The Emerging South

The Emerging South

The Emerging South

The Emerging South

Excerpt

The difficulty of giving anything likes an intelligent and exact estimate of the breeding of any people or of any class of people is almost insurmountable, owing to the vagueness of the terms which must be used, or rather to the quite different ideas which different readers will attach to these terms. The very word which I have employed to designate my present subject has itself such a varied signification that it needs to be defined at the outset. I mean to employ it in that sense wherein, according to Webster, it covers the ground of "nurture, instruction, and the formation of manners." It is something more than "manners and customs" then, and includes, or may include, qualities which, if not congenital, are equally an essential part of character with those qualities which are literally in-bred of a man, or a child growing to be a man, is usually unconscious, and of which he cannot be independent if he would.

OLMSTED, A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY , p. 411

Only yesterday I drove down the main street of a Mississippi county seat town, going westward into country which I once knew intimately, as a boy gets to know country that he traversed countless times. I had hauled thousands of feet of pine lumber and crossties over the muddy roads which in fact extended main street into the backcountry. Every mudhole, rutted hillside, and rickety bridge had to be negotiated according to its own peculiar bit of treachery. I hauled cotton to the gin and market on this road. Atop a swaying cotton wagon I guided a team of panting mules between the mud and the dust pockets, always hoping I would meet no one and be spared the ordeal of passing. This five-

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