The Merchant Family in the Antebellum South

Frank J. Byrne

in Becoming Bourgeois

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780813124049
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813134857 | DOI:
The Merchant Family in the Antebellum South

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This chapter describes the characteristics of the merchant family in the antebellum American South. It explains that the family was the center of southern merchant culture and the ties between husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister provided the ultimate foundation for merchant values. The dynamics of all nineteenth-century white families incorporated varying degrees of affection, materialism, paternalism, and racism, but the peculiar blend of these qualities within the merchant family made it unique. The merchant family not only exhibited characteristics similar to those of both the yeoman and planter classes; its values spanned the growing sectional divide of antebellum America.

Keywords: merchant family; antebellum South; American South; merchant culture; family values; materialism; paternalism; racism

Chapter.  17962 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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