By no means may one therefore impute abolitionist sentiment to the whites who lived there, of course. In that regard, Inscoe and McKinney make the point that, among western North Carolinians who did hold slaves, sentiment in favor of slavery was decidedly positive. Furthermore, the sentiment was more pronounced, just as among those who did not favor slavery antislavery sentiment and Union sympathies were also more pronounced. However, in that area, the majority of those who worked the land were better described as yeoman farmers than as planters and simply did not have a slave staff.
There was also evidence of a somewhat different attitude toward slaves and indeed toward social class more generally in western North Carolina from other parts of the South. Undoubtedly to suggest that North Carolinians of the piedmont region were entirely progressive would be to go too far, but there was a subtle range of opinion in the area that seems to have owed something to the defining power of the land in the area. A memoir of the antebellum period describes a woman who did have slaves but who never sold any, to the contrary buying some with a view toward reuniting families and (it is a white man's memoir) treating them well. She also appears to have bequeathed her slaves to her sometimes less than honorable children. The diary of the farmer Basil Armstrong Thomasson, who died in 1862, reveals him to either have been or to have had an interest in seeming "remarkably progressive, taking the Northern feminist line that linked slavery with the state of women." Ward quotes from the diary of Thomasson, who seems to have succeeded in the courtship of his wife in part by giving her a subscription to a newspaper: "There are more slaves in the U.S. than most of us are aware of. Freedom is a great thing, but woman cant be allowed to enjoy it; they are slaves to men."
On the whole, as a practical matter, holding slaves would not have been an efficient ...
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