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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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| I Represent the War

| I Represent the War

(p.147) 5 | I Represent the War
Plain Folk's Fight

Mark V. Wetherington

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the nationalism of Georgia's white plain folk during the Civil War that began in 1861 by helping defend the Confederacy against the Yankees, whom they believed would overturn the white Southern construction of manhood based in part on racial slavery. It considers the plain folk's claims of representing the war, stirred by “strong emotions of patriotism” for Southern nationhood. It also analyzes the multiple meanings of the statement “I represent the war,” particularly with respect to interpreting the home front as a world of women and slaves. More specifically, it considers the home-front image of soldiers' fathers as well as the duality represented by soldiers' wives and mothers, on the one hand, and soldiers' fathers, on the other. It also highlights the soldiers' struggle to balance the competing demands of battlefront and home front. Finally, the chapter explores how Southern white women exercised growing political influence during the secession crisis and showed increasing support for the Confederacy as war neared in 1861.

Keywords:   nationalism, Georgia, plain folk, Civil War, Confederacy, slavery, women, soldiers, battlefront, secession

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