American Mimicry? De planteraristocratie en de Amerikaanse Burgeroorlog

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Abstract

The historiography concerning the European aristocracy can be enriched by looking at the aristocratic society that developed in the Antebellum US South. Just as many would-be noblemen in Europe, the planter elite in the South tried to create an aristocratic society that mirrored a ‘knightly’ and noble European past. Most planters never accomplished an aristocratic status but living an aristocratic life à l’Anglaise was always the goal of their endeavors. Some of them became extremely rich and are qualified as well-bred, cosmopolitan, intellectual, well educated, articulate and fit for political leadership. Slavery formed the backbone of their wealth but the uglier aspects of it (violence against and sexual harassment of slaves) were hidden from the world to hold up the appearance of civility. Their Confederate cause gained some popularity in English aristocratic circles during the Civil War, but to no avail. Their world was smashed, especially by general Sherman, who deliberately humiliated the South by a démasqué of their chivalry, destroying the plantations and freeing their supposedly happy slaves.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)84-107
Number of pages25
JournalVirtus. Bulletin van de werkgroep adelsgeschiedenis
Volume20
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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