The Undiscovered Country: Northern Views of the Defeated South and the Political Background of the Fourteenth Amendment

18 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2014  

Garrett Epps

University of Baltimore School of Law

Date Written: Spring 2004

Abstract

In 1866, Harper's Weekly announced a new series of woodcuts of Southern life with the remark, "[t]o us the late Slave States seem almost like a newly discovered country." It is difficult for Americans in the Twenty-First Century, in a culture of cable news coverage and national newspapers, to appreciate just how mysterious the former Confederacy seemed to Northerners in the months after Appomattox. It was not simply that four years of war had made communication between the two halves of the nation difficult - though that was true, and both Northern and Southern society had changed during the searing years of war in ways that people in the other region could hardly imagine. More important was the brute historical fact that there had not been a nation before 1861. The North and South had always been separate societies, socially incompatible, culturally different, and mutually incomprehensible. Now, for the first time, the two halves were to become part of one whole, and Northerners found themselves wondering what their new countrymen were like, and how they planned to behave in the new nation forged by war.

Keywords: slave states, civil war, Confederacy, Northerners, South, North, Reconstruction, Fourteenth Amendment, former slaves, Southern society

JEL Classification: N41, N31, N81, J19, K39, K49

Suggested Citation

Epps, Garrett, The Undiscovered Country: Northern Views of the Defeated South and the Political Background of the Fourteenth Amendment (Spring 2004). Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, Spring 2004, pp. 411-428.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2506070 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2506070

Garrett Epps (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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