Identifier

etd-04152013-093456

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

During the five decades between the War of 1812 and the end of the Civil War, southern Louisianans developed a society unlike any other region. The vibrant traditional image of moonlight and magnolias, the notion that King Cotton dominated the South’s economy as Anglo-Saxon masters lorded over their enslaves African-American workers still dominates the image of the American South. This image of a monolithic South, however, does not give a clear indication of the many sub-regional distinctions that both challenged and rewarded the inhabitants of those areas and provides exciting ways to understand slaveholding society culturally. Louisiana’s slaveholding class consisted of Creoles and Anglo-Americans who stared at one another across a chasm of cultural tension for much of this period. Only the necessity of achieving a profit through sugarcane production that demanded the two ethnic communities come together helped to blend the distinct characteristics that separated them. Slavery slowly bound them together as the Civil War approached. While they maintained a strong cultural awareness that made them either Creole or Anglo-American, the distinctions between the two groups in terms of slaveholding began to disappear. The Civil War and the abolition of slavery largely ended the tension between the two groups. Both Creoles and Anglo-Americans entered the Reconstruction period believing that they needed to work together in order to ensure that white Louisianans remained at the top of the social ladder. Essentially, Creoles and Anglo-Americans turned their attention away from the ethnicity that separated them and focused their attention on the ways in which race brought them together.

Date

2013

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cooper, William J.

Included in

History Commons

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