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Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture
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Upending the Century of Wrong: Agrarian Elites, Collective Violence, and the Transformation of State Power in the American South and South Africa, 1865-1914
John Higginson Published online: 25 Aug 2010.

To cite this article: John Higginson (1998) Upending the Century of Wrong: Agrarian Elites, Collective Violence, and the Transformation of State Power in the American South and South Africa, 1865-1914, Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 4:3, 399-415, DOI: 10.1080/13504639851690 To link to this article:

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Social Identities, V olum e 4, N um ber 3, 1998

U pe nd ing the C e n tury of W ron g: A g ra rian E lite s , C olle ctive V iole n ce , an d the T ra n sform a tion of S ta te P ow e r in the A m e rica n S ou th a n d S ou th A fric a, 18 6 5± 1 91 4
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JO H N H IGGIN SO N U nive rsity of M assa chusetts, A m herst
T he Se tting Power and violence have playe d an integral part in sh aping the lives and expectations of people in the A merican South and South A frica for at least tw o centuries. After protracted period s of terror and m ass civil disobedien ce, both societies are strug glin g to make popular elections and the drafting of ne w law s and constitutions the only legitim ate means of political contest. But as the recent bom bing s in the northern C ape and Rusten burg in South A frica and m ore than a decade of arson against churches used prim arily by AfricanA mericans in the South sugges t, violent forms of contest can, on occasion , 1 assume rene wed vigour. Presen tly, there is eviden ce that the most glarin g features of South African apartheid and A merican segre gation are recedin g. But a great deal of confusion remains about w he ther both were coincide ntal misfortune s or deliberate in 2 stances of social en gineering . This confusion turns largely on a misundersta nd 3 in g of how violen ce assiste d in maintainin g the tw o social syste ms. The refusal of former presiden t P.W . Botha and the A frikane r N ationalist Party to continue to cooperate w ith the Truth and Reconciliation Com mission in South Africa provides us w ith an excelle nt example of the kind of selective amnes ia that 4 feeds confusion about past even ts. In 1899 Jan Smuts, the A ttorne y General of the South A frican Republic, w ho later became a genera l in the Republic’ s guerilla arm y, w rote a scathin g 5 polem ic en titled The Century of W rong . Smuts’s polem ic sough t to ind ict the Britis h Empire for w ar crimes and the excessive use of atrocious violen ce again st Afrikaner civilians durin g its prose cution of the Anglo-Boer or South 6 A frican W ar of 1899± 1902. M y presen t rese arch retreats from Smuts’s narrow ly focused charge s, however, focusin g inste ad on an examination of interw ar violence durin g the South A frican W ar and American C ivil W ar and the postw ar reve rberations of this violen ce in the countrys ide . Despite military defeat, violen ce had a dire ct and forceful im pact on the expectations of w hite 7 land ow ne rs in both societies during the ge neration that followed the tw o w ars. O n occasion it became a means for land ow ners to express sim ultane ously their grie vances against the victorious central state and their reluctance to change 8 their w ay of life or the local social structure. W hite landow ne rs in both settings
1350-4630/98/030399-17 $7.00


