The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience

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  • 2017-04-10

The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience

The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience, (originally published: Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1971). Preface, Preface to the First Edition, Bibliographical References, Index, 150 pp. (x), ISBN 0872497801.
Author: Emory M. Thomas, professor of history at the University of Georgia. PhD. in history Rice University, 1966. Travels to Hallowed Ground; The American War and Peace, 1860-1877.
Scope: Thomas, reasons the Southern ???way of life???, led to a special kind of revolution. A revolution, not to accomplish something new, but to defend something old. The revolutionary experience strained the Southern mind-set, and that it was the revolution within the revolution that led to the fatal mistakes of the confederacy.
Sources: Thomas utilizes a variety of secondary sources and includes primary source quotations from distinguished scholars and participants on both sides of the war. Utilizes letters by W.J. Cash, exhibiting the Southern mind-set of individual aristocracy and reinforcing the war only intensified the Southern mind-set.
Thesis: The Southern confederacy brought many changes and challenges to Southerners in a short time span, leading to secession and political, economic and social revolutions that, in many ways, went against the Southern ???way of life??? they were supposed to be defending.
Theses Points:
1. State rights, agrarianism, racial slavery, aristocracy and habits of mind including individualism, a strong belief in God and man and romanticism encompassed the Southern ???way of life???. The Southerner symbolized, a strong belief system, which they believed was unique and was being threatened (21-22).
2. Southern fire-eaters used radical means to achieve their conservative ends; starting the confederate revolutionary experience, going against Southern conscientiousness (24).
3. The Southern elite controlled much of what was said in the press, at political platforms and what was taught in the classroom, which resulting in the ???closing of the Southern mind???. Restricting or limiting public knowledge conditioned the Southern mind (34).
4. Politicians began using their strong, lasting beliefs of individualism to press issues that would seem to go against the South??™s traditional views, where popular sovereignty reigned over a government (62).
5. The industrial and urban revolutions ensured the South would have ample ammunition but the agricultural decline ??“ brought by the draft of the ???consumer-soldier??™ ??“ would lead to food shortages and riots there (98-99).
6. The confederate Southerner felt his individualism confined, his state-hood battered, his love passed by and his religion socialized. This change in such a short time proved cataclysmic but was revolutionary (118).
8. The confederate experience had consumed and cut the heart out of the Southern way of life (131).
Analysis: Scholarly approach. Balanced analysis of key events. The confederates sacrificed state rights for centralized nationalism; the South, founded by planters and agrarians became urbanized and industrialized. The South was thought of as a stable society, but the war challenged that Southern way of life. Organized religion underwent structural and social reformation. Without the leadership and reinforcement provided by slave masters, the institution of slavery changed fundamentally as the South sacrificed its sacred institution for independence.
Significance: Interesting read, proves previous judgments and cliches should be reexamined. Today??™s Americans have a lot in common with the confederate past. Today??™s hardworking citizens are being taken advantage of by the elite, the media of today deliberately ???blacklists??? news to ???protect??? the American public and food shortages and protests have emerged from the economic hardship felt in areas spread throughout the United States today.

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