Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie

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9780826208545: Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie
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Although Missouri has strong cultural ties to the Upper South and major economic links to the Deep South, most historians have focused their agricultural studies on states other than Missouri. In Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie, Douglas Hurt provides the first systematic study of agriculture and rural life in one of the most vital sections of Missouri prior to the Civil War.
This seven-county area along the Missouri River known as Little Dixie was the most important hemp-, tobacco-, and live-stock-producing region of the state, as well as a major slaveholding area. The people who settled Little Dixie had emigrated primarily from Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. They brought southern culture with them and adapted it to their new environment economically, socially, and politically.
Although the settlers began as subsistence farmers, unlimited opportunities and access by river to New Orleans and St. Louis made commercial farming possible almost immediately. Hurt provides the reader with a broad discussion of land acquisition, settlement, and town development in the region. He surveys the major agricultural endeavors of the southerners who settled there, considering technological change, agricultural organization, breed improvement, and transportation. Hurt also traces the development of rural life, emphasizing the importance of religion, education, and mercantile activities.
Slavery permeated all aspects of society in Little Dixie. Hurt discusses the acquisition and sale of slaves, their management, and the political protection of slavery, and he relates the significance of slavery in Little Dixie to the Deep South. One of his most important findings concerns the extensive trade of slave children in Little Dixie. Farmers and planters, driven by the struggle for profit, supported both slavery and the Union. Consequently, political division in the state mirrored the national debate over slavery but also showed the uniqueness of Missouri, both geographically and culturally.
This book will prove useful for anyone interested in American agricultural history, the economic and social history of the Upper South, and Missouri. Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie provides a much-needed overview of the region's past.

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Hurt, R. Douglas
Published by Univ of Missouri Pr (1992)
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