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Shipwrecked in Paradise
The Dead Sea and the Jordan River
Victorian Freaks
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Spain and the Independence of the United States
The Militia and the Right to Arms, or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent
Religion in American Politics
As Far as the Eye Could Reach

The Old South FrontierThe Old South Frontier

Cotton Plantations and the Formation of Arkansas Society, 1819-1861

Donald P. McNeilly

Narrated by Randy Whitlow

Available from Audible

Book published by The University of Arkansas Press

In this deeply researched and well-written study, Donald P. McNeilly examines how moderately wealthy planters and sons of planters immigrated into the virtually empty lands of Arkansas, seeking their fortune and to establish themselves as the leaders of a new planter aristocracy west of the Mississippi River. These men, sometimes alone, sometimes with family, and usually with slaves, sought the best land possible, cleared it, planted their crops, and erected crude houses and other buildings. Life was difficult for these would-be leaders of society and their families, and especially hard for the slaves who toiled to create fields in which they labored to produce a crop.

McNeilly argues that by the time of Arkansas’s statehood in 1836, planters and large farmers had secured a hold over their frontier home, and that between 1840 and the Civil War, planters solidified their hold on politics, economics, and society in Arkansas. The author takes a topical approach to the subject, with chapters on migration, slavery, non-planter whites, politics, and the secession crisis of 18601861. McNeilly offers a first-rate analysis of the creation of a white, cotton-based society in Arkansas, shedding light not only on the southern frontier, but also on the established Old South before the Civil War.

Donald P. McNeilly is currently an instructor in the University Honors Program at the University of Maryland.


“The descriptions of the process of settlement and the lifestyles of people in Arkansas will make an important addition to the historical literature.”

—S. Charles Bolton, author of Arkansas, 1800Äì1860

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University Press Audiobooks