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180erra WAR HISTORY support for Texas bondsmen. Songs served as means of communication and the expression of emotions. While the psychological burdens of slavery molded some slaves, others fought back or escaped, often to Mexico, and plotted at least two revolts. Faced with the risks of resistance, the larger number of slaves persevered with some hope for the future. Slaveholders, who formed 27 percent of the Texas population in 1860, dominated the economy and government, holding 73 percent of the property and 68 percent of the public offices. Wealth and power allowed paternalism, but also physical and sexual excesses by some masters. Emotional proslavery views, based on economics, racism, and religion, suppressed even mild alternative ideas in the antebellum period, and led to lynchings of supposed abolitionists and to secession in 1860-61. The author concludes that the Civil War brought military use of slave labor and owners from other states who moved their bondsmen to Texas away from the Union army, until slaves could celebrate emancipation in 1865. Campbell also finds no basis for judging slavery in Texas easier or harsher than in other states. A wide range of sources, from plantation papers, census materials, travel accounts, and newspapers, to slave narratives and especially county records, has been used by the author. His account is informed by recent historiograhy on slavery and employs statistical methods effectively in developing several topics. The narrative flows smoothly with well-chosen quotations to emphasize particular points. While some topics such as slave folk culture probably should receive more detailed study, An Empire for Slavery will become the standard history of slavery in Texas, and an excellent model for new studies of slavery in other Southern states. Alwyn Barr Texas Tech University The Roots of Southern Distinctiveness: Tobacco and Society in Danville, Virginia, 1780-1865. By Frederick F. Siegel. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987. Pp. xv, 205. $22.00.) "Let us begin by discussing the weather," U. B. Phillips wrote in 1929, "for that has been the chief agency in making the South distinctive." For decades, most historians of the South have regarded this comment as at best oversimplified, at worst simple-minded. But now Frederick Siegel, in a compact, interesting, provocative, and slightly perverse local study, has disinterred it, quoted it approvingly (69), enlarged upon it, and proclaimed it to be the key to understanding the South after all. He insists that the "primal source of Southern distinctiveness," at least before the transformations wrought by twentieth-century science, was "the template of soil and climate" (4). BOOK REVIEWS181 "Tobacco was destiny for Danville" (58) and surrounding Pittsylvania County, writes Siegel, both because of the irresistible profits the weed offered, and because Southside Virginia's clay and sandy soils were inhospitable to other cash crops or to forage grasses for livestock. White settlers in the region were capitalist hustlers, the author argues, "in business with relish, not reluctance" (37), displaying "the classic bourgeois virtues: frugality, steadiness, and hard work" (36). Had the locale presented other avenues to wealth (as did the Shenandoah Valley, with which Siegel compares Pittsylvania), these two-fisted businessmen would have pursued them. But because of "limitations. . .imposed by the fortunes of nature" (166), only the tobacco business was practical. So into it—despite tobacco's cruelty to soil, resistance to mechanization, and unusual demands on workers for both hard work and careful, painstaking handling—they plunged. And often with spectacular success. Siegel is at his best in describing the tobacco business itself, and the growth of Danville into Virginia's third-largest tobacco manufacturing center by 1860. Along the way, he has fascinating things to say about the transition from snuff to chewing tobacco in the 1820s, the rise of smoking during the Civil War, and the constant need of growers to stay alert to the changing whims of sometimes distant, always-fickle consumers. The book's strengths as a local study and a contribution to the literature on the social impact of tobacco are noteworthy—enough to make its flaws stand out more glaringly. For one thing, Siegel is needlessly combative and distressingly immodest. His introduction lumps Southern historians too simplistically into two camps, a "capitalist...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 180-182
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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