Offers insights into important facets of Alabama’s ante-bellum history
Ante-Bellum Alabama: Town and Country was written to give the reader insight into important facets of Alabama’s ante-bellum history. Presented in the form of case studies from the pre-Civil War period, the book deals with a city, a town, a planter’s family, rural social life, attitudes concerning race, and Alabama’s early agricultural and industrial development.
Ante-bellum Alabama’s primary interest was agriculture; the chief crop was King Cotton; and most of the people were agriculturalists. Towns and cities came into existence to supply the agricultural needs of the state and to process and distribute farm commodities. Similarly, Alabama’s industrial development began with the manufacture of implements for farm use, in response to the state’s agricultural needs. Rural-agriculture influences dominated the American scene; and in this respect Alabama was typical of her region as well as of most of the United States.
“This volume gives evidence of many years of careful research and reflection. It is a sound study of the influence of the landowning southern aristocracy in state and national affairs. Members of the Clay family, like many others of the antebellum period, combined law, agriculture, and politics. They lived the ‘good life’ of the planter class and struggled to defend what they considered southern rights. The Clement C. Clays, father and son, both distinguished themselves in the U.S. Senate [and] the latter also served in the Confederate Senate.”--Mississippi Valley Historical Review
“The history of one of Alabama’s most distinguished families. . . . The author succeeds in the difficult task of making the past come alive again, and she does it by the skillful employment of a multitudinous number of sources.”--Alabama Review
An illustrated guidebook documenting the history and sites of the state’s origins
Alabama’s territorial and early statehood years represent a crucial formative period in its past, a time in which the state both literally and figuratively took shape. The story of the remarkable changes that occurred within Alabama as it transitioned from frontier territory to a vital part of the American union in less than a quarter century is one of the most compelling in the state’s past. This history is rich with stories of charismatic leaders, rugged frontiersmen, a dramatic and pivotal war that shaped the state’s trajectory, raging political intrigue, and pervasive sectional rivalry.
Many of Alabama’s modern cities, counties, and religious, educational, and governmental institutions first took shape within this time period. It also gave way to the creation of sophisticated trade and communication networks, the first large-scale cultivation of cotton, and the advent of the steamboat. Contained within this story of growth and innovation is a parallel story, the dispossession of Native groups of their lands and the forced labor of slaves, which fueled much of Alabama’s early development.
Early Alabama: An Illustrated Guide to the Formative Years, 1798–1826 serves as a traveler’s guidebook with a fast-paced narrative that traces Alabama’s developmental years. Despite the great significance of this era in the state’s overall growth, these years are perhaps the least understood in all of the state’s history and have received relatively scant attention from historians. Mike Bunn has created a detailed guide—appealing to historians and the general public—for touring historic sites and structures including selected homes, churches, businesses, government buildings, battlefields, cemeteries, and museums..
The Federal Road was a major influence in settlement of the Mississippi Territory during the period between the Louisiana Purchase and removal of the Creek Indians. Histories of early Alabama covering this period are replete with references to isolated incidents along the Federal Road but heretofore no documented history drawn from original sources has been published.
Authors Southerland and Brown have explored many scattered and often obscure sources in order to produce this fascinating, informative account of the impact of the Federal Road on the timing, shape, and settlement of the lower South. What started as a postal horsepath through a malaria-infested wilderness occupied by Indians was widened into a military road for use during the War of 1812 and became a primary thoroughfare for pioneers. The accessibility to Indian land provided by the road was a principal cause of the Creek Indian War of 1813-1814; moreover, it expedited the exodus of the Creek Indians and permitted English-speaking settlers to enter western Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. This history of the Federal Road, describing its birth of necessity to fulfill an essential need, its short and useful service life, and its demise, opens a new window onto our past and reveals a historical period that, although now almost faded into oblivion, still affects our daily lives. This illumination of the life of the Federal Road will help present-day inhabitants appreciate how we came to be where we are today.
The Formative Period in Alabama, 1815-1828 is a beautifully crafted history of the evolution of the state written by Thomas Perkins Abernethy in 1922. The work shows how Alabama grew out of the Mississippi Territory and discusses the economic and political development during the years just before and just after Alabama became a state.
