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Engines of RedemptionRailroads and the Reconstruction of Capitalism in the New South$
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R. Scott Jr. Huffard

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469652818

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469652818.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Introduction

Introduction

A System Grand and Harmonious

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Engines of Redemption
Author(s):

R. Scott Huffard Jr.

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469652818.003.0001

The introduction starts by discussing how the railroad embodied nineteenth century capitalism and it notes how the book looks at the South’s railroads as a cohesive network that connected the South through a capitalist means. It also sets the scene by describing how the South was in transition after the Civil War and Reconstruction and how the white elites in the region were seeking to reconstruct capitalism. The railroad was a powerful symbol and an economic engine of change that allowed these boosters to proclaim that a New South had risen. But the railroad’s link with progress obscured the anxieties and monsters that it generated, and the introduction introduces counter narratives to the New South story that later chapters discuss. The book argues that railroads were uniquely destructive in the region and that white elites and railroad companies exploited the region’s racial tensions to obscure these anxieties.

Keywords:   Railroads, Capitalism, Reconstruction, New South, Narrative

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