Between the generations of Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson Davis, the culture of white Southerners experienced significant changes, including the establishment of a normative male identity that exuded confidence, independence, and power. Southern Sons, the first work in masculinity studies to concentrate on the early South, explores how young men of the southern gentry came of age between the 1790s and the 1820s. Lorri Glover examines how standards for manhood came about, how young men experienced them in the early South, and how those values transformed many American sons into southern nationalists who ultimately would conspire to tear apart the republic they had been raised to lead.This was the first generation of boys raised to conceive of themselves as Americans, as well as the first cohort of self-defined southern men. They grew up believing that the fate of the American experiment in self-government depended on their ability to put away personal predispositions and perform prescribed roles. Because men faced demanding gender norms, boys had to pass exacting tests of manhood—in education, refinement, courting, careers, and slave mastery. Only then could they join the ranks of the elite and claim power in society.
Revealing the complex interplay of nationalism and regionalism in the lives of southern men, Glover brings new insight to the question of what led the South toward sectionalism and civil war.
"Combining rare narrative skills and historical detail, historians Lorri Glover and Daniel Blake Smith have written a fascinating book about a subject of crucial importance for understanding early America.” - The Providence Journal
"Glover and Smith use this tale of shipwreck and survival to convey the larger spirit of the age, a brew of enterprise, greed, godliness, hucksterism, and self-advancement. A thrilling adventure story gracefully told.” - Kirkus Reviews
In this gripping account of shipwreck, mutiny, perseverance, and deliverance, the epic story of the wreck of the Sea Venture and its consequences for the survival of Jamestown, England's first successful colony in the New World, is told for the first time. Glover and Smith persuasively make the case that in saving themselves, the 150 castaways stranded for nearly a year on the remote island of Bermuda ultimately saved English America.”—James Horn, author of A Land As God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America
“An important story, told with verve and skill.” - Richmond Times-Dispatch
The English were latecomers to America, and their initial attempts to establish an overseas empire met with dismal failure. In 1609, another disaster set the final course of this dramatic history, when the Sea Venture, the ship dispatched by London investors to rescue the starving settlers at Jamestown, collided with a ferocious hurricane and was shipwrecked off the coast of Bermuda. This riveting historical narrative describes how the 150 castaways were seduced by the island’s unexpected pleasures for almost a year and were later riven by mutinies when ordered to continue on to Virginia. Ultimately they built boats with their own hands and arrived safely in Jamestown to face the daunting task of rebuilding America’s first permanent colony.
The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America
(Henry Holt, 2008), with Daniel Blake Smith
Discovering the American Past: A Look at the Evidence 8th edition (Cengage 2017), with William Bruce Wheeler
"Southern Sons is an impressive work, certain to influence—and perhaps even reshape—Southern social and cultural history for years to come, as well as the history of American masculinities."
- The Historian
An important book for anyone interested in gender, family history, or education in antebellum America. It is also a refreshing way to frame the origins of the American Civil War. - (Michael DeGruccio H-CivilWar)
Southern Manhood: Perspectives on Masculinity in the Old South (Georgia, 2004), edited with Craig Thompson Friend
Spanning the era from the American Revolution to the Civil War, these nine pathbreaking original essays explore the unexpected, competing, or contradictory ways in which southerners made sense of manhood. Employing a rich variety of methodologies, the contributors look at southern masculinity within African American, white, and Native American communities; on the frontier and in towns; and across boundaries of class and age.Until now, the emerging subdiscipline of southern masculinity studies has been informed mainly by conclusions drawn from research on how the planter class engaged issues of honor, mastery, and patriarchy. But what about men who didn’t own slaves or were themselves enslaved? These essays illuminate the mechanisms through which such men negotiated with overarching conceptions of masculine power. Here the reader encounters Choctaw elites struggling to maintain manly status in the market economy, black and white artisans forging rival communities and competing against the gentry for social recognition, slave men on the southern frontier balancing community expectations against owner domination, and men in a variety of military settings acting out community expectations to secure manly status.
As Southern Manhood brings definition to an emerging subdiscipline of southern history, it also pushes the broader field in new directions. All of the essayists take up large themes in antebellum history, including southern womanhood, the advent of consumer culture and market relations, and the emergence of sectional conflict.
"An important and timely contribution to the burgeoning field of gender history. This rich and compelling collection will take its place on the bookshelves of every serious scholar of gender in the American experience." - Anya Jabour, author of Marriage in the Early Republic: Elizabeth and William Wirt and the Companionate Ideal
Southern Sons adds immeasurably to our understanding of gender relations in the antebellum South. Compellingly argued, lucidly written, and thoroughly researched, this work is a model of sensitive historical analysis. Especially valuable is her demonstration of the complexities in social relations between parents and sons, peers and kin, college authorities and their often immature students. She pursues the lives of these favored young slaveholders through their courtships, marriages, and arrival on the threshold of responsible adulthood. Throughout their development, Glover persuasively asserts, they sought to become 'men of honor' and refinement in the classic terms of their time and culture. This study will be highly acclaimed by ordinary readers well as scholars of American history.
- (Bertram Wyatt-Brown, author of Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South and The Shaping of Southern Culture: Honor, Grace, and War)
"We read about young men who exhibited a lifelong negotiation with authority, with society's expectations, with one another, and eventually with the North... Well written, meticulously researched."- Journal of the Early Republic
This rich collection of original essays illuminates the causes and consequences of the South’s defining experiences with death. Taking a wide range of perspectives while concentrating on discrete episodes in the region’s past, the essayists in Death and the American South explore topics running from the seventeenth century to the present, from the deathtraps that emerged during colonization through the bloody backlash against emancipation and Civil Rights to recent canny efforts to commemorate—and capitalize on—the region’s deadly past. Some authors capture their subjects in the most intimate of moments: killing and dying, grief and remembrance, faith and despair. Others uncover the intentional efforts of southerners to publicly commemorate their losses through death rituals and memorialization campaigns. Together, these poignantly told southern stories reveal profound truths about the past of a region marked by death and unable, perhaps unwilling to escape the ghosts of its history.
"A fine collection of essays that apply the new methods and approaches of masculine studies to the study of the Old South. . . . Southern Manhood: Perspectives on Masculinity in the Old South is a pioneering effort opening new ground in both the study of masculine history and the history of the American South." - North Carolina Historical Review