Abernethy’s story begins when Alabama existed as the eastern part of the Mississippi Territory, settled primarily by Cherokees, Choctaws, and Creeks, a few traders, and some brave but foolhardy “squatters” who thought to supplant the Indians and carve out a home for themselves and their descendants from Indian territory. Friction with the Creeks escalated into war and, with their defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the successful move began to wrest land from the Indians for white settlement. The availability of good land, the promise of transportation of goods along the waterways, and the opening of the Federal Road brought rapid population growth to an area blessed (and cursed) with forceful leaders. Abernethy describes in detail the political maneuverings and economic strangleholds that created territorial division and turmoil in the early days of Alabama’s statehood.
To understand Alabama history one must appreciate the impact of the failure of secession of the state in the subsequent half century as well as the causes for the success of the Civil Rights Movement in the state in the mid-twentieth century. The prophet of the first revolution was William Lowndes Yancey and the prophet of the second was Martin Luther King, Jr., two Southerners who set in motion forces that shaped American history beyond the borders of the state and region. In the years between their two lives Alabama changed dramatically.
These examples of outstanding scholarship were published in The Alabama Review over the past forty years and provide an overview of a century of change in Alabama. The first articles center of the Civil War and Reconstruction era, which left Alabama reeling in turmoil. The efforts of the Greenbackers, the Grange, the Alliance, and the Populists ended in frustration as the politics of pressure and intimidation prevailed for the half-century after the Civil War. White as well as black poor had not yet appreciated the political power of their numbers.
In the new century, progressives had a distinct sense that they could take on outside forces larger than themselves. National currents swept Alabama into movements for the regulation of railroads, women’s suffrage, child labor reform, and welfare capitalism. Still, progressive reform coexisted with the most frightening political and social movement of early twentieth-century Alabama, the Ku Klux Klan, whose blessing or curse made or broke the careers of powerful politicians.
The desperation of the Great Depression gave way to a revived sense that Alabamians could shape their world. Not only was this feeling new, but so were the politicians whose debut represented emergence of the poor determined to act in their own behalf. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was the first thunder of a social and political storm that would remake Alabama and the entire country.
There has been much scholarship on how the U.S. as a nation reacted to World War I, but few have explored how Alabama responded. Did the state follow the federal government’s lead in organizing its resources or did Alabamians devise their own solutions to unique problems they faced? How did the state’s cultural institutions and government react? What changes occurred in its economy and way of life? What, if any, were the long-term consequences in Alabama? The contributors to this volume address these questions and establish a base for further investigation of the state during this era.
David Alsobrook, Wilson Fallin Jr., Robert J. Jakeman, Dowe Littleton, Martin T. Olliff, Victoria E. Ott, Wesley P. Newton, Michael V. R. Thomason, Ruth Smith Truss, and Robert Saunders Jr.
This first book-length, annotated edition of Gaines' Reminiscences provides a fascinating glimpse into the early history of the Mississippi-Alabama Territory and antebellum Alabama.
The two sections of the Reminiscences of George Strother Gaines form one of the most important primary sources on the early history of
Alabama and Mississippi. The Reminiscences cover the years 1805 to 1843, during which time Gaines served as assistant factor and then factor of the Choctaw trading house (1805-18), cashier of Tombeckbee Bank in St. Stephens (1818-22), a merchant in Demopolis (1822-32), and finally a banker and merchant in Mobile (1832-43). In addition, Gaines played a key role in Indian-white relations during the Creek War of 1813-14, served a two-year term in the Alabama Senate (1825-27), led a Choctaw exploring party to the new Choctaw lands in the West following the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830-31), and served as the superintendent for Choctaw removal (1831-32).
Gaines dictated his Reminiscences in 1871 at the age of eighty-seven. Part of the Reminiscences, referred to as the "first series," was originally published in five issues of the Mobile Register in June-July 1872 as "Notes on the Early Days of South Alabama." Nearly a century later, the first series and the previously unpublished second series, "Reminiscences of Early Times in Mississippi Territory," were published in a 1964 issue of the Alabama Historical Quarterly as "Gaines' Reminiscences."
