Civil War and Reconstruction Era Cass/Bartow County, Georgia
Type of DegreeDissertation
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A "white men’s democracy" profoundly shaped aspects of pre-industrial Cass/Bartow County, Georgia’s social, economic, and political landscape. Following the removal of the Cherokee from northwest Georgia, white settlers predominately from western South Carolina and select East Georgia counties and their black slaves transferred their existing bi-racial society to one of the last frontiers remaining in southern Appalachia. During the antebellum period, locals, black and white, rich and poor, male and female, interacted to varying degrees due to their gender, race, and wealth in a variety of social, cultural, and political institutions and organizations that, at least from the perspective of the county’s white males, fostered bonds of communal loyalty and charity that reinforced the existing white men’s democracy. The Civil War challenged the existing white men’s democracy. Internally, questions concerning the timing of secession, military recruitment, and Confederate governmental intrusions combined with a growing divide between the home front and front line to foster intense bouts of war weariness. War weariness dampened Confederate nationalism locally but it was not until the 1864 Atlanta Campaign that local support for the war effort collapsed. Ultimately, a combination of internal and external pressures defeated local residents and the Confederacy. During Reconstruction, local residents concerned themselves with reforming their tattered communities. Freedpeople enjoyed some of the liberties that emancipation brought yet due to hostile whites, ineffective federal programs, and intra-racial dissension many fell victim to the post-bellum rebuilding process. Many whites saw themselves as victims of the war, emancipation, and divine intervention.