Masters of the Big House: Elite Slaveholders of the Mid-nineteenth-century South

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LSU Press, Apr 1, 2006 - History - 521 pages
3 Reviews

William Kauffman Scarborough has produced a work of incomparable scope and depth, offering the challenge to see afresh one of the most powerful groups in American history -- the wealthiest southern planters who owned 250 or more slaves in the census years of 1850 and 1860. The identification and tabulation in every slaveholding state of these lords of economic, social, and political influence reveals a highly learned class of men who set the tone for southern society while also involving themselves in the wider world of capitalism. Scarborough examines the demographics of elite families, the educational philosophy and religiosity of the nabobs, gender relations in the Big House, slave management methods, responses to secession, and adjustment to the travails of Reconstruction and an alien postwar world.


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This is a very informative book regarding the era of America & its largest Plantation owners ! It is well written & appears to be referenced well too !
It's as if you are almost living in the
nineteenth Century & are inside the head's of the most wealthiest men & women of their time, I have been " glued" to each succeeding page waiting to find out what is happening chronologically !! 

Review: Masters of the Big House: Elite Slaveholders of the Mid-Nineteenth-Century South

User Review  - Kent - Goodreads

About time somebody undertook this study. Read full review


Social and Demographic Characteristics
Religious and Cultural Characteristics
Wives Mothers and Daughters Gender Relations in the Big House
Agrarian Empires Acquisition Production Profits Problems and Management
Toiling for Old Massa Slave Labor on the Great Plantations
Capitalists All Investments and Capital Accumulation Outside the Agricultural Sector
Political Attitudes and Influence The Response of the Elite to the First Sectional Crisis
Days of Judgment The Demise of a Slave Society
Postwar Adjustment The Legacy of Emancipation and Defeat
Lords and Capitalists The Ideology of the Master Class
Slaveholders wit 500 or More Slaves 1850
Slaveholders wit 500 or More Slaves 1860
Elite Slaveholders by State of Residence 1850
Elite Slaveholders by State of Residence 1860

The Road to Armageddon The Role of the Planter Elite in the Secession Crisis

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About the author (2006)

WILLIAM KAUFFMAN SCARBOROUGH is a professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi and the award-winning author or editor of five books and numerous articles on the Civil War and the plantation-slavery regime of the Old South.

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