In this first book-length edition of the Reminiscences, James Pate has provided an extensive biographical introduction, notes, illustrations,
maps, and appendixes to aid the general reader and the scholar. The appendixes include additional unpublished primary materials-including interviews conducted by Albert James Pickett in 1847 and 1848 that provide further information about this important early pioneer and statesman.
Slavery in Alabama
James Benson Sellers University of Alabama Press, 1994 Library of Congress E445.A3S4 1994 | Dewey Decimal 976.100496
Since its initial publication in 1950, Slavery in Alabama remains the only comprehensive statewide study of the institution of slavery in Alabama. Sellers concentrates on examining the social and economic aspects of how slavery operated in the state. After a brief discussion of slavery under imperial rulers of the colonial and territorial periods, Sellers focuses on the transplantation of the slavery system from the Atlantic seaboard states to Alabama.
Sellers used the primary sources available to him, including government documents, county and city records, personal papers, church records, and newspapers. His discussions of the church and the slave, and his treatment of the proslavery defense, deepen the comprehensiveness of his study. His two sections of photographs are special touches showing former slaves and churches with slave galleries.
Taming Alabama focuses on persons and groups who sought to bring about reforms in the political, legal, and social worlds of Alabama. Most of the subjects of these essays accepted the fundamental values of nineteenth and early twentieth century white southern society; and all believed, or came to believe, in the transforming power of law. As a starting point in creating the groundwork of genuine civility and progress in the state, these reformers insisted on equal treatment and due process in elections, allocation of resources, and legal proceedings.
To an educator like Julia Tutwiler or a clergyman like James F. Smith, due process was a question of simple fairness or Christian principle. To lawyers like Benjamin F. Porter, Thomas Goode Jones, or Henry D. Clayton, devotion to due process was part of the true religion of the common law. To a former Populist radical like Joseph C. Manning, due process and a free ballot were requisites for the transformation of society.
The Very Worst Road contains sixteen contemporary accounts by travelers who reached Alabama along what was known as the “Old Federal Road,” more a network of paths than a single road, that ran from Columbus and points south in Georgia for more or less due west into central Alabama and to where the confluence of the Tallapoosa and Coosa Rivers forms the Alabama River.
These accounts deal candidly with the rather remarkable array of impediments that faced travelers in Alabama in its first decades as a state, and they describe with wonder, interest, and, frequently with some disgust, the road, the inns, the travelling companions, and the few and raw communities they encountered as they made their way, often with difficulty, through what seemed to many of them uncharted wilderness. The Very Worst Road was originally published by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission in 1998.
A fascinating time capsule, this classic guide captures Alabama at a critical moment in its history between the Great Depression and World War II and its aftermath.
The WPA guide to Alabama provides a unique snapshot of 1930s Alabama life and culture. Like the other state guides in the WPA's American Guide Series, it features essays on history, economy, people, folkways, education, and other characteristics of the state, as well as general information about the towns and cities. Fifteen suggested automobile tours encourage visitors and residents to explore every corner of the state, from the Gulf Coast to the Black Belt and the Tennessee Valley, from bayous to farmlands to mountain gorges.
When it was first published in 1941, the guide went far to dispel the myth of an Alabama consisting only of cotton fields, magnolias, and plantation houses by highlighting the vibrant university life in Tuscaloosa, the modern industrial activity in Birmingham, the informality of politics in Montgomery, the cultural diversity in Alabama's port city, Mobile, and the small town life in Huntsville before it became home to the space industry. The book includes a calendar of annual events, census data, and a wealth of information useful to the traveling public of the time and enlightening to readers today. The guide lists radio stations, buses, railroads, and highways as they existed before the advent of television, interstates, and malls.
Harvey Jackson's fascinating introduction assesses the guide as a historical document and recounts the involved and sometimes controversial process by which it was researched and written. Project directors struggled to make the guide palatable to its public while still addressing such issues as poverty and race relations and recognizing the state's diversity and its rich folk culture. The result makes for compelling reading for general readers and historians alike.