The Making of the American South: A Short History, 1500-1877 (Book Title)


Program Description:

This concise overview of the history and historiography of the American South puts the major problems and issues of that region into clear, accessible prose. Harris explores slavery and race relations, politics and economic developments, and changes in ideas and culture from the development of European outposts in the 16th Century through the aftermath of the Civil War in the period of Reconstruction. He emphasizes that “the South” was made over time, not born in 1607—that it was highly diverse region whose unity developed slowly and did not truly emerge before the conflicts over the fate of slavery after 1800. The Making of the American South: A Short History, 1500-1877(Non-Fiction, Blackwell Publishing, 2006, ISBN# 0631209646) is available at


J. William Harris

J. William Harris is a professor of history at the University of New Hampshire where he has been teaching since 1985. He completed a doctorate in history from Johns Hopkins after graduating from MIT with a bachelor's degree in humanities and science. He has taught or lectured in Italy, the U.K, and Brazil, and he has held fellowships from the National Humanities Center and Harvard University. Professor Harris’s research and teaching interests focus on the history of the American South, the Civil War, and African American history. He is the author of four books and the editor of three others. His most recent book, published in 2009, is The Hanging of Thomas Jeremiah: A Free Black Man's Encounter with Liberty, which examines the extraordinary case of a free black slave owner in Charleston, South Carolina, in the era of the American Revolution. It was named by Library Journal to its Best Books of 2009 list.His 2001 book, Deep Souths: Delta, Piedmont, and Sea Island Society in the Age of Segregation, won awards from the Organization of American Historians and the Agricultural History Society, and it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2002. In 2006, he won the Lindberg Prize for Teaching and Scholarship from the UNH College of Liberal Arts.

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