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Book Title: The Militant South, 1800-1861|
The author of the book: John Hope Franklin
Edition: University of Illinois Press
Date of issue: March 12th 2002
ISBN 13: 9780252070693
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 791 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.2
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The Militant South attempts an examination of the social and cultural traits in the antebellum South that made the Civil War possible, if not inevitable. If you cling to some variant of the Lost Cause and believe that the war had little or nothing to do with slavery, and was primarily caused by unwarranted Northern aggression against Southern rights, this book is not for you, as it will only raise your blood pressure. Nor do you need to read any further into this review, as neither the review nor the book is likely to alter your belief. All others, I believe, will find Franklin's book a thoughtful and probing examination of a bellicose and militant culture that was nearly as peculiar as the South's peculiar institution of slavery.
Franklin examines the roots of militant culture in the South, from the needs arising from existing along a wild frontier and clashes with natives, to the fact that civil government was rarely very developed there, and individuals had to learn to be sufficient to defend themselves in its absence. He examines in some depth how the presence of slavery encouraged this militancy, providing a source of constant fear (slave revolts), and conditioning the habit of being absolute master of others into the slave-holding class almost from their cradles. He also explores thoroughly the code of personal honor that was unique to the South, and the dueling and deadly fights that grew from that code.
One of the most rewarding sections of Franklin's work is his chapter on the filibusters. These adventurers provided an outlet for the martial feelings of the South while attempting to create a Southern empire where the values and institutions of the South could expand into a greater sphere. The small, private wars launched by filibusters against Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua, financed by those hoping to expand the South's interests are a fascinating and often neglected part of our history.
Franklin is a skillfull writer, and his book is readable as well as informative. In a few chapters, such as the one in which he examines the military schools of the South, his writing becomes repetitive simply from the large number of examples that he gives that are all so similar. But aside from that, his writing is captivating, and draws the reader in. His book ends as abruptly as the War began.
This is a valuable book for those who are interested in how the great national tragedy of the Civil War came upon us. It is by no means the whole story, but presents one piece of the large, complicated, and lethal puzzle that launched the deadliest war in the nation's history.
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Read information about the authorJohn Hope Franklin (2 January 1915 – 25 March 2009) was professor emeritus of history at Duke University and the author of From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation, and other books.
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