The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949 Page: 368
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the policies of the general government, a national sentiment pre-
vailed south of the Potomac. On the question of slavery, many
southern leaders did not hesitate to admit the evils of the system
and to express regret for its existence. Few of them, particularly
in Congress, defended the ethics of slavery in the debate over the
Even the casual student of American history is aware of the
fact that there was a change, almost revolutionary in nature, in
the South by 1848. The region had become self-conscious, even
sensitive, about its position in the national picture. Slavery, in-
stead of being something to regret and to be referred to apolo-
getically, had become a positive good-yea even an explanation
for a "perfect society" and the "golden age" of which the South
boasted. While these facts are well known, few persons are qual-
ified to describe the process of change in southerners or to offer
a complete and acceptable explanation of why it came about.
There is no single, simple, offhand explanation. The road from
nationalism to sectionalism in the South is difficult to follow.
It is a devious course, and only a careful, impartial scholar like
Professor Sydnor can point the way clearly. Perhaps none has
surpassed him in the endeavor.
This, the second volume of A History of the South to come
from the press, is more than a narrative of the origin and growth
of southern sectionalism. While that is the main theme, the vol-
ume under review is also a valuable compilation of facts about
the Old South, and it will therefore serve as an important refer-
ence work. The author devotes much space to describing and
interpreting conditions in the South around 182o. The region
was a land of contrasts with certain elements of disunity. Dr.
Sydnor makes these points clear. There were differences in eco-
nomic life especially between the upper and lower South, with
diversification in one and a cotton economy in the other. In an
early chapter the author describes local and state governments
in the South. Here, too, there were, contrasts, in this instance
between the eastern and western regions, the newer section being
more democratic than the older eastern region. There was a
movement toward political democracy in the 183o's that brought
important reforms in all southern states except Virginia and
South Carolina. The more rapid growth of population in the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949, periodical, 1949; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/m1/377/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.