Mark’s Awesome Word of the Week


Awesome Words
scalawag

Way back in the 1860s, there were Southerners who rather disliked the notion of lopping half the country off and calling it something new.  They were of the thoroughly unpopular opinion that certain things which Northerners supported (such as ending slavery) were not such a bad idea after all.  Unsurprisingly, this view did not go down well with the majority of southern citizens (a category which, prior to the abolition of slavery, did not include the huge number of slaves in the south).

While white Southerners had never particularly fancied their above-the-Mason-Dixon-line neighbors, it wasn’t until after the Civil War that they started to consider themselves better.  Rather than accept the changing tides of racial equality, many Southern whites developed an attitude of cultural supremacy in addition to racial.  They coined the term “carpetbaggers” to refer to Northern whites who moved to the south (often carrying baggage made of disused carpeting).  Their dislike was not without reason—the whites, who were accustomed to living without the servitude of slaves, were often better able to adapt to a slavery-free environment and capitalize on the prospects of reconstruction.

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