I'm seeing some misinformation here re: non-slaveholding southerners fighting in the #CivilWar since @TheTattooedProf 's #RobertELee thread went viral. So let's get a few things right:
1. Support for the #Confederacy varied greatly among non-slaveholders, depending on rural/urban, Upper/Lower South, slave societies/societies w slaves, & ties to slaveholders. Class also mattered: many landholding yeomen DID think 1 day they could own slaves, some rented slaves.
2. But for many cyclically-poor landless whites, esp in the cotton South (abt 1/3 white pop), there was no desire to fight & die to protect slave property. They even realized that their lives were negatively impacted (socio-economically) by the "peculiar institution."
3. In the cotton South, poor whites were overwhelmingly illiterate & often disenfranchised, & even when they voted they did so viva voce in front of 3 of the most powerful slaveholders in town, who controlled job prospects, property leases, & the criminal justice system.
4. (Important:) Most poor whites FULLY REALIZED they could never afford a purchase a slave. Most never owned more than a few dollars cash at the richest point in their lives. There was no credit for poor people.
5. And you wanna know how much a slave cost in 1860 in today's (2011) terms?

An astounding $130,000:
6. In the 1850s, non-slaveholding laborers were forming nascent unions, demanding protection from competition w brutalized slave labor. These unions met throughout the South, & some even threatened to withdraw their support for slavery altogether -it hurt their prospects & wages.
7. By eve of war, slaveholders used racist media to try to scare lower class whites into supporting secession, predicting that they'd be raped & slaughtered by the thousands in an inevitable race war following emancipation. If they lived, slaveholders said, they'd be white slaves
8. Slaveholders were terrified of Republican Party, & not just because of the Party's stance on slavery:
9. More on "Red" & "Black" Republicans:

10. Unfortunately, no matter how many times abolitionists tried to reach the white masses, censorship+illiteracy+police state rendered the effort fruitless.

Lynchings for whites -whether talking about Lincoln, or possessing Hinton Helper's book, or associating w Blacks-abounded.
11. So why did poor whites vote for secession??

Well, many did not. Voter turn-out dropped precipitously bw the 1860 Presidential election and the secession convention elections - the extent of apathy v force is still unknown. Fraud *was* rampant.
12. And we *must* keep in mind that slave societies were HEAVILY policed, constantly surveilled, censored societies. Slaveholders used vigilante violence whenever they could to beat & torture ppl into maintaining the southern hierarchy:
13. Now, re: joining the Confederacy: both historians & (quant) political scientists agree that most of the ppl volunteering were slaveholders or made a living off of slavery somehow. In the early years, poor whites who joined typically did so for 4 reasons: (1) FORCE. Accounts
14. of poor men forced at the point of bayonets, or who were arrested for vagrancy & then forced to join are common. (2) PAY. Already trapped in cyclical un-& under-employment, this was a steady & decent wage. Good-excellent, life-changing $ for substitutions,etc. (3) LAND. prior
15. to the Civil War, veterans had always had the chance to get LAND for their service. Poor whites had NO land. (4) Honor. These were white men with no honor...& what's the quickest way to gain honor? Fight to protect your home.
16. Poor whites were forced to join en masse after the Conscription Act of 1862. Then the "Twenty Negro Act," exempting the richest slaveholders, inflamed class tensions.

= led to massive defections/desertions of the poor in 63-64, ultimately adding to the Confederacy's defeat
17. Whether Unionist, anti-Confederate, or just completely apathetic, non-slaveholding whites - along with the enslaved & the Union - ultimately added to the Confederacy's demise.
18 (FIN). The slave regime of the South - the #Confederacy - needs to be remembered for what it was. In 1867 Union General John Pope wrote a letter to Ulysses Grant, expressing his concerns about how the Civil War—and the causes of the Confederacy—would be remembered in history:
Wow - this has blown up, thank you.

(And many thanks to @TheTattooedProf & @PatrickIber for the shout-outs).

For those who are asking, yes, this is pretty much all from my book:

Here's a link to my thread on the historiography: (@SandyDarity thought you may be interested.)

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More from @KeriLeighMerrit

Oct 9, 2018
So the story from this weekend: Sat night was discussing political messages in the old Warner Bros./Bugs Bunny cartoons. Sunday morn I drive a couple miles down the road & see this:

*Fine print says, "The Boss is Coming!"

(❤️ ya, #ATL!) /1
Anyhow, it had me thinking about the "Father of Contemporary Animation," Chuck Jones. I had been to one of his galleries in New Mexico but still didn't feel like I knew the real story behind his greatness. /2
And greatness of this caliber is often associated with early lives of pain & suffering.

I immediately looked him up, & found my answer within the first few paragraphs about his childhood.

You see, Chuck Jones was born in Spokane, but his family moved to CA in the 1920s. /3
Read 6 tweets
Oct 2, 2018
As much as I wish to stay off of Twitter right now I've got to get back on to promote a few things professionally.

I appreciate all of the support I received this weekend after being called "gross" by a fellow historian. /1
A little context: I jumped into the conversation after seeing him absolutely mansplain a WOC - a PhD scholar of slavery and race - abt Maxine Waters.

The minute I pointed out that he had never personally experienced racism/misogyny, he lost his cool. /2
Anyhow, I truly appreciate everyone who came to my defense.

As to the men who like to DM me privately abt the situation but continue to follow & interact w the men who threaten & call women vile names, go ahead & unfollow me now.

Either speak up & out or move on over.

Read 4 tweets
Sep 30, 2018
1) Since Thursday, I've received threats & been called "SLIMY AF" & "GROSS" by self-proclaimed liberal men bc of (non-profane!) tweets.

I know the next era of anti-woman name-calling & slut-shaming is coming on fast.

So, ladies (& true allies) - here's some #SundayMotivation
2) @theebikinikill - Double Dare Ya

"We're Bikini Kill, and we want Revolution - Girl-style NOW!

Hey Girlfriend
I got a proposition goes something like this:
3) "Dare ya to do what you want

Dare ya to be who you will

Dare ya to cry right outloud

"You get so emotional baby"...
Read 8 tweets
Sep 14, 2018
How do ppl not know many of the OG country ⭐s were progressives??

"I wear the black for the poor & the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times."
FTR: Country music (& "musicians") took a hard-right political turn precisely at the same time the genre went super-corporate & mainstream...
George Strait & Alan Jackson, 1999:

"The almighty dollar and the lust for worldwide fame
Slowly killed tradition and for that someone should hang
They all say not guilty, but the evidence will show
That murder was committed down on music row."
Read 6 tweets
Aug 21, 2018
Thread as promised on the Solid White (#Confederate) South thesis, including the "herding thesis," culture of honor, "Cracker culture" tropes, & why overturning these rids us (false) history written by white supremacists.
1. In the years following the Civil War, all the way to the post-Depression era, historians-both racists like U.B. Phillips, as well as anti-racists like WEB DuBois & William M. Brewer (the editor of the Journal of Negro History for nearly two decades)-described the white South
2. as deeply divided bw wealthy slaveholders & poor whites. There were middling-class yeomen, as well, but their focus was on the tensions bw the haves & the "helots." But by the 1920&30s rich white Southerners were frightened by a rapidly industrializing, urbanizing country- &
Read 23 tweets
Jun 28, 2018
.@Econ_Marshall - I'm going through files and thought you might want to tell your co-author that I still use his essay from 1959.

Still so important - and heart-breakingly relevant.
Weisberger: "In the first place, white historians have shied away from grasping the nettle of race conflict, mainly because of the difficulty of recognizing their own emotional involvement in the problem." (1959!)
Read 4 tweets

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