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Three American Frontiers

Three American Frontiers: Writings of Thomas D. Clark

Edited with an introduction by HOLMAN HAMILTON
Copyright Date: 1968
Pages: 360
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130hzcb
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  • Book Info
    Three American Frontiers
    Book Description:

    The casual and the serious of American history -- fiddlers, yarn spinners, and riverboat gamblers, politicians, educators, and social reformers -- have all concerned Thomas D. Clark, celebrated historian of the Western frontier and the changing South.Three American Frontiers, a volume of his selected writings, draws from works produced throughout Clark's long career as a writer, teacher, and lecturer on the frontier West, social change in the South, and the cutting-edge of historical research.

    An avid researcher and a tenacious collector of original materials, Clark looks to the everyday items like the record book of a country store, the file of a small-town newspaper, or the diary of a young Gold Rusher for aids to the analysis of larger trends in history. Holman Hamilton conveys Clark's unique approach to his material and his enthusiasm for the common man in America's past.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6242-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. vii-xxviii)
    Holman Hamilton

    The North Central Hills section of the State of Mississippi isterra incognitato most Americans. Even the nomenclature is misleading, for much of the section is east central rather than north central—and the hills have little altitude. It was the fortune of Thomas D. Clark to be born and reared in this area of challenging economic conditions, remoteness from urban advantages, horse-and-buggy and mule-and-wagon transportation, no rural electrification, low hills, hard work, and cotton. Fortune? A person who has not met a man like Tom Clark, and never sized up Clark himself, might superficially conclude that it was...

  4. I. THE FRONTIER WEST AND SOUTH

    • CHAPTER ONE WESTWARD EXPANSION
      (pp. 3-27)

      THE SOCIAL MEANING OF THE FRONTIER FRONTIER expansion in America closely resembled the roll of the sea. It broke, billowed and eddied against the various physical and social barriers which it encountered. The pattern of expansion was never uniform over any considerable geographical area, nor within any large segmented part of the more localized social organization. The movement bore telltale marks of the traditional origins of peoples and institutions—the flavor and coloration of the peculiar traditions of continental Europe, England, and the eastern Atlantic Coast. The frontier path was strewn, like that of a vast glacier, with the remains...

    • CHAPTER TWO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FRONTIER COMMUNITY
      (pp. 28-83)

      MARRIAGE AND THE HOUSEHOLD Three moments in frontier life created excitement. These were birth, marriage, and death. The first of these was more momentous to the person being born than to his family and neighbors, except that his presence swelled the population. Not so the latter two. A marriage, unless it was a hasty affair, was most often a happy community occasion involving quiltings, house-raisings and warmings, a wedding party, a dance, an infare—all of them offering excuse for entertainment to the community. No set formula was followed in marriage since conditions varied with place and circumstance. Both the...

    • CHAPTER THREE THE FLAVORFUL FRONTIER LIFE
      (pp. 84-130)

      KENTUCKY SOCIETY Early Kentuckians were a simple-living, conscientious people, among whom crimes received immediate punishment. Men away on campaigns were scrupulous in moral conduct. Thievery was an abomination to the frontiersman’s soul and reputation . . . . Often thieves were chastised with the “Law of Moses,” or forty lashes, and petty criminals were disciplined by application of the “United States Flag,” or thirteen stripes. Individuals guilty of horse thievery were punished with death. This crime was a capital offense because it deprived a man of his livelihood and sometimes his means of escape from danger. Gossipy women were permitted...

  5. II. THE FRONTIER OF SOCIAL CHANGE

    • CHAPTER FOUR SOUTHERN BURDENS
      (pp. 133-173)

      THE SOUTHERN MIND IN THRALLDOM The influence of superstition and common folk belief upon the Southern mind is great when measured over a period of five decades. It is difficult to estimate the influence of the newspaper in fostering beliefs of all sort. Much preposterous material was certainly disseminated by the press. The formal editorial attitude was of little actual consequence so long as the papers continued to offer this sort of story. Inadequately schooled readers lacked the discernment to distinguish truth from legend. To them the printed word was gospel, and they were not equipped to detect facetiousness or...

    • CHAPTER FIVE CHANGING PATTERNS OF RACE RELATIONS
      (pp. 174-205)

      UNCLE TOM, GOOD NIGHT Pioneering in the backwoods offered a new challenge to slavery, and the Negro proved himself an excellent frontiersman. Many a vast cleared area in central Kentucky still documents this fact. Slaves chopped down the heavy timber, helped build the cabins, planted crops, and performed a thousand and one laborious tasks which had to do with settling people on the western waters. . . .

      Slavery nevertheless early became a heavy social stone about Kentucky’s neck. From the beginning of settlement there were those who suffered aching consciences because of the anachronism of the system in a...

    • CHAPTER SIX INDUSTRIALIZATION AND MODERNIZATION
      (pp. 206-258)

      THE BURDEN GROWS LIGHTER Southerners are not what they used to be. Pick one out at random and he is stronger and more virile than his grandfather was. By modem American military standards of physical, mental, and moral fitness, however, more than half of the Johnny Rebs who shelled the woods at Shiloh, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, or stood with Pemberton at Vicksburg, might have been kept at home as 4F’s. No one can say just how much pellagra and hookworm helped to sustain the Union .... Malaria fought on both sides ....

      Whenever southern land touched blue water, there was...

  6. III. THE FRONTIER OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH

    • CHAPTER SEVEN A SCHOLAR’S APPROACH TO HISTORY
      (pp. 261-328)

      RESEARCH POSSIBILITIES IN SOUTHERN HISTORY Two committees of the Southern Historical Association have discussed problems of research in southern history. The first of these committees was appointed in 1944 to outline possibilities for a general co-operative undertaking and to survey opportunities for securing funds to promote studies in selected fields. Possibly the most definite suggestions which came from this original committee were two proposals that bibliographical studies be undertaken. The first suggestion was that a regional inventory of published sources should be made. A secondary plan was to encourage the compilation of state bibliographies. In continued discussions material objection was...

  7. INDEX OF MAIN TOPICS
    (pp. 329-330)