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Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865

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Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Becoming Bourgeois is the first study to focus on what historians have come to call the "middling sort," the group falling between the mass of yeoman farmers and the planter class that dominated the political economy of the antebellum South. Historian Frank J. Byrne investigates the experiences of urban merchants, village storekeepers, small-scale manufacturers, and their families, as well as the contributions made by this merchant class to the South's economy, culture, and politics in the decades before, and the years of, the Civil War. These merchant families embraced the South but were not of the South. At a time when Southerners rarely traveled far from their homes, merchants annually ventured forth on buying junkets to northern cities. Whereas the majority of Southerners enjoyed only limited formal instruction, merchant families often achieved a level of education rivaled only by the upper class — planters. The southern merchant community also promoted the kind of aggressive business practices that New South proponents would claim as their own in the Reconstruction era and beyond. Along with discussion of these modern approaches to liberal capitalism, Byrne also reveals the peculiar strains of conservative thought that permeated the culture of southern merchants. While maintaining close commercial ties to the North, southern merchants embraced the religious and racial mores of the South. Though they did not rely directly upon slavery for their success, antebellum merchants functioned well within the slave-labor system. When the Civil War erupted, southern merchants simultaneously joined Confederate ranks and prepared to capitalize on the war's business opportunities, regardless of the outcome of the conflict. Throughout Becoming Bourgeois, Byrne highlights the tension between these competing elements of southern merchant culture. By exploring the values and pursuits of this emerging class, Byrne not only offers new insight into southern history but also deepens our understanding of the mutable ties between regional identity and the marketplace in nineteenth-century America.

Synopsis:

Becoming Bourgeois is the first study to focus on what historians have come to call the middling sort, the economic group falling between yeoman farmers and the planter class that dominated the antebellum South. At a time when Southerners rarely traveled far from their homes, these merchants annually ventured forth on buying junkets to northern cities. The southern merchant community promoted the kind of aggressive business practices that proponents of the New South would later claim as their own. Frank J. Byrne reveals the peculiar strains of modern liberal-capitalist and conservative thought that permeated the culture of southern merchants. By exploring the values men and women in merchant families espoused, Byrne not only offers new insight into southern history but also deepens our understanding of the mutable ties between regional identity and the marketplace in nineteenth-century America. Frank J. Byrne is associate professor of history at the State University of New York at Oswego.

Table of Contents

Merchant culture and the political economy of the old South — The antebellum merchant in southern society — The merchant family in the antebellum South — Secession, merchant-soldiers and the Civil War, 1860-1863 — Merchants and their families in the Confederacy, 1861-1863 — The merchant family and the fall of the Confederacy, 1864-1865 — Conclusion: merchant culture in the slave south and beyond.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780813171456
Publisher:
The University Press of Kentucky
Subject:
United States - Antebellum Era
Author:
Byrne, Frank J.
Author:
Byrne, Frank
Author:
Frank J. Byrne
Subject:
United States - State & Local - South
Subject:
Economic History
Subject:
History
Subject:
HIS036120
Subject:
Merchants
Subject:
Southern States Economic conditions.
Subject:
Southern States Social conditions.
Subject:
US History-1800 to Civil War
Subject:
Business & Economics : Economic History
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Subject:
History : United States - State & Local - South
Subject:
History : United States - General
Publication Date:
October 2006
Binding:
eBooks
Language:
English
Pages:
308

Related Subjects

Business » General
Business » History and Biographies
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History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865
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Product details 308 pages University Press of Kentucky - English 9780813171456 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Becoming Bourgeois is the first study to focus on what historians have come to call the middling sort, the economic group falling between yeoman farmers and the planter class that dominated the antebellum South. At a time when Southerners rarely traveled far from their homes, these merchants annually ventured forth on buying junkets to northern cities. The southern merchant community promoted the kind of aggressive business practices that proponents of the New South would later claim as their own. Frank J. Byrne reveals the peculiar strains of modern liberal-capitalist and conservative thought that permeated the culture of southern merchants. By exploring the values men and women in merchant families espoused, Byrne not only offers new insight into southern history but also deepens our understanding of the mutable ties between regional identity and the marketplace in nineteenth-century America. Frank J. Byrne is associate professor of history at the State University of New York at Oswego.
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