This book is the trade edition of Volume IX of A History of the South, a ten-volume series designed to present a thoroughly balanced history of all the complex aspects of the South's culture from 1607 to the present. Like its companion volumes, Origins of the New South is written by an outstanding student of Southern history.
What we persist in calling the New South is no longer new. It is three quarters of a century old - older than the age attained by any of the three dramatic phases of Southern history that preceded it. The ante-bellum Cotton Kingdom spanned little more than a generation, and the Confederate South and the Reconstruction South were even briefer experiments.
By comparison with the work of the Redeemers, who founded the New Order, the work of the ante-bellum planters, the Confederate nationalists, and the Carpetbagger radicals seems ephemeral indeed. Although it was the Redeemers who laid the foundations of the modern South, they and the order they established have received comparatively little attention from the historians.
It is the purpose of this book to examine the foundations of the New Order of the present South that was constructed on the ruins of the several orders of the past. In this period reunion was achieved, new compromises of old sectional disputes were reached, a new system of caste was established, and a new economy was painfully constructed. Henry James once called it "the social revolution" that was "the most unrecorded and undepicted, in proportion to its magnitude, that ever was."