Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820–1865 (review)

Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820–1865 (review) Book Reviews Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865. By Frank J. Byrne. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2006. Pp. x, 297.) In his compelling rendering of southern merchants in the antebellum and Civil War years, Frank Byrne argues that these oft-neglected carriers of bourgeois values "served as financial linchpins in keeping the southern economy viable during peace and war" at the same time that they operated outside of the traditional agrarian prerogatives that dominated southern society (6). Byrne has mined a wide range of archival, printed, and government sources to recreate their world in Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865. This excellent study sheds light on a commonly overlooked class of white southerners and provides another example of the ways in which historians continue to highlight the diversity of the "Old South." Byrne begins Becoming Bourgeois with a well-constructed portrait of the merchant community in the antebellum South. He argues that their economic ties to the North, as well as their penchant for traveling there, gave southern merchants a different orientation than most white southerners, but Byrne is careful to note that merchants never seriously challenged the centrality of slavery to the South. These http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies West Virginia University Press

Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820–1865 (review)

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 West Virginia University Press
ISSN
1940-5057
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Book Reviews Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865. By Frank J. Byrne. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2006. Pp. x, 297.) In his compelling rendering of southern merchants in the antebellum and Civil War years, Frank Byrne argues that these oft-neglected carriers of bourgeois values "served as financial linchpins in keeping the southern economy viable during peace and war" at the same time that they operated outside of the traditional agrarian prerogatives that dominated southern society (6). Byrne has mined a wide range of archival, printed, and government sources to recreate their world in Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865. This excellent study sheds light on a commonly overlooked class of white southerners and provides another example of the ways in which historians continue to highlight the diversity of the "Old South." Byrne begins Becoming Bourgeois with a well-constructed portrait of the merchant community in the antebellum South. He argues that their economic ties to the North, as well as their penchant for traveling there, gave southern merchants a different orientation than most white southerners, but Byrne is careful to note that merchants never seriously challenged the centrality of slavery to the South. These

Journal

West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional StudiesWest Virginia University Press

Published: Aug 9, 2008

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