Old Southwest to Old South
The first chronicle of Mississippi’s tumultuous coming-of-age
Mississippi’s foundational epoch—in which the state literally took shape—has for too long remained overlooked and shrouded in misunderstanding. Yet the years between 1798, when the Mississippi Territory was created, and 1840, when the maturing state came into its own as arguably the heart of the antebellum South, was one of remarkable transformation. Beginning as a Native American homeland subject to contested claims by European colonial powers, the state became a thoroughly American entity in the span of little more than a generation. In Old Southwest to Old South: Mississippi, 1798–1840, authors Mike Bunn and Clay Williams tell the story of Mississippi’s founding era in a sweeping narrative that gives these crucial years the attention they deserve.
Several key themes, addressing how and why the state developed as it did, rise to the forefront in the book’s pages. These include a veritable list of the major issues in Mississippi history: a sudden influx of American settlers, the harsh saga of Removal, the pivotal role of the institution of slavery, and the consequences of heavy reliance on cotton production. The book bears witness to Mississippi’s birth as the twentieth state in the Union, and it introduces a cast of colorful characters and events that demand further attention from those interested in the state’s past. A story of relevance to all Mississippians, Old Southwest to Old South explains how Mississippi’s early development shaped the state and continues to define it today.
"Old Southwest to Old South is an outstanding synthesis of the literature on the early history of Mississippi. Mike Bunn and Clay Williams are in thorough control of their sources, making the most of them to present an unfailingly captivating narrative of the years from the formation of the Mississippi Territory to the new state’s pivotal position in the emerging Deep South. [The book] commands a place on the front shelf of everyone interested in a wilderness now vanished, that once was a keystone of young America."- William C. Davis, author of Three Roads to the Alamo: The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis