The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955

,gook Reviews
RUDOLPH L. BIESELE, Editor
A History of the South. By Francis Butler Simkins. New York
(Alfred A. Knopf), 1953. Pp. xiii+655. Illustrations. $7.50.
In his preface Professor Simkins proposes "to stress those po-
litical and social traits that make the region between the Potomac
and the Rio Grande a cultural province conscious of its identity."
Chapter 1 on "The Land and the Tradition" surveys the various
explanations that have been offered for this self-consciousness of
the South as a distinct region, including Ulrich B. Phillips' thesis
of white supremacy as the central theme of Southern history. With
this thesis Mr. Simkins is entirely in accord, as his History of the
South amply demonstrates. This emphasis has not narrowed his
viewpoint to the exclusion of any important factors in Southern
history-the book is broadly conceived and comprehensive in
subject-matter-but it did bring about his decision to devote over
eighty per cent of the volume to the period since 182o, when
"the Negro question, in the form of the slavery controversy, first
appeared as a political issue in ... full-dress Congressional de-
bate," and over fifty per cent to the years since 1865.
The present volume is a revision and expansion of the author's
earlier book, The South Old and New, 1820-1947, though much
less by way of alteration than enlargement. For this period occa-
sional sentences and paragraphs have been omitted from or added
to the new edition; one chapter has been divided into two with-
out changing the text substantially; and in a new final chapter
the narrative has been brought up to date. To make it more com-
prehensive Mr. Simkins has sketched the history of the South dur-
ing the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in five chapters
which do not entirely measure up to the rest of the book, al-
though he shows great facility in condensation of material. Here
one finds an overemphasis of British restraint on expansion of
the frontier as a chief grievance of Southern revolutionists and
the erroneous idea that Jefferson's Summary View (1774) was
prompted by the Proclamation of 1763; here is repeated the well

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101158/. Accessed August 27, 2014.