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Deserter CountryCivil War Opposition in the Pennsylvania Appalachians$
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Robert M. Sandow

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230518

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823230518.001.0001

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Patterns of Protest: The Raftsmen's Rebellion of 1857

Patterns of Protest: The Raftsmen's Rebellion of 1857

(p.28) 2 Patterns of Protest: The Raftsmen's Rebellion of 1857
Deserter Country

Robert M. Sandow

Fordham University Press

Wartime opposition in mountain communities fit recurrent patterns of social protest evident in the antebellum period. At the root of protest lay social and economic changes imperiling their society. The changes in lumbering accelerated the pace of forest exploitation and innovated methods of log driving that competed with rafting. The floating logs impeded rafters' access to markets and violated sense of customary use of the rivers. With a mindset of republican ideology, the watermen fought back against restrictions and the corruptions of power that favored industrial lumbering. In the American context, republicanism provided both a moral and political framework for protest. It was a philosophy cherishing representative government as the protector of liberty and the common weal. The rafters' rebellion in 1857 was an ominous foreshadowing of wartime opposition, when watermen were the source of violent dissent. Wartime hardships would exacerbate fears of economic vulnerability and push regional farmers into patterns of protest.

Keywords:   wartime, republicanism, mountain communities, industrial lumbering, rafters' rebellion, watermen, protest

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