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The Mason Family Gentry and the Civil War

The Civil War devastated the nation and had economic consequences that ravaged the ex-Confederate south. Historians agree that with the Union blockade which resulted in very few imports and exports, along with mass destruction of infrastructure, the south was severely hit by the destructive effects of the war. Specifically, the planter gentry class were hit worse than the average citizen since they lost their main means of income and prestige as plantations were targeted for destruction along with the passage of the 13th amendment to U.S. Constitution. The war would not effect the south only economically however, as the war would also have social effects of bitterness and shame which would contribute to the development and spread of myths regarding the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. Members of the Mason family during this time period were part of the southern gentry and would no doubt lose significant amounts of property along with their pride. This project hopes to see how the Civil War effected the gentry class socially and economically by using three examples from the Mason family. The three examples that will be examined are Betsey Clapham Mason (wife of Thomson Francis Mason), Gunston Hall, and James Murray Mason.

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