phrase "southern way of life" in any use other than for white supremacy?

carole w. troxler's picture

I am looking for any usage of this phrase that does NOT imply white supremacy (if it exists). I don't mean references to "southern" attributes that derive from white supremacy. In particular, does anyone know of pre-1850 usage of "southern way of life" that was not a prop for slavery or white supremacy? I became aware of it in the 1960s as code for segregation/white supremacy, but I need to know of any prior and DIFFERENT uses. Thanks.

Though it does not match your question perfectly, I am working my way through a memoir now that has some interesting conceptions of the "Southern way of life." It was written by R.S. Tharin, a one time law partner of William L. Yancey, and a self-described "Alabama refugee." According to Tharin, he was run out of Montgomery in 1861 for his support of the Alabama Constitution which outlined a strict loyalty to the union, amongst other things. He found refuge in Cincinnati, Ohio surrounded by Abolitionists one of whom told him he ought to be beaten for his lack of sympathy for that cause.

During the course of his discussion of "the damn radicals" in the North, and the rich planters in the south who care only for "King Cotton" and nothing for their fellow southerners, there is a great deal of discussion about "southerness," southern living, and southern rights (which does not, include the right to secede for Tharin) that may help inform your research. You can find the entire book online at Google books. The full title is "Arbitrary Arrests in the South or Scenes from the Experience of an Alabama Unionist." It was published in 1863 by John Bradburn in New York. Harvard has an original copy. I hope this is useful for you.
Susannah Deily-Swearingen
University of New Hampshire