, Truman as a borderstater who had been taught to revere the Lost Cause, and Johnson as a native who had been scorned by Yankees. Leuchtenburg explores in fascinating detail how their unique attachment to "place" helped them to adopt shifting identities, which proved useful in healing rifts between North and South, in altering behavior in regard to race, and in fostering southern economic growth. The White House Looks South is the monumental work of a master historian. At a time when race, class, and gender dominate historical writing, Leuchtenburg argues that place is no less significant. In a period when America is said to be homogenized, he shows that sectional distinctions persist. And in an era when political history is devalued, he demonstrates that government can profoundly affect people's lives and that presidents can be change-makers.

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