2. Southern Society: Slavery, King Cotton, and Antebellum America’s “Peculiar” Region
Professor Blight offers a number of approaches to the question of southern distinctiveness. The lecture offers a survey of that manner in which commentators–American, foreign, northern, and southern–have sought to make sense of the nature of southern society and southern history. The lecture analyzes the society and culture of the Old South, with special emphasis on the aspects of southern life that made the region distinct from the antebellum North. The most lasting and influential sources of Old South distinctiveness, Blight suggests, were that society’s anti-modernism, its emphasis on honour, and the booming slave economy that developed in the South from the 1820s to the 1860s.