1998 C arfax Publish ing L td

400 John H igg inson perceived violen ce as both a method and a process that could express their 9 aspirations as well as their fears. I have chosen to focus on w hite landow ne rs in the M arico and Rustenb urg districts of South A frica’ s Transvaal and those of Edge® eld C ounty , South C arolin a and C addo Parish, Louisiana in the southern United States. I chose these areas because they were notorious for long and deep traditions of 10 regulator or vigilan te violen ce. As late as the 1980s and 1990s represen tative segm en ts of the w hite population in these areas resorted to violen ce in order to combat w hat they perceived as unnecessary and superim posed efforts to change the local political and racial order. The campaigns of terror foisted on these areas after the American C ivil W ar and the A ng lo-Boer or South African W ar of 1899± 1902 were neithe r seren dip11 itous nor spontaneous. These atrocious forms of interw ar violence had notable local precedents and socialised the next genera tion of w hite landow n12 ers. Assassin ations, torture, and more genera l forms of terror serve d as the 13 catalysts for an undeclared civil w ar between rural blacks and rural w hites. Important differen ces m arked the details, taxonom y, and outcomes of terror and collective violence, but in the sh arp contests for land and labour between black and w hite people in the country side of both societies, w hite landow ners in tw o differen tly constituted agrarian societies sh ared a comm on `gram mar of 14 m otives’ . In 1867 Reconstruction in the U nited States had become a radical attempt to establis h political equality between blacks and w hites in the South. The Reconstruction adm inistration of Alfred Lord M ilner in the Trans vaal had no such brie f, even though British of® cials did speculate on the likely impact of in creasing the number of politically enfranchised A fricans as a means to underscore a British military victory between October 1899 and A pril 1901. Black participation in the prosecution of the tw o respective national w ars forced the issues of black equality and black autonomy in the rural areas to the surface in w ays that aggra vated the speci® c griev ances of the defeated 15 land ow ne rs. Forme r slaveh olde rs and Boer landlord s met the initiatives of the central govern ments and aspirin g blacks w ith w ave upon w ave of protracted violen ce because they had lost power, not sim ply because of the frustration and anxiety 16 engen dere d by postw ar disruption. W hile m uch of the violen ce appeared irrational or `desperate’ to the casual observer, it had an inne r logic, and the w hite landow ne rs’ decision to use violen ce came only after a careful 17 assessm en t of the tw o govern ments’ ® repower and organisation. The suppres sion of black autonom y w as not a foregone conclusion. The successful inte rven tion of the tw o central govern men ts vitally depen ded upon a bold restateme nt of the commercially alien able nature of priv ate property and the rig ht of the state to establish political order in the m ost w ar ravage d areas of the country side . Meanw hile w hite suprem acy in its prew ar forms had become more or less dysfunctional in the initial attempts to reorga nise econ18 om ic life in the countryside after the w ars. `Farm burn ings’ , the expropriation of cattle and m oveable property , and the forcible eviction of landow ners from their holdings smashe d the mooring s of deference that had bound African-

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U pend ing the Ce ntury of W rong : the A merican South and South A frica 401 A merican slaves and African peasants to their masters and landlord s and to 19 their conceptions of ow nersh ip and justice. A t the close of the tw o national w ars the most m ilitant members of the local elite Ð many of w hom had served the cause of the C onfederacy and Boer republics in elite reg imen ts and death squads Ð w anted it understood that they w ould continue to ® ght well bey ond the form al surre nde r. In their view it w as not possible for w hite men of property and substance to abandon their expectations and claims on power in countrie s in w hich one’s stand ard of livin g continued to be closely iden ti® ed 20 w ith the colour of one’ s skin. The re-elaboration of the state’ s power in the tw o countrie s assumed a most urge nt character in those areas of the countryside w he re people of A frican descent were a preponderant majority or w he re their subjugation as depen den t labourers appeared to be the only means of 21 placating w hite landow ners. Durin g the tw o res pective postw ar period s the circumstances of agriculture also came to be m ore securely tied to burgeon ing markets for food and commercial staples such as cotton. But the hands that drove the w agons and pulled the plow s had to kn ow w hich seasons of the year were like ly to produce the greatest yield of corn, sorgh um , w he at or cotton. They had to in sure that draft anim als could kee p to a straigh t row and not trample on prev iously planted crops, smalle r lives tock, fences, or them selve s; and they had to kn ow readily w he n m ore labour and material were neede d to get in the crops. These monotonous tasks had to be carried out and arcane information about seasons and crops com mitted to memory w hether the hands and he ads that actually performe d them were black or w hite. Hen ce our exam ination of the violen t actions of w hite land ow ners at the close of the nine teenth century tells how a place w as made for segreg ation, w hite supremacy in its most 22 m ature and striden t form. Segre gation in both societies precipitously resulted from the m anner in w hich w ar and its subseque nt reve rberations in terrorist violen ce transforme d state power and economic altern atives. Segregationists concentrated on the cities, tow ns , and industrial w orkplaces of the A merican South and South A frica, but seg regation as a state sponsore d adm inistrative practice and policy of social en ginee rin g depende d prim arily upon the im position of political orde r on the surroun ding countryside . C om peting versions of political order emerged . Violen t w hite land ow ners in both countrie s exposed the ine ffectual nature of many of the postw ar adm inistrative reform s of the tw o reconstruction govern ments , w hile compellin g these same govern men ts to reconside r the 23 viability of their apparent postw ar political alliances. In the long run these tw o national upheavals profound ly affected the political and social exigen cies of the four areas unde r study. In each, collective and political violen ce punctuated the life histories of their leading men before, durin g, and after the respective civil w ars. A reg ulator or vigilante tradition created a perve rse set of precedents for postw ar reform s. Insofar as the actions of vigilantes were initiated and encourage d by local elite s, they m ade for an array of ¯ ashpoints that challe nged the victors’ conception of 24 political orde r.

