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Introduction A New Merchant System

Introduction A New Merchant System

(p.2) (p.3) Introduction A New Merchant System
Builders of a New South
Aaron D. Anderson
University Press of Mississippi

This introductory chapter sets out the book’s purpose, which is to explore how the postbellum merchant class used favorable laws and socioeconomic conditions largely to control the petty financing of cotton agriculture and, in the process, rise to the pinnacle of Natchez social, political, and economic power by the turn of the century. At the core of this book are ten merchant family groups. They comprised a total of twenty-eight individual traders over the period 1865–1914. While having much in common in the developing Natchez mercantile arena, they displayed a range of circumstances and had diverse fates.

Keywords:   Natchez, merchant class, cotton agriculture, merchant families

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