During the latter half of the nineteenth century, German and Irish immigrants were as central to the development of the political ecomy of Charleston, South Carolina, as white southerners and African Americans. As artisans and entrepreneurs, foreigners occupied a middle tier in the racial and ethnic hierarchy of the South's most ecomically and politically important city. As agents of change, they provided a buffer, alleviating tensions between the castes until assimilating after emancipation and, in many instances, effectively embracing white supremacy. In Unequal Freedoms, Jeff Strickland examines the complex interplay of race, ethnicity, and class to reveal the pivotal ways in which European immigrants influenced the social, ecomic, and political development of the South.
Jeff Strickland is associate professor of history at Montclair State University, USA.