By Ritchie Devon Watson Jr.
Whilst consultant Preston Brooks of South Carolina savagely caned Senator Charles Sumner Massachusetts at the ground of the U.S. Senate on might 21, 1856, southerners seen the assault as a successful confirmation of southern chivalry, northerners as a affirmation of southern barbarity. Public opinion was once equally divided approximately three-and-a-half years later after abolitionist John Brown's raid at the Federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, with northerners crowning John Brown as a martyr to the reason for freedom as southerners excoriated him as a realization enthusiast. those occasions opened American minds to the prospect that North and South can be incompatible societies, yet a few of Dixie's defenders have been prepared to head one step further--to suggest that northerners and southerners represented not only a "divided humans" yet scientifically designated races. In Normans and Saxons, Ritchie Watson, Jr., explores the advanced racial mythology created by means of the higher periods of the antebellum South within the wake of those divisive occasions to justify secession and, ultimately, the Civil battle. This mythology forged southerners as descendants of the Normans of eleventh-century England and hence additionally of the Cavaliers of the 17th century, a few of whom had come to the recent international and populated the southern colonies. those Normans have been adversarial, in mythic phrases, by means of Saxons--Englishmen of German descent--some of whose descendants made up the Puritans who settled New England and later fanned out to populate the remainder of the North. the parable drew on nineteenth-century technology and different resources to painting those as separate, warring "races," the aristocratic and rushing Normans as opposed to the typical and venal Saxons. based on Watson, southern polemical writers hired this racial mythology as a justification of slavery, countering the northern argument that the South's odd establishment had mixed with its Norman racial composition to supply an conceited and brutal land of oligarchs with a second-rate tradition. Watson unearths proof for this argument in either prose and poetry, from the literary effect of Sir Walter Scott, De Bow's overview, and different antebellum southern magazines, to fiction via George Tucker, John Pendleton Kennedy, and William Alexander Caruthers and northern and southern poetry in the course of the Civil warfare, in particular within the works of Walt Whitman. Watson additionally lines the ongoing impression of the Norman as opposed to Saxon delusion in "Lost reason" idea and the way the parable has affected rules approximately southern sectionalism of today.Normans and Saxons presents a radical research of the ways that fable finally helped to persuade american citizens that neighborhood ameliorations over the problem of slavery have been manifestations of deeper and extra profound adjustments in racial temperament--differences that made civil conflict inevitable.
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Extra resources for Normans and Saxons: Southern Race Mythology and the Intellectual History of the American Civil War (Southern Literary Studies)
The Englishman found this sense of regional identity nowhere more refined than in South Carolina, the state that had produced John C. Calhoun and that would produce Preston Brooks. ”13 Even though the South’s sense of regional identity was firmly established by the 1830s, very few southerners at that time would have gone so far as to assert that they were a separate race of people. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of them remained strongly nationalistic and devoted to the Union and Race Mythology, Science, and Southern Nationalismâ•… 25 to its expansion.
As William Stanton observes, by the 1850s “the principal tenets of the doctrine that was coming to be called ‘polygenism’ had been established. ”48 By the 1850s, polygenesis prevailed in scientific circles from Boston and New York to Charleston and Mobile, as it did in Paris and London, because in a pre-Darwinian era it seemed to be a theory more consonant with observable physical phenomena than monogenesis. But there is little doubt that the idea of multiple human species was also appealing because it obliquely affirmed the superiority of the Caucasian race over all others.
This immigration consisted largely of “farmers and farm laborers who owned no land of their own, but worked as tenants and undertenants. ” These immigrants, a people who became loosely known as Scots-Irish, vastly outnumbered the gentry-descended Englishmen who established the Cavalier folkway in Tidewater Virginia; the territory in which they eventually established themselves was also much larger than the relatively restricted dimensions of the Cavalier settlement. Fischer observes that the Scots-Irish became the dominant culture across a swath of land that extended from southwestern Pennsylvania down through the highlands and foothills of the colonial South into the interior of the Old Southwest and eventually across the Mississippi into Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas.
Normans and Saxons: Southern Race Mythology and the Intellectual History of the American Civil War (Southern Literary Studies) by Ritchie Devon Watson Jr.