The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958

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H. BAILEY CARROLL
C EASE C. MOONEY of Indiana University has written a
wholly commendable book entitled Slavery in Tennessee
(Indiana University Press, 1957). The subject may or
may not interest a large number of Texans but the method fol-
lowed and the philosophy of the undertaking might well be of
concern to the members of the Association and to students of
Texas history.
F. L. Owsley of the University of Alabama wrote the foreword
for Mooney's book. Owsley's comments make a compelling justifi-
cation for state and county history as the necessary foundation
for national historical writing:
Much of the history of the United States has been written upon
untested assumptions which, when later subjected to systematic re-
search, prove to be partially or entirely unsound. Many such assump-
tions deal with the very grass roots of history-community, county, and
state history; yet the writers of our national histories have seldom or
never extended their researches to the community and county level.
They have usually scorned the writing of "purely local history," and
have been content to rely for their information upon the writings of
the untrained county patriot, an occasional personal document, news-
papers, and travel literature (almost totally unreliable). It should be
needless to point out that generalizations based upon such sources
are untrustworthy-they may be sound and again they may be wholly
unsound. One can therefore be fairly certain that because of the
neglect of the grass roots of American history, the works of our
national historians have, of necessity, many unsound areas. ...
In recent years, especially in the field of Southern history, important
progress has been made in the grass-roots study of the history of that
region. Great collections of personal manuscripts have been made at
several of the Southern universities, especially for the ante-bellum
period; and trained scholars have undertaken the study of county
and local areas. Land tenure, the migratory pattern of the Southern
rural population, the disposal and settlement of the public domains,
the productions of agriculture, the history of slavery on local and state
levels have been and are being subjected to intensive scrutiny; and
the county, church, and other local records have been systematically

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/. Accessed January 27, 2015.