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Non-Elite Whites

For discussion

How did non-elite survive?

How varied was the non-elite group?

Did it vary from region to region and between rural and urban?

How did elite and non-elite get along?

Were there privileges of whiteness to which all whites had access to?


There is less written about non-elite whites, but you should all try to read these items:

  • Charles C. Bolton, Poor whites of the antebellum South: tenants and labourers in central North Carolina and northeast Mississippi
  • Stephanie McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds: yeoman households, gender relations, and the political culture of the antebellum South Carolina lowcountry.
  • Susanna Delfino and Gillespie, Michele (eds), Neither lady nor slave: working women of the old south
  • E. Genovese, 'Yeoman farmers in a slaveholders democracy', Ag. Hist, XLIX, (1975), 331-342.
  • J. William Harris, Plain folk and gentry in a slave society
  • J. Wayne Flynt, Dixie's forgotten people: the South's poor whites.
  • Frank Lawrence Owsley, Plain folk of the old South. 
  • Samuel Hyde (Ed), Plain Folk of the South Revisited