re expected to wear beautiful gowns rich in cloth and engage in gentile activities that didn’t stress them too much or place them in the harsh sun for excessive periods of time. Black people were barely considered at all and were, at best, seen in the background the scenes in one’s head, with a serving tray or assisting a woman with her dressing rituals. Even when daily life did not match up with these ideals, the belief was that they were working toward them and that the Southerner was the final champion of the highest ethical standards known to man. However, very few of these ideals were actually true. While there were numerous planters that may have fallen within these parameters, they were only able to do so by exploiting the people around them. The South survived on the backs of its women and slaves in a way that it rarely acknowledged openly, introducing a tremendous paradox between how they saw themselves as compared to how they really lived. This is most easily understood in the stories of the ‘servant’ members of this society, the women and slaves/former slaves.
Following the end of the Civil War, the United States went into a period of rebuilding and redefinition in many respects. One of the ideas that developed during this period among the middle class of the country was the idea of women as the center of the home. Scholarship on this issue brings into focus some of the issues of class and reproduction women faced during the antebellum period. Through the virtues of piety, purity and submissiveness, the woman was defined first as a pious and pure daughter and sister and then as a submissive wife within the confines of the male protector, making her suitable only for a domestic role. Her prime motive following marriage was to provide for the hearth, meaning food, clothing, children and all that was necessary for the continuance of the family line. When it came to marriage and having children, it was said “Let no caprice or ...
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(Honor, Virtue, and the Paradox of the Old South (Antebellum Period and Essay)
“Honor, Virtue, and the Paradox of the Old South (Antebellum Period and Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/miscellaneous/390158-honor-virtue-and-the-paradox-of-the-old-south-antebellum-period-and-most-specifically-1800-to-1864.
Slavery was demonstrated in a variety of forms, but the actual concepts underlying it were the same always. Being a slave meant that you are a property to someone, who could use you in any way he/she liked. Blacks automatically became slaves by virtue of being black and their status of being properties were forced on them through violence or threats (Hunter 73).
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