One South or Many?: Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil War-Era Tennessee

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This book is a state-wide study of Tennessee's agricultural population between 1850 and 1880. Relying upon massive samples of census data as well as plantation accounts, the author provides the first systematic comparison of the socioeconomic bases of plantation and non-plantation areas both before and immediately after the Civil War. Although the study applauds scholars' growing appreciation of southern diversity during the nineteenth century, it argues that recent scholarship both oversimplifies distinctions between Black Belt and Upcountry and exaggerates the socioeconomic heterogeneity of the South as a whole. It also challenges several largely unsubstantiated assumptions concerning the postbellum reorganisation of southern agriculture, particularly those regarding the immiseration of southern whites and the immobilization and economic repression of southern freedmen.