Matthew Morse Booker: Who Should Be Responsible for Food Safety?

Today we welcome a guest post from Matthew Morse Booker, co-editor (with Charles C. Ludington) of Food Fights: How History Matters to Contemporary Food Debates, available now from UNC Press. What we eat, where it is from, and how it is produced are vital questions in today’s America. We think seriously about food because it… Continue Reading Matthew Morse Booker: Who Should Be Responsible for Food Safety?

R. Douglas Hurt on Agriculture and Confederate Power

A lesser known failure of the Confederacy, however, involved agriculture. In 1861, Southerners considered agriculture an element of power similar to military power, which, combined, would guarantee secession and independence. They were confident that not only would Union armies not prevail but also that their own agricultural capability would prevent the Union from starving the Confederacy into submission. Southerners could fight, feed themselves, and use cotton as a diplomatic tool–assumptions that in the minds of many already made the Confederacy independent. Continue Reading R. Douglas Hurt on Agriculture and Confederate Power

Adam Wesley Dean on an Industrial North and an Agricultural South

Of the North’s population, over 14.5 million lived in rural areas with a population of less than 2,500, while only 5 million lived in what any reasonable person could call an “urban society.” Roughly 60% of northerners worked on farms. Most farms were small, with the average varying between 113 and 169 acres in the states that stayed loyal to the union. The vast majority of historians and museums have long known these figures and their implications for understanding the war. Why, then, does the state board of education cling to the old story? Perhaps the public feels at ease in labeling the slave-holding Confederacy as something distant, something foreign, a relic of a bygone era, rather than a society in many ways just as capitalist and worldly as our own. Continue Reading Adam Wesley Dean on an Industrial North and an Agricultural South