Utmost Superiority of White Southerners
Tourgee highlights the widely held belief of undeniable southern superiority in America in the time surrounding the Civil War. Southerners were very adamant and vocal about their feelings of supremacy. In Bricks Without Straw Tourgee states the southern perspective, “The South believed, honestly believed, in its innate superiority over all other races and peoples. It did not doubt, has never doubted, that, man for man, it was braver, stronger, better than the North” (Item 583). This is significant that he specifically mentions the North in this because it shows what a blow to the southern ego it must have been for the Confederacy to lose the war to them. Not only did they lose the war, to make matters worse they lost to a group whom they thought were utterly inferior to them in all manners. It was also undeniable that southerners thought not only had they lost to the North they had also essentially lost to an even more subordinate opponent, the former slaves. Through the Union victory they eradicated slavery and allowed slaves to be the ultimate winners. This was difficult for the South because though he notes their feelings of hostility and dominance towards the North, this looks tame compared to their feelings about slaves. “The Southern white man naturally compared himself with his Northern brother. For comparison between himself and the African--the recent slave, the scarcely human anthropoid--he found no ground. Only contrast was possible there” (Item 583). Tourgee notes that Southerners felt as though they were too good to even compare themselves in any way to African Americans.