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Writing ReconstructionRace, Gender, and Citizenship in the Postwar South$
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Sharon D. Kennedy-Nolle

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469621074

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621074.001.0001

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Constance Fenimore Woolson and the Tourist Outback of Florida

Constance Fenimore Woolson and the Tourist Outback of Florida

(p.25) Chapter 1 Constance Fenimore Woolson and the Tourist Outback of Florida
Writing Reconstruction

Sharon D. Kennedy-Nolle

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the work of Constance Fenimore Woolson, who imagined freedpeople, particularly freedwomen, as successful citizens in an ethnically diverse America. Her writings contributed to the ongoing debates over the definition of citizenship, the meaning of freedom, and the fate of the free-labor ideology. Additionally, her magazine articles helped foster the rise of a consumer culture, transforming the military district of Eastern Florida into a tourist paradise for her fellow northerners. The chapter analyzes three key strategies which Woolson used in her writing. First, her travel sketches relocated national origin myths from New England to the ancient cities of Florida, taking advantage of the state’s varied colonial history. Secondly, she mainly wrote about the freedpeople and recognized their rightful place in Florida’s cultural, political, and economic life. Lastly, Woolson substituted a work ethic suitable to Florida’s challenging climate and landscape for the northern, gendered work ethic.

Keywords:   Constance Fenimore Woolson, freedpeople, citizenship, freedom, free-labor, consumer culture, Eastern Florida, military district, travel sketch

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