Reconstruction's Ragged Edge: The Politics of Postwar Life in the Southern Mountains By Steven Nash


2nd Lieutenant
Nov 9, 2016
SE Tennessee
There is always Political connections to all of this. Poor whites and especially East TN whites will vote Republican with Blacks during the earlier part of Reconstruction. Most of East TN was never aligned with middle or west TN, politically or economically. Geography is different. East isn’t connected with railroads. NC was different. Vance the war time governor and Thomas Clingman, senator, were western Tarheels. Clingman was a Whig. He wanted the railroad extended to the mountains from the East. He thought the Mountains economic future was with the eastern plantation economy. All of that hog trotting in the east TN mountains was going, to mostly the SC plantation economy. SC started a RR in the 40s which would have gone thru this area to Knoxville. So, east TN did have economic benefit from the plantation economy. However, their political alienation from middle and west TN overrode that economic interest.

These conservative whites will vote with the negro, when politically their interest align. Much like the Northern Republicans. Reconstruction starts to end in 74 When Democrats gain 93 house seats. Several reasons for that. Major one was the push of Republican Radicals for Black Rights. Especially integrated schools and such. Republicans are trying to keep Blacks in the Republican Party. This alienates most White Republicans, north and south. Fear of Republicans losing white votes in the north, causes them to abandon the Negro. East Tennessee flips Democrat. Lame duck secession in early 75, allows the rejected Radicals to pass the Civil Rights Bill, which will be determined to be unconditional in its first challenge in 83. They also pass a Force Bill which expires in 3 years. White interest always erode Black interest.


First Sergeant
Jun 18, 2018
Yes, Zeb Vance was the big difference in West NC and East TN. He was from that area and he knew the people. In my view one of the best war time state officals hands down.

"hog trotting"...hahahahaha. It was a pretty good little way to make money. I honestly doubt that my people made as much money in real dollars until the 1940s. Big part of them leaving the area after WW2.