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402 John H igg inson T he Principal A ctors W hat turned planters and landlord s into vigila ntes? W as it the sudden clash of expectations and outcomes that came w ith the w ar and its immediate afterm ath? Did large r if largely hid den concerns drive the agg rieved parties to violence? Violence and aggre ssion in any society autom atically em brace related problem s of social and political costs, morality , social cohesion, and authority Ð in sh ort, w ho, through the age ncy of the state, can legitim ately do violen ce to another person ? Secondly, because there is no know n human society w he re violence and aggress ion do not occur and because the range of expression of agg ression can also vary Ð from a hostile glance to the exterm ination of en tire segm en ts of a population Ð it is more useful to thin k of violence as capacity 25 rather than instin ct. Actual acts of terror and their perpetrators only am ount to the m ost obvious aspect of the problem . To assess the wellspring s of an act of violen ce we nee d to put the details into a relation consisten t w ith the aims of the perpetrators and the amount of force and constraint that a given society w ould impose upon them before, durin g and after the act w as completed . A ssuming that violent acts are gratuitous is alm ost alw ays a serious error of judge ment. Tw o examples serve to illustrate the caveat. O n the M onday before 15 O ctober 1865, exactly seve n months after the surre nde r of the C onfederate m ilitary forces and just before a particularly eager Free dmen ’ s Bureau of® cial, one C aptain Gates, w as to distribute yearly contracts am ong black labourers, a freed m an kn ow n as `Frank’ w as ® red upon by a band of w hite `reg ulators’ on a plantation in the Barn well section of the old Edge® eld district of South 26 C arolin a. Frank w as w ounded in the arm by a bullet w hile tryin g to escape his tormen tors. He and another freed m an named `Cato’ were captured by a band led by W illiam Patrick, a notorious vigilan te and former C onfederate cavalrym an. Both men were taken to the farm of W illiam Patrick’ s brothe r George that evenin g but m anage d to escape early the next m orning . Frank made it safely to the Union m ilitary post in ne arb y Rid ge ville , but C ato, w ho had been shot through the knee, fell behin d. Late Tuesd ay aftern oon his body w as found astride the m ain road rid dled w ith bulle ts and horrib ly m utilated Ð his ears, 27 tongue, and eyes had been cut from his face. W hat do we m ake of these even ts? Does it help us to know that the regulators w atche d the twen ty or so black labourers w ork for m ore than an hour before they rode through the row s to take Frank and C ato; or that the younge st and more notorious of the Patrick brothe rs, W illiam , had been sent to an elite cavalry company from infantry once the H ampton Legion , arguably one of the m ost ideologically m otivated of C onfede rate brigades, w as reor28 ganised in 1863? H ow serious ly sh ould we take the public ren unciation of this violent act by local planters; or the assertion by local Freed men ’s Bureau of® cials that the planters were `bitter troublesome and that frequent threats are m ade that w hen Gates w as gone they w ould have it out w ith the nigge rs’ ? H ow ideologically m otivated were all the principal actors Ð w hite vigilantes, freed people, Free dm en ’ s Bureau of® cials, and U nion sold iers? W hat kind of

