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368CIVIL WAR HISTORY to be developed; Virginia's resources were meager in comparison. Much the same point could be made about Richmond's flour-milling trade trying to competewith Minneapolis and the wheat fields of the Middle West. Chesson acknowledges that Richmond was desperately short of capital after the war and that the task of rebuilding was immense "and perhaps beyond the city's resources" (117). And yet Richmond emerged, as he points out, as "the financial center of the upper South in the last decades of the nineteenth century" (198) and served as a major wholesale center for no less than eight Southern states during the same period. Perhaps Richmond has aged as gracefully as it has precisely because it managed to avoid some of the dubious benefits of postwar industrial growth. Cities like Birmingham did, after all, pay a rather hefty price for what they managed to acquire in the way of mills, foundries, and proliferating smokestacks. So maybe Richmond after the war was not such a failure at that. It is a thought worth considering, particularly as one proceeds down Monument Avenue—past Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jeb Stuart, and all those other memorials to Richmond's Civil War past. You do not have to be a professional Southerner or a Confederate nut to appreciate at least something of what the city's nineteenth-century fascination with its bygone glory bequeathed to the generations that were to follow. Charles B. Dew Williams College The Crucible ofRace: Bfock-White Rektums in theAmerican South Since Emancipation. By Joel Williamson. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. Pp. xiv, 561. $25.00.) This book is premised on the themes that race is the central issue in Southern history and that attitudes along the race linecan becategorized. From Nat Turner's insurrection in 1831 there have been "three rather clear and distinct 'matched sets' of thought about Negroes as Americans" (5). "Liberals" wereoptimistic about the prospects for blacks, "Radicals" were pessimistic, seeing no future for them, and "Conservatives" accepted Negroes as long as they served in their "place." The election of Lincoln shook the fault line between the sections because the aristocratic South, dominated by Conservatives, "was bending strongly in the direction of a hierarchic social universe . . . the North was tending democratic" (29). The "white elite," the chosen ten thousand which led the South, represented families owning fifty or more slaves. For every Old South yeoman like Andrew Johnson, "there were a dozen Jefferson Davises who rose into the elite from somewhere and accepted its values," and without extolling government by the people somehow led a large constituency "into butternut gray" (34). BOOK REVIEWS369 The slaveholding elite in its paternalism imposed its culture upon the slave. The blending of cultures was paralleled by the fusing of colors, for "during late slavery, apparently whole plantation communities fell into a morass of interracial sexuality as men of the master class spawned one child after another with their female slaves. . . . Perhaps pedestalizing the white mistress of the plantation was an attempt to salve the wound that had been done. . . " (34). While slaveholders were protectors as well as exploiters, they believed that the slave was a child in a man's body, or a "Sambo." But after the war when the old relationship was severed, the Negro was successively deprecated in the popular mind as an animalistic beast, the invisible man, and the hidden enemy. "Every white Southerner . . . contained within himself a potential to see the black person either as a child or as a beast ..." (304). This transmogrification developed because white males "painted themselves into a sexual corner" (307) where they were inhibited by Victorian anxieties but imagined blacks as being guilt free in their culture. (The Freudian theme is used here as in Dollard's Caste and Class in Southern Town). After the war the heirs of the planter aristocracy, bereft of slaves, attempted to restructure their "power line" by building solidarity with the "white mass." New "Jim Crow" institutions were forged to replace the peculiar institution. Blacks, Liberals, Conservatives, Radicals, and their Northern allies all variously responded to this development. Benjamin Tillman, Rebecca Felton, and other racial radicals, who believed in Negro regression in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 368-370
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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