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The Myth of the Old South

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Klara H

on 25 September 2013

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Transcript of The Myth of the Old South

The Myth of the Old South
North vs South
The Myth of the Old / Antebellum South
was created by popular writers
aristocratic planters
large slave population
beautiful Southern Belles
polite Southern cavaliers
big plantations
Important contents of the Myth
young, unmarried woman
upper class of society
in the time period between being a daughter and becoming a wiffe
typically wore a hoop skirt, a corset, a straw hat and gloves
shielded herself from the sun -> tanning was a symbol of the working class on the fields
flirtatious, but faithful
social grace
plantation owners had high income because of cotton
cotton gin made slave trade more interesting
external slave trade was ended in 1808
only a few owned slaves
most farmers lived in small cabins or huts
women suffered a lot
bad education of the middle and lower class
manufacturing and industry of the South was far behind
very complex social structure
Society in the Old South
Southern Belle
Gone with the Wind
Industrialization in the North
Slavery and farming (especially cotton) in the South
South needed a way to justify and defend their society and slavery in front of the North-> creation of the myth
based on the cavalier origins (noble European settlers)
true gentlemen

big white house (Greek architecture)
big front yard
contrast to the Northern living conditions
How did slavery fit in the Myth?
Southerners justified slavery with these aspects:
ancient societies were based on slavery
support of the weak by giving them work
churches saw it as missionary work
hierarchical order in social structure
top: planter aristocracy
middle-level farm families - largest slave-owning group
poor farmers didn't own any slaves: yeoman farmers, herdsmen
poor whites of the South: hillbillies, dirt eaters, poor white trash ->poor diet and bad living conditions
Still everybody supported the slavery, because the presence of slaves raised their own status
After the Civil War -> The Lost Cause
literary and intellectual movement

aspects that the movement taught:
generals of the Southern states represented the Southern nobility and cavaliers
Northern generals were men with low moral standards
Southerners claimed that the defeat in the Civil War was based on betrayal and the superiority in resources and manpower of the North
slavery was presented in a positive way
Robert E. Lee ->admired
Full transcript