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Becoming BourgeoisMerchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865$
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Frank J. Byrne

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780813124049

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813124049.001.0001

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The Merchant Family in the Antebellum South

The Merchant Family in the Antebellum South

(p.77) 3 The Merchant Family in the Antebellum South
Becoming Bourgeois

Frank J. Byrne

University Press of Kentucky

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

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