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U pend ing the Ce ntury of W rong : the A merican South and South A frica 403 reasonin g did each employ in dete rm ining a connection between a hostile gaze or thre at and a violent act? Over thirty years later in South Africa another violen t act took place. In late O ctober or early N ovem ber 1900, six months after Pretoria, the Trans vaal Republic’ s capital, had falle n to Lord Roberts’ s forces, a squadron of Britis h troops discovered the bodies of nine A frican men ne ar the summ it of the M agalie sberg m ountains. The bodies were lyin g in a he ap. A number had been m utilated. Ears, tongues and ge nitals had been cut off. Five were ide nti® ed as A fricans w ho had been in the service of British military inte lligen ce. The other four had been tenants or labourers on Boer farms in the portions of Rustenb urg and M arico occupied by the British and had apparen tly offered information about the w artime activities of their landlord s to British authorities, or so 29 of® cials of the occupying force surm ised . The nine men had been tried by an informal trib unal. The tribunal had been convened by the former presiden t of the Trans vaal parliamen t or V olksraad, 30 B.A. Klopper, w ho also serve d as its presid ing magistra te. A ll nine were conde mned to death and summ ary execution followed. Hen drik Schoeman, the son of a Boer ge ne ral, and Piet Joubert, the son of the recently deceased General C om mande r of the republican arm y, as well as others acted as an escort for the 31 nine . W ho performed the summ ary executions? Did the mutilations occur before or after summary execution? W hy did the sons of the gene rals m ost associated w ith the republican arm y’ s most recent losse s have to be presen t? W as the site of the executions, am ong the solitary and rugged m ountains that alle ge dly m irrored the qualities of Boer men , coinciden tal Ð particularly at a time w he n the formal republican arm y w as retreating and virtually nonexisten t in the 32 33 west? W ould such ex perie nces become normative ones for younger soldiers? To w hat ex tent did such experie nces sugge st a model for postw ar relationship s between returnin g Boer soldiers, particularly those w ho were sen t to distant prison camps in Berm uda, Ceylon and India, and their w ives, child ren , and 34 A frican tenants and labourers? American slaveholders and Boer land lord s in the upland regions of their tw o res pective countries sought to en hance their comm and over black labour and to neuter the relationsh ip between black people and their fam ilies before the outbreak of the tw o national w ars. The details of this process in these tw o distinc t societies were often quite different, but landow ners in both countries sought to replace w ork routines shaped by affection and kins hip w ith their ow n putative sovereign power. W hile the more insig htful and inte lligen t land ow ne rs realise d that this kind of control w as m ore of an aspiration than a 35 reality, it serve d neverthe less as an ideal measure of actual circumstances. It w as the loss of the possibility of this kin d of comm and over black labour that launche d both groups onto campaigns of vigilante terror. The se tw o violent odyssey s appeared to culminate w ith the en d of Reconstruction in the U nite d States and the outbreak of the Gene rals’ Rebellion of 1914 in South 36 A frica. Violence aimed at blacks and, on occasion, the state achieve d new m ass form s of ex pres sion in both countries during succeeding gene rations but for radically different reasons in some instances. Landow ne rs rem ained at the

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404 John H igg inson centre of subseq uent violence, w hich w as partly sustained by the changin g agrarian economy, but the w hite land ow ners’ sense of hon our and selfsuf® ciency proved poor rem edies for the ills brought by rapid economic 37 transformation. A w ide range of circumstances that were inim ical to the imposition of political order obtaine d in both areas of the tw o countrie s in question during the im mediate postw ar period s. Some of the most salie nt were : 1) habits of in depen den ce and indepe nde nt economic activity on the part of a potential class of depen den t labourers; 2) a reg ulator or vigilan te tradition among the conquered w hite population that could not be absorbed or defange d by the ne w methods of administration; 3) en tailed leg al conceptions of private property that militated against the commercial sale of land and increased the risk of potential investors; 4) the absen ce of infrastructural features such as rail line s, reg ular postal service s, teleg raph and tele phone lines, and other features that w ould speed the commercialisation of agriculture; 5) the absence of schools to socialise the child ren of the vanquishe d and habituate them to the ne w political order; and 6) the absen ce of a critical number of active collaborators w ho w ould be w illing to be the eye s and ears of the state until a reg ular 38 local judiciary and police constabulary were established . In the face of opposition from land ow ning w hites, the re-elaboration of state power in the tw o countries gaine d expression through stopgap, as opposed to long term , measures to reorganise the local police constabularie s and magistra cies, state sponsore d land en closures, and settlemen t of w hite loyalists in communities know n to be hostile to the state’ s objectives. In these strugg les 39 race, labour, and land blen ded in to one another. But the central govern ments in both countries did not alw ays take the lead in achieving broad syste mic outcomes to such strugg les. C onsequen tly, the ne w administra tion sometimes ceded the initiative to the old elite s. A dange rous paradox arose therefore between segrega tion as a comprehen sive state policy of social en ginee rin g and its likely executors in the local 40 setting . As a result, the com ing of seg regation in both countries w as accompanied by m ore bloodlettin g than many historians have cared to admit. In fact, segre gation’ s most sanguinary moments came w hen the central state w as sim ultane ously attempting to absorb the most talented members of local elites and also determ ine the outcome of local situations durin g period s of rapid 41 economic change. The dif® culties arose w hen the national state did not exert its full force in eithe r en deavour. C onseque ntly, m y examination of the violent quickening of local w hite elite s in portions of the A merican South and South A frica’s Transv aal amounts to a means of discussin g how segre gation in South Africa and the U nited States could be predicated upon the broad acceptance of locally derived H errenv olk conceptions of dem ocracy and ye t act 42 as a fulcrum for the interve ntion of the central state in local situations. Despite dee p and persisting economic division s w ithin the w hite population, those w ho participated in the violence belie ved that they could m inimise the moral and political im passe created by these divisions by res urrecting the m ilitary formations of vanquished armies in the guise of `sabre and muske t clubs’ and `commandos’ , w hile they masked this activity w ith the innocuous

