Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tennessee Attitudes toward Slavery

Responding to a questionnaire sent out by the Tennessee historical committee in 1922, an aging Confederate veteran demonstrated intense class resentment. His father, Joseph Larkins, had owned 100 acres of Dixon County Land but no slaves.

"He did not lik[e] the slave owners," the son reported, "the slaveholders thought they wer[e] Better than the Poor People." The old soldier continued: "My father would not vote for a man that owned Slaves nor would he have anything to do with them." [footnote: SP Larkins, Civil War Veterans Questionnaire (Tennessee State library and archives, Nashville, Tenn.)]

Such candid observations appear frequently in a unique and often overlooked collection of documents known as the Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaires.

Fred A Bailey, “Class and Tennessee's Confederate Generation,” The Journal Of Southern History Volume LI, No.1 (February 1985): 31.

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