Book Reviews -- Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie by R. Douglas Hunt

By Wilson, John Scott | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), Spring 1994 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Book Reviews -- Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie by R. Douglas Hunt


Wilson, John Scott, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


R. Douglas Hunt. Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 1992, 334 pp.

This specialized study adds modestly to our understanding of the slavery in the Border States. Hunt chose to focus on slavery in the Little Dixie region of Missouri, which he defines as the seven counties along the Missouri River which had a slave population of at least 24 percent in 1859, because this region served as the core of the slave culture in the state during the antebellum period. To understand slavery here is to understand it in Missouri.

The Boone's Lick country which became Little Dixie was opened for settlement after the War of 1812 and quickly filled by people from Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. The major thesis of the work is Hunt's conviction that these people brought with them a commitment to agriculture as a capitalist enterprise, which helps explain the development of slavery in the region. The farmers of Little Dixie were committed to slavery as a way of increasing their agricultural return. They focused on the commercial crops they already knew how to grow and which flourished in the region. Those commercial crops: tobacco, hemp and livestock, were shipped down the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers into the Cotton Kingdom and areas beyond. Little Dixie was a part of a national market from its beginning, tied by commerce and culture to the larger slave region of the nation.

Hunt traces the development of these commercial crops from their introduction to maturity, and even decline, on the eve of the Civil War. His most provocative assertion, although not fully explored, is that these farmers did not farm as well as they knew how. Again and again, he shows, they were told that their market prices could increase by modest improvements in packing and storing. Few of them heeded this advice. While some advanced farmers invested in the new agriculture machinery that come on the market in the antebellum, most ignored those improvements, nor were the efforts to build plank roads a success when that became a national fad. Even the agriculture improvement societies of the time had limited success in Little Dixie.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Book Reviews -- Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie by R. Douglas Hunt
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?