Honor and Violence Book Review

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Don Hill

Wyatt-Brown, Bertam, HONOR AND VIOLENCE IN THE OLD SOUTH, Oxford University, New York, 1986 (1). More attention should be paid to the honor and violence in America prior to the Civil War. The book reviewed is the Honor and Violence in the old South. Wyatt-Brown defined honor as the inner conviction of self-worth, the claim of that self-assessment before the public, and the assessment of the claim by the public, a judgement based upon the behavior of the claimant (2). In other words, honor is reputation and society status. (3). Wyatt-Brown states Honor is ingrained in the Southern culture and that the white southerners, prior Civil War, adhered to a moral code that is called the rule of honor. The Europeans started the honor code long before coming to America. Wyatt-Brown uses a person a white teenage boy name James to present Honor in his Uncles life from Nathaniel Hawthorne book titled "My Kinsman, Major Molineux". James and Major Molineux are cousins. James travels the Major hometown locate Major. James encounters several town white persons that have traditional honor and shame to white southern citizens in the slave states. These Southerners saw them as means of holding fast to the social order that they so deeply cherished. It was threat of honor lost, no less than slavery, that led them to secession and war. In analysis of this book, Wyatt-Brown book states that the southernern whites believed and conducted their daily lives mostly in ruling slaves. I agree with the author that is how the southerners lived. After the civil war, the slaves were given their freedom. I was surprised on the level of Violence against their wives, and slaves. I understand through history that violence such as beating were use against the slaves, but surprised that some men got away with wife killings and the law ignored these crimes. In summary, The author Wyatt-Brown provided a lot of detail on Honor. Plus...
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