Identifier

etd-11122015-163609

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Economic, political, and social landscapes changed for white men in Louisiana after the Civil War. Suffering displacement, business interruption, property confiscation, and lower social and political standing vis-à-vis the former slaves, white men’s standing in every realm seemed diminished, including their core identity as men. It was important to them and to their families for white men to regain a sense of competence as men. Using letters, diaries, and court cases involving white people with strong connections to Louisiana during the Reconstruction era, this dissertation analyzes the gendered problems that white men and their families sought to resolve. Newspaper articles, literature, and public entertainment are examined to suggest some of the ways which gendered anxieties made themselves known. While some men and women yearned for a return of the dominant, conventionally successful men who had epitomized the antebellum ideal, many white men and women were pragmatic about men’s more limited potential in the postbellum environment. Some traditional concepts of masculinity remained unshaken, but weaknesses emerged in other areas where masculine vulnerabilities were uncovered.

Date

2015

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Long, Alecia P.

Included in

History Commons

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