Performances of honour: manhood and violence in the Mississippi slave insurrection scare of 1835
Plath, Lydia (2009) Performances of honour: manhood and violence in the Mississippi slave insurrection scare of 1835. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b2317949~S9
In early July, 1835, rumours of a slave insurrection swept central Mississippi. Deviant white men, with bad characters and dishonourable motives, were—or so the residents of the small towns along the Big Black River in Madison County believed—plotting to incite the slaves to rebellion so that during the resulting panic they could rob the banks and plunder the cities. These rumours were entirely unfounded, but within a few weeks, groups of white citizens calling themselves ‘committees of safety’ had examined and tortured an unknown number of men (both white and black) whom they thought to be involved in the conspiracy, and by the end of July about a dozen white men and around twenty or thirty slaves had been put to death in Mississippi.
As a moment during which white men not only articulated their notion of what it meant to be a ‘man,’ but also demonstrated and violently enforced it, the insurrection scare is an opening, a window, into the lives of men in the antebellum South. Through this window, we can see how Southern white men conceived of their identity as white men and constructed a notion of manhood—one of honour—to which all white men, regardless of class, could aspire. While Northerners emphasised restraint, and inner feelings of honour, Southern manhood was defined almost entirely by public display. Honour had to be performed. Further, because all white men could attempt to give a performance of honour, there existed in the South a sense of equality amongst all white men—a herrenvolk democracy—despite the vast differences in wealth and status that existed. African Americans, on the other hand, could make no claims to honour in the eyes of white men because to have honour was to have power.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F001 United States local history|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Slavery -- Mississippi -- History -- 19th century, Slave insurrections -- Mississippi -- History -- 19th century, Masculinity -- Mississippi -- History -- 19th century, Honor -- Mississippi -- History -- 19th century, Mississippi -- History -- 19th century|
|Official Date:||August 2009|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of History|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Lockley, Timothy James, 1971-|
|Sponsors:||Arts and Humanities Research Council (Great Britain) (AHRC) ; Economic History Society (EHS) ; Royal Society (Great Britain) (RS) ; University of Warwick. Dept. of History (UoW)|
|Extent:||361 leaves : ill., maps|
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