REVIEWS frequent discussions about the rural household economy. Certainly Jeanne Boydston's thought-provoking article, ``The Woman Who Wasn't There'' (Journal of the Early Republic 16, Summer 1996, 183206), might serve as a model for southern historians hoping to understand rural women's contribution to the household economy and engagement with the market economy. This omission, however, does not detract from the book's overall contribution to southern scholarship. More broadly, the research in this collection is important not only for southern historians, but also for scholars who study early America generally. So often, historians have relied on a historical paradigm that draws on the development of a market economy in the northeast and the existence of slavery in the South to explain the cultural and social differences between the two regions on the eve of the Civil War. As J. William Harris notes in the book's preface, however, the essays collectively reveal the ``uncomfortable truth that such a moral blight [slavery] could develop hand in hand with economic and social changes that we usually label as `progress' '' (7). This new research challenges entrenched notions about the structure and culture of southern society and encourages scholars to reevaluate the effect of
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Aug 13, 2012
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