New Men, New Cities, New South: Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Mobile, 1860-1910

By Don H. Doyle | Go to book overview

10
The New Paternalism

{The South} must carry these races in peace, for discord means ruin, She must carry them separately, for assimilation means debasement. -- Henry Grady, 1887 They want the New South and the Old Negro. -- Ray Stannard Baker, 1908

Prophets of the New South joined their program of urban growth and economic development to an agenda for social progress. It was a vision that cast business leaders in the role of benefactors to former slaves and poor whites, not just as employers but also as civic stewards who promoted voluntary charities and government programs to aid health and education in their communities. The inspiration for such reforms came from a combination of genuine humanitarian sentiment, often grounded in religious faith, and a calculating grasp of the necessity of upgrading the South's human capital as a prerequisite to economic development. In the end, the New South's commitment to biracial social progress was compromised by the burden of racial prejudice.

Like their counterparts in northern cities, business leaders in the New South came to acknowledge the social disorder of their cities as regrettable byproducts of the very urban-industrial world they had championed. Drunkenness, prostitution, disease, poverty, crime, and political corruption were all understood as symptoms of the moral and physical chaos the lower classes fell into in the modern city.

It was the instinctive reaction of the business class to respond with efforts to bring order to the urban world they inhabited. Beginning in the 1880s, for example, powerful elements within Atlanta and Nashville launched temperance movements to control alcoholic consumption, first by moral suasion, then by government coercion. Beginning as a movement inspired by religious leaders, notably the evangelist Sam Jones, temperance became the center of a symbolic crusade that defined the social values of the business class. 1It enlisted women and men in a cause that became linked to new efforts at organized charity for the poor, "fallen women," and other destitute casualties of urban disorder. Reformers also led campaigns to cleanse the city of corrupt political "rings" and bring in "good government," which usually meant a government

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New Men, New Cities, New South: Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Mobile, 1860-1910
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Contents viii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • 1 - The Urbanization Of Dixie 1
  • 2 - The New Order of Things 22
  • 3 - Ebb Tide 51
  • 4 - New Men 87
  • 5 - Patrician and Parvenu 111
  • 6 - Atlanta Spirit 136
  • 7 - The Charleston Style 159
  • 8 - New Class 189
  • 9 - Gentility and Mirth 226
  • 10 - The New Paternalism 260
  • 11 - Paternalism and Pessimism 290
  • Epilogue 313
  • Notes 319
  • Index 363
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