Honor and the Southern lady: The persitence of antebellum ideology among elite Southern women, 1820-1877

Joan Meyer, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Honor and the Southern Lady: The Persistence of Antebellum Ideology Among Elite Southern Women, 1820-1877 investigates whether the war permanently changed elite white women's legal, economic and social status, gender relations and race relations. Southern honor and slavery were the social and economic basis of the hierarchical order of antebellum Southern life affecting women's lives and worldview. The war forced elite women to assume a greater responsibility which resulted in a more independent self-image and in more difficult race relations. Southern life changed because of post-war economic deprivation and emancipation, but Southern culture, including its hierarchy, remained. Elite women's preceptions changed very little as a result of the war. Their status, gender relations and race relations remained relatively stable. Both primary and secondary sources have been examined. The bibliography includes a list of the diarists and historians relevant to the topic.