The Southern Frontiers, 1607-1860: The Agricultural Evolution of the Colonial and Antebellum South

The Southern Frontiers, 1607-1860: The Agricultural Evolution of the Colonial and Antebellum South

The Southern Frontiers, 1607-1860: The Agricultural Evolution of the Colonial and Antebellum South

The Southern Frontiers, 1607-1860: The Agricultural Evolution of the Colonial and Antebellum South

Synopsis

Although many specialized studies have dealt with the colonial and antebellum American South, very little attention has been paid to the Southern agricultural frontiers before 1860. This study focuses on agriculture, the primary economic activity and the single most important factor in shaping the South's colonial and antebellum frontiers. After examining the agricultural economy on the Southern seaboard during colonial times, Otto explains the economic and environmental forces that led to the expansion of upland and lowland agriculturalists across the trans-Appalachian South during the antebellum period.

Excerpt

Since World War II there has been a flood of books, articles, and monographs on Southern history. in addition to the Civil War, topics such as slavery, segregation, social inequality, and party politics have dominated postwar Southern historiography. Far less has been written about Southern agriculture, environment, transportation, and the frontier experience (see Link and Patrick, eds., 1965; Boles and Nolen, eds., 1987).

During the past decade I have been studying these often overlooked topics in Southern history. I began my research during the summer of 1978 with a study of slavery in the Arkansas mountains. After reading all the available sources, I looked for local people who might know something about old slavery times. a local contact led me to an elderly black man whose father had been a slave on a mountain farm. After interviewing the man about slave living conditions on the farm, I then met the great-grandson of the farmer who had once owned the black man's father. This elderly white man not only offered another perspective on mountain slave life, but he also recounted the agricultural practices on his great-grandfather's farm. His description of antebellum life changed my research interest from slavery to agricultural history.

He described a preindustrial agriculture in the Arkansas mountains that bore little resemblance to today's industrialized food production. His great-grandfather raised crops in tempo-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.