"Entrepreneurs in the Southern Upcountry, well written and impressively researched, advances an important argument about continuity in the mid-nineteenth-century South's outlook on capitalism and social progress. It will find a ready audience among historians interested in the South, the nineteenth century, and the U.S. economy. Eelman's work will provoke discussion, which is what good history should do."
—Frank Towers, author of The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War
By the 1840s, Spartanburg merchants, manufacturers, lawyers, and other professionals were looking to capitalize on the area’s natural resources by promoting iron and textile mills and a network of rail lines. Recognizing that cultural change had to accompany material change, these businessmen also worked to reshape legal and educational institutions. Their prewar success was limited, largely due to lowcountry planters’ political power. However, their modernizing spirit would serve as an important foundation for postwar development.
Although the Civil War brought unprecedented trauma to the Spartanburg community, the modernizing merchants, industrialists, and lawyers strengthened their political and social clout in the aftermath. As a result, much of the modernizing blueprint of the 1850s was realized in the 1870s. Eelman finds that Spartanburg’s modernizers slowed legal and educational reform only when its implementation seemed likely to empower African Americans.
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List price: $44.95
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