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Masters of the Big House

Elite Slaveholders of the Mid-Nineteenth-Century South

by William Kauffman Scarborough

Jules and Frances Landry Award

544 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 16 Halftones,

Southern History

  Paperback / 9780807131558 / April 2006

William Kauffman Scarborough has produced a work of incomparable scope and depth, offering the challenge to see afresh one of the most powerful groups in American history—the wealthiest southern planters who owned 250 or more slaves in the census years of 1850 and 1860. The identification and tabulation in every slaveholding state of these lords of economic, social, and political influence reveals a highly learned class of men who set the tone for southern society while also involving themselves in the wider world of capitalism. Scarborough examines the demographics of elite families, the educational philosophy and religiosity of the nabobs, gender relations in the Big House, slave management methods, responses to secession, and adjustment to the travails of Reconstruction and an alien postwar world.

William Kauffman Scarborough, professor emeritus of history at the University of Southern Mississippi, is the author of The Overseer and Masters of the Big House and editor of the three-volume Diary of Edmund Ruffin.

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