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Plain Folk's FightThe Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia$
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Mark V. Wetherington

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780807829639

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877043_wetherington

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Into a Revolution

Into a Revolution

(p.45) 2 Into a Revolution
Plain Folk's Fight

Mark V. Wetherington

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the most important referendum in Georgia's history and how plain folk and planters voted: the selection of delegates to the secession convention on January 2, 1861. According to Jacksonville lawyer and unionist William Paine, the plain folk who bothered to vote were in a “predicament” for pulling Georgia out of the Union. At the time, piney woods Georgia was already a disunionist region. The ballots cast by lower river white men reflected a gradual shift in political identity that accompanied the region's economic transformation in the 1850s. Instead of voting as a homogeneous block of unionists, plain folk weighed their choices and gave secessionists a slim majority. The chapter also describes the interrelationships between home, politics, and slavery in the region that opened the prosperous but tumultuous 1850s. It shows that backwoods plain folk advocated unionism, democracy, and white supremacy by forming a political alliance with small and middling lower river planters and Primitive Baptists.

Keywords:   plain folk, planters, Georgia, secession, Union, politics, slavery, white supremacy, Primitive Baptists, referendum

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