Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South

Edited by William A. Link, David Brown, Brian Ward, and Martyn Bone

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"President Obama’s citizenship continues to be questioned by the ‘birthers,’ the Cherokee Nation has revoked tribal rights from descendants of Cherokee slaves, and Parliament in the U.K. is debating ‘citizenship education.’ It is in both this broader context and in the narrower academic one that Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South stands as a smart, exciting, and most welcome contribution to southern history and southern studies."--Michele K. Gillespie, author of Free Labor in an Unfree World

"Combining historical and cultural studies perspectives, eleven well-crafted essays and a provocative epilogue engage the economic, political, and cultural dynamics of race and belonging from the era of enslavement through emancipation, reconstruction, and the New South."--Nancy A. Hewitt, author of Southern Discomfort


More than merely a legal status, citizenship is also a form of belonging, giving shape to a person’s rights, duties, and identity, exerting a powerful historical influence in the making of the modern world.

The pioneering essays in this volume are the first to address the evolution and significance of citizenship in the South from the antebellum era, through the Civil War, and down into the late nineteenth century. They explore the politics and meanings of citizenry and citizens’ rights in the nineteenth-century American South: from the full citizenship of some white males to the partial citizenship of women with no voting rights, from the precarious position of free blacks and enslaved African American anti-citizens, to postwar Confederate rebels who were not "loyal citizens" according to the federal government but forcibly asserted their citizenship as white supremacy was restored in the Jim Crow South.

William A. Link, Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History at the University of Florida, is the author of Links: My Family in American History. David Brown, senior lecturer in American studies at the University of Manchester, is the coauthor of Race in the American South: From Slavery to Civil Rights. Brian Ward, professor in American Studies at Northumbria University, is the author of Radio and the Struggle for Civil Rights in the South. Martyn Bone, associate professor of American literature at the University of Copenhagen, is the author of The Postsouthern Sense of Place in Contemporary Fiction.

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“Contributes a great deal to further understanding the complexities of the meaning of citizenship in such a complicated society.” North Carolina Historical Review

"A diverse and stimulating collection of essays that suggests how much the nineteenth-century South can teach us about one of the defining concepts of modern history.” The Journal of American History

“The editors of Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South have chosen provocative essays that expand the study of an important topic. They raise interesting questions, point to new avenues of inquiry, and challenge scholars to think about the South’s relationship to the nation and the world.” The Journal of Southern History

Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South is a thought-provoking foray into the subject. Scholars of U.S. citizenship and of the nineteenth-century South will find the book a useful addition to the field, especially in its framing of citizenship as not merely a matter of legal enactments of electoral politics, but also as a process of social and cultural negotiations and exclusions. -- H-Net Review

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