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Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South$
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William A. Link, David Brown, Brian Ward, and Martyn Bone

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044132

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044132.001.0001

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Tolentino, Cable, and Tourgée Confront the New South and the New Imperialism

Tolentino, Cable, and Tourgée Confront the New South and the New Imperialism

(p.247) 11 Tolentino, Cable, and Tourgée Confront the New South and the New Imperialism
Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South

Peter Schmidt

University Press of Florida

Emboldened by the profitable post-Reconstruction alliances between northern capital and the southern post-slavery plantation economy, in which new sharecropping practices ensured control of cheap labor, the U.S. in the 1890s looked to acquire and exploit other plantation economies in the Caribbean and the Pacific, including Hawaii and the Philippines. The U.S.’s new colonialism reconstructed Reconstruction by developing a revisionist history of the postwar era that emphasized the dangers of an inferior race dominating a superior one and by adapting Reconstruction narratives and procedures for citizen building and citizen control in a transnational context. This essay argues that white rule in the “Redeemer” New South actually continued rather than renounced key elements of both the discourses and practices of Reconstruction. White or black Southerners’ attitudes about race were neither consistent nor unified-which may have been one reason why so many efforts were made to enforce conformity among whites. Even as rabid a believer in white supremacy as Thomas Dixon could be wildly contradictory on this issue, particularly in his fiction. In assessing New South views on citizenship at “home” and “abroad,” historians should present the range of competing views that existed and give us good working hypotheses about how those differences were generated and how they functioned.

Keywords:   White supremacy, Thomas Dixon, Albion Tourgee, New South, citizenship

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