Egyptian Darkness: Antebellum Reconstruction and Southern Illinois in the Republican Imagination, 1854-1861 Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Burke, Eric
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • Historians have identified an antebellum Republican “critique of the South” outlining the detrimental effects of slavery on white Southern society and the vital importance of “reconstructing” the white South in the image of the free labor agrarian North following the eventual collapse of slavery. The efforts to follow through with this transformation have historiographically been relegated to the efforts of radical Republicans to reconstruct the ex-Confederacy between 1863 and 1877. This paper argues that Republican strategies and efforts to “reconstruct” the white South were evident during the late antebellum period (1848-1861) applied to the southern counties of Illinois, inhabited chiefly by Southern "poor white” migrants. These efforts to dispel the “Egyptian darkness” of southern Illinois can be seen as an early laboratory of Republican reconstruction strategies.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Barney, William
  • Glatthaar, Joseph
  • Watson, Harry L.
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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