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By Michael T. Bernath

Through the Civil warfare, a few Confederates sought to end up the individuality of the southern humans and to valid their hope for a separate nationwide lifestyles during the construction of a uniquely southern literature and tradition. Michael Bernath follows the actions of a bunch of southern writers, thinkers, editors, publishers, educators, and ministers--whom he labels accomplice cultural nationalists--in order to track the increase and fall of a cultural move devoted to releasing the South from its longtime dependence on Northern books, periodicals, and lecturers. through examining the causes riding the fight for accomplice highbrow independence, by means of charting its wartime accomplishments, and through assessing its mess ups, Bernath makes provocative arguments in regards to the nature of accomplice nationalism, lifestyles in the Confederacy, and the belief of southern cultural distinctiveness.

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Extra info for Confederate Minds: The Struggle for Intellectual Independence in the Civil War South (Civil War America)

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We have played squire to the North Knights of the quill, long enough,’’ Southern Field and Fireside declared. ’’≥Ω Much of this rhetoric was not new. Southern thinkers had been decrying the South’s dependence on the North for decades. Numerous attempts had been made and innumerable appeals to the public had been issued to encourage the development of an indigenous southern literature. ∂≠ Although these thinkers did manage to produce a fair body of writing and attract some historical attention, they failed to generate much interest among An Intellectual Call to Arms 21 their own people.

By mid-century, the northern print industry had the equipment, distribution networks, experience, and capital to manufacture superior products at inexpensive prices, so much so that any upstart southern publishing concern had little chance of matching northern quality, quantity, or price. Likewise, in the years leading up to the Civil War, southerners largely looked to the North to supply their teachers and textbooks, and even sent their sons and daughters to northern colleges and universities for their higher education.

For all of its passion and fire, the movement for southern cultural nationalism in the antebellum period was primarily characterized by frustration and failure, as a seemingly indifferent public consistently ignored the cries and protestations of its advocates. Secession and the coming of the war, however, promised to alter the situation dramatically. The war presented southern cultural nationalists with a tremendous opportunity to finally liberate the South from northern intellectual dominance and accomplish what they had always claimed they could: create and sustain a southern intellectual culture.

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