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Marriage on the BorderLove, Mutuality, and Divorce in the Upper South during the Civil War$
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Allison Dorothy Fredette

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813179155

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813179155.001.0001

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Stability in the Face of Great Distress

Stability in the Face of Great Distress

(p.150) 6 Stability in the Face of Great Distress
Marriage on the Border

Allison Dorothy Fredette

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter addresses the impact of emancipation on white marriages in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia during the first eight years following the Civil War, arguing that black emancipation’s effect on white border gender roles was muted by the region’s hybrid culture and antebellum experiences. More specifically, postbellum Kentuckians’ and West Virginians’ rhetoric and motivations for separation remained consistent with their antebellum cases, reflecting a continued desire for mutuality and individualism in their relationships, while Virginians decried the breakdown of racial mastery, connected it with potential disruptions to their hierarchical households, and demanded obedience and loyalty from both former slaves and spouses.

Keywords:   Emancipation, Divorce, Reconstruction, Law, Marriage, South, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia

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