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MA (Master of Arts)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Andrew L. Slap
Dale J. Schmitt, Tommy D. Lee II
This study analyzes the rhetoric of William "Parson" Brownlow during the Civil War era. Within the pages of the Whig, Brownlow's famous newspaper, he created a fixed image of African Americans. Brownlow argued that when removed from slavery, people of African descent naturally became barbaric, and thus slavery was needed to ensure the safety of the white population. Despite this consistency in racial thought, Brownlow, through the course of the 1850s shifted from defending slavery as a necessary evil to promoting slavery as an unqualified blessing in the years before the Civil War. Furthermore, during Brownlow's governorship of Tennessee during Reconstruction, Brownlow argued that slavery was economically deleterious to poor white farmers. These findings have important implications for the history of Appalachia. Most specifically, Brownlow's racist rhetoric suggests that race perceptions in East Tennessee were not significantly separable from the race sentiments of the larger South.
Thesis - restricted
Osborn, Kyle N., ""Bondage or Barbarism," Parson Brownlow and the Rhetoric of Racism in East Tennessee, 1845-1867." (2007). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 2111. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/2111
Copyright by the authors.