By Nicolas W. Proctor

The hunt, just like the church, courthouse, and kinfolk, performed an critical function in southern society and tradition throughout the antebellum period. despite colour or classification, southern males hunted. even though hunters constantly famous the tangible profits in their mission―meat, hides, furs―they extensively utilized the search to speak principles of gender, race, classification, masculinity, and neighborhood. looking was once greatly a social task, and for lots of white hunters it grew to become a drama during which they can reveal their ability for mastery over ladies, blacks, the flora and fauna, and their very own passions.

Nicolas Proctor argues in Bathed in Blood that simply because slaves often observed white hunters into the sphere, whites frequently believed that searching used to be a very powerful venue for the demonstration of white supremacy. Slaves interpreted such interactions fairly otherwise: they remained considering the goods of the quest and regarded the hard work played on the behest in their vendors as a chance to enhance their very own situation. no matter if obtained as a present from a white hunter or due to their very own independent―often illicit―efforts, online game supplied them with a big supplementary foodstuff resource, an merchandise for alternate, and a degree of autonomy. by means of sharing their important assets with different slaves, slave hunters additionally reinforced the bonds inside their very own group. In a society predicated upon the consistent degradation of African american citizens, such uncomplicated acts of generosity turned symbolic of resistance and had a cohesive impact on slave families.

Proctor forges a brand new figuring out of the importance of looking within the antebellum South via his analyses of a wealth of journal articles and personal papers, diaries, and correspondence.

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Extra resources for Bathed in Blood: Hunting and Mastery in the Old South

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As they explored the outdoors, they began experimenting with the simplest, most convenient, and least expensive aspects of the hunt—setting traps and training dogs. Bld FINAL 02(37-60)new  11/11/01 11:22 AM Page 40 Bathed in Blood Boys and dogs chase after a rabbit. From Charles Wilkins Webber, The HunterNaturalist: Romance of Sporting; or, Wild Scenes and Wild Hunters (Philadelphia, ), . 7 Although these gifts reassured many mothers that their boys were becoming men, they could not blunt the feeling of loss.

It was in many ways part of an attempt to overcome the egalitarian tenor that flowed from the leveling effect of universal white patriarchy and Jacksonian democracy. Drawn from the ranks of the elite, “sportsmen” deliberately shared few of the Bld FINAL 01(1-36) 11/9/01 6:24 AM Page 21 Game, Landscape, and the Law  characteristics of their poor white counterparts. Defined by their adherence to the rules of sport (as dictated by the sporting press), sportsmen transformed the hunt from a convenient source of meat and hides into a rarefied form of recreation and public display.

They represented the dominion of white men over slaves, animals, and the natural world, as well as their responsibilities toward white women and children as protectors and providers. 19 As the firearms industry became increasingly industrialized, the national rate of gun ownership increased.

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