The South was not always the South. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, those below the Potomac River, for all their cultural and economic similarities, did not hold a separate political identity. How this changed, and how the South came to be a political entity that coheres to this day, emerges clearly in this book-the first comprehensive account of the Civil War Era and late nineteenth century state constitutional conventions that forever transformed southern politics.
Southern politics, to an unusual degree, has been a product of the process Herron traces. What his book tells us about these constitutional conventions and the documents they produced is key to understanding southern history and the South today.
Paul E. Herron is assistant professor of political science at Providence College.