slave4 - Summary of Argument Modernity in the United States...

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4 Summary of Argument: Modernity in the United States Context Much of the debate over the difference slavery made in the United States has been framed by the work of Eugene Genovese, who has explained the South as a pre-modern, pre- capitalist region where dominant planter elites enveloped society, economy, and politics. "Planter hegemony" set the South apart and explained the inevitable war with the North over slavery. Genovese put the master-slave relationship at the center of his argument about the South, arguing that it determined class and social relations, as well as ideology, law, political expression, and nearly every facet of southern life. The South, according to Genovese, was sharply different from the North, but not so different from other pre-modern societies in history. (Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll; Genovese, "Yeoman Farmers"; Genovese, The Slaveholders' Dilemma) James M. McPherson has also put slavery at the center of the conflict, the system "underlying all" of the differences between North and South. For McPherson, the North and South took divergent paths of economic development and their differences far outweighed their similarities. Slavery was at the heart of the difference between the sections, according to these scholars, but the difference it made was in the form of a fork in the road taken long ago.
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