The Antebellum South

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Though the history of the South often catches the attention of conversation, it is not as likely for the poor folk of the South to be mentioned and thought about. Those who were considered to be the construction of the South are mostly the affluent, but it should not be forgotten that those who were poor had a story as well. There was a struggle they faced just as real as the great lives the rich held. Though the poor were overlooked most days, they truly helped build America to what it is today. Without them, America wouldn’t have the depth it has today. For these poor folks of the antebellum South lead lives that were far more challenging that those we learn about in the history books today. The poor folks of the antebellum South moved around …show more content…

Relocating made it difficult for the poor to find jobs. Edward speaks of having jobs, but moving out because of fights and dangerous situations he finds himself in. He tells about a fight at one of his jobs where he was hit with a board, and “they swore vengeance on me and whenever the boat came to town I would leave to avoid them”(3). In addition to moving around because of the lack of jobs, some poor folk of the antebellum South had to move because they found themselves in trouble with the law. Edward expresses that “there were warrants out for me and I fled”(3). Because of the harsh conditions the poor people found themselves in, it was all too easy to fall in with the wrong crowds. The poor of the antebellum South fled sometimes because they did things to people out of desperation. For example, a man tries to claim the place Edward was working and soon found himself in a bad situation. He overhears the man wants to kill him. Edward sees the man approaching with a gun to come for him, and Edward ends up hitting him with the rock in his pocket (5). Since people in the South were faced with situations of desperation on a daily basis, brawls were …show more content…

Often people carried weapons around with them to give them an advantage in fights. Edward concurs when he mentions Smith having a bowie knife beside him while gambling, as if having a weapon is just a way of life (7). There are mentions of knives, guns, and even rocks being carried around for protection. Edward references using a knife to give himself an advantage many times. It however seems more often a rock is carried or used because of the abundance of rocks in any given area. Edward finds himself being hit with rocks and sticks as he pursued Old Black (7). Though rocks and sticks are commonly found, we can see that it doesn’t keep them from being just as effective as some other weapons. Sometimes fights take place just to prove who has the upper hand. Edward explains that “I was at Brown’s grocery store one day and an Irishman wanted to bet five dollars he could whip any man in town”(5). This example alone validates that sometimes people get into fights just to prove that they are not to be messed with. The poor folk in the antebellum South may have done this as a way to help protect themselves. When someone proves that they are a force to be reckoned with, it usually makes people think long and hard before agreeing to fight them. Edward speaks about police not making an effort to arrest him because people were afraid of him (2). However, on the flip side the poor folk felt a need to

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