Masters and Lords
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Masters and Lords : Mid-Nineteenth-Century US Planters and Prussian Junkers

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Among the regional landed elites in the Western World of the mid-1800s, the two most formidable were the owners of slave plantations in the Southern states of the U.S. and the proprietors of manorial estates in the provinces of Prussian East Elbia. Masters and Lords surveys the economic, social, and political histories of the two classes from the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries respectively, and pays particular attention to planters during the secession crisis of 1860-61 and to Junkers during the revolutionary crisis of 1848-49. In the process, Bowman grapples with such ambiguous and contentious concepts as capitalism, conservatism, and paternalism. Despite very different labor systems, antebellum planters and contemporaneous Junkers alike presided over landed estates that functioned as both autocratic political communities and agricultural enterprises exporting valuable commodities to industrializing England. This book also highlights important geographic, demographic, and political contrasts between the South and East Elbia as regional societies. Bowman concludes that the crucial distinction between the two landed elites is to be found in the Junkers' militarist and estatist monarchism versus the planters' libertarian but racist republicanism.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 372 pages
  • 228.6 x 228.6 x 152.4mm | 617.08g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 2 halftones, 2 maps
  • 0195052811
  • 9780195052817

Back cover copy

Among regional landed elites in the Western World of the mid-1800s, the two most formidable were the owners of slave plantations in the Southern states of the U.S. and the proprietors of manorial estates in the provinces of Prussian East Elbia. Masters and Lords surveys the economic, social, and political histories of the two classes from the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries respectively, and pays particular attention to Southern planters during the secession crisis of 1860-61 and to Junkers during the revolutionary crisis of 1848-49. In the process, Bowman grapples with such ambiguous and contentious concepts as capitalism, conservatism, and paternalism. Despite very different labor systems, antebellum planters and contemporaneous Junkers alike presided over landed estates that functioned as both autocratic political communities and agricultural enterprises exporting valuable commodities to industrializing England. This book also highlights important geographic, demographic, and political contrasts between the American South and East Elbia as regional societies. Bowman concludes that the crucial distinction between the two landed elites is to be found in the Junkers' militarist and estatist monarchism versus the planters' libertarian but racist republicanism. A compelling work in comparative history, Masters and Lords will appeal to all those interested in Southern history, European history, agricultural history, and slavery.show more

Review quote

this is comparative history of the best sort ... Combining innovative verve and simple good sense, it is considerably more sophisticated than the tired old 'compare and contrast' approach ... It will ... prompt fruitful reflection among newcomers and specialists in both fields. * James Retallack, The University of Toronto, German History, Vol. 14, No. 1, '96 * William L Barney of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a leading authority on the antebellum South and secession said he was "enormously impressed with the depth and range of the research" in the book. He praises Bowman for the "care and precision with which [he] presents the case for comparative history and elineates his understanding of such ideologically explosive issues as modernization, class and capitalism" and finds Bowman's conclusion to be "judicious and well-documented."show more

Rating details

9 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 22% (2)
4 44% (4)
3 22% (2)
2 11% (1)
1 0% (0)
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