White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America - Chapter 6: Pedigree and Poor White Trash: Bad Blood,Half-Breeds, and Clay-Eaters Summary & Analysis

Nancy Isenberg
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Summary

In the years leading up to the American Civil War, the class demographic of the nation was in a state of flux. The term squatter was still prevalent in common dialogue, but now he was strictly a “creature” (206) of the southern states. The terms cracker and squatter were replaced with clay-eaters, sandhillers, and white trash. Regardless of what they were called, they embodied the same distinct breed of poor rural whites. The idea that whites constituted their own breed or race was prevalent in pre-Civil War society. Isenberg points out clear differences in the way the North and South each view and categorize the nation’s large poor white populations. The North viewed poor white southerners as proof of “the debilitating effects of slavery on free labor” (208). In contrast, the South retained the ideology...

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This section contains 1,152 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America Study Guide
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