When consultant Preston Brooks of South Carolina savagely caned Senator Charles Sumner Massachusetts at the flooring of the U.S. Senate on may well 21, 1856, southerners considered the assault as a effective confirmation of southern chivalry, northerners as a affirmation of southern barbarity. Public opinion used to be equally divided approximately three-and-a-half years later after abolitionist John Brown's raid at the Federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, with northerners crowning John Brown as a martyr to the reason for freedom as southerners excoriated him as a realization enthusiast. those occasions opened American minds to the chance that North and South should be incompatible societies, yet a few of Dixie's defenders have been keen to move one step extra -- to suggest that northerners and southerners represented not only a "divided humans" yet scientifically distinctive races. In Normans and Saxons, Ritchie Watson, Jr., explores the advanced racial mythology created by way of the higher periods of the antebellum South within the wake of those divisive occasions to justify secession and, finally, the Civil warfare.
This mythology solid southerners as descendants of the Normans of eleventh-century England and hence additionally of the Cavaliers of the 17th century, a few of whom had come to the recent international and populated the southern colonies. those Normans have been adverse, in mythic phrases, via Saxons -- Englishmen of German descent -- a few of whose descendants made up the Puritans who settled New England and later fanned out to populate the remainder of the North. the parable drew on nineteenth-century technology and different resources to painting those as separate, warring "races," the aristocratic and rushing Normans as opposed to the typical and venal Saxons. in keeping with Watson, southern polemical writers hired this racial mythology as a justification of slavery, countering the northern argument that the South's atypical establishment had mixed with its Norman racial composition to supply an boastful and brutal land of oligarchs with a second-rate tradition. Watson reveals proof for this argument in either prose and poetry, from the literary impact of Sir Walter Scott, De Bow's evaluate, and different antebellum southern magazines, to fiction by way of George Tucker, John Pendleton Kennedy, and William Alexander Caruthers and northern and southern poetry through the Civil struggle, particularly within the works of Walt Whitman. Watson additionally lines the continued effect of the Norman as opposed to Saxon delusion in "Lost reason" inspiration and the way the parable has affected principles approximately southern sectionalism of today.
Normans and Saxons presents an intensive research of the ways that fantasy eventually helped to persuade american citizens that local transformations over the difficulty of slavery have been manifestations of deeper and extra profound modifications in racial temperament -- adjustments that made civil warfare inevitable.
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