This collection of primary documents and previously published essays introduces students to the principal themes in recent scholarship on the social and cultural history of the Old South. The twelve essays cover a variety of topics including the relative modernity of the Old South, the proslavery defense of servitude, gender relations, southern honor and violence, the slave trade, the slaves' economy and community, and the histories of southern women - both black and white. The documents - including court cases, personal letters, diaries, travel accounts, newspaper stories, advertisements, and slave narratives - have been drawn directly from the essay sources in order to illustrate how historians construct arguments. Smith provides a detailed main introduction to the collection to help students situate the readings and documents within the larger context of the antebellum South. In addition, there are brief introductions to each document and essay, study questions, suggestions for further reading, a map, and a chronology of significant events.
Mark M. Smith is Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. He previously taught at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. He is the author of Mastered by the Clock: Time, Slavery, and Freedom in the American South (1997) and Debating Slavery: Economy and Society in the Antebellum American South (1998).