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U pend ing the Ce ntury of W rong : the A merican South and South A frica 405 proceed ing s of farmers’ associations . These men sought to create a political clim ate in w hich violen ce com mitted on behalf of private property and w hite suprem acy Ð the tw o being readily con¯ ated w hen conven ien t Ð w ere not only view ed as norm al but in dispen sable. Vigila nte activity w as not a sustaine d fact of life through out the tw o period s and countries in question. Rather it tended to coalesce w ith other statements of grie vance and , in turn, expand and contract in relation to the genera l political clim ate at a give n momen t. For example, in January 1905, w ith the formation of the Boer political movement H et V olk, under the leadersh ip of Louis Botha and Jan Sm uts, its subsequen t victory at the polls in 1906, and the disband ing of the South A frican Constabulary (SAC ) in 1907, there w as a marked increase in the in cidents of vigilan te activity and the violent self-presentation of w hite 43 farmers in everyd ay life. `Progres sive’ English speakin g w hite farmers in M arico and Rustenburg had a hand in such violence and often bene® ted from its sh ort-term consequences. M ethods and D ata People often grasp complex realities best w he n they are prese nted as a serie s 44 of anecdotes. I do not mean to imply, as N apoleon did, that the past is mere ly a set of lies that the powerful conspire to foist upon a gullible public. N or do I agree w ith the postmodern conclusion that all tales are equally valid . If my proposed rese arch project proves anyth ing, it is that all anecdotes are not equally valid or true, even w hen they appear to conform to the receive d w isd om . W ho w orks? W ho ow ns? Ð these are the question s that lay at the heart of the violent circumstances that m y project w ill examine . But such questions come w rapped up in a series of `how s’ . H ow malleable w as the culture of the producing classes? H ow could the nee d for labour in tow n and countryside be met w ithout en ge nderin g `labour shortage s’? H ow could the pursuit of a speci® c version of law and orde r advance or retard the num ber of labourers w illin g to come forth? And it w as in relation to the `how s’ that the central state 45 faltered Ð at least from the vantage point of local agrarian elites. Hence the elites viewed the disbanding of the agencies through w hich the power of the central state expres sed its w ill such as the South A frican C onstabulary (SAC ) in the Transvaal and the Free dm en ’ s Bureau and the Provost Marsh al’ s C ourts in Louisiana and South Carolin a w ith a m ixture of relief and trepidation. It w as durin g the course of the dism antlin g of these institutions that the most volatile protes ts of w hite land ow ners took place. The dism antlin g of the SA C and the Freed men ’ s Bureau were important illustrations of the ne t effect of such 46 protes ts. The comm on features of the politics of exslaveholders and landlord s in the upland region s of the South and South Africa turned on three ne gative aspirations: 1) retainin g the prew ar form of com mand over black labour; 2) prohib iting or, at least, impeding the number of blacks w ho ow ned or rented land and w ho, by virtue of their direct access to productive land, w ould expect to take an active role in the political affairs of a given community; 3) lim iting

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406 John H igg inson the num ber of blacks w ho possessed and exercise d the political franchise . The three were not mutually exclusive; nor did they posse ss a ® xed rank among the concerns of w hite land ow ne rs. Instead w hite land ow ne rs perceived the immediacy of any one of these goals in relation to their ow n capacities and power 47 at a given m oment. The y could not capture the habits and traditions of the past in their pristine form. The se tw o agrarian elites posse ssed im portant differences as well. M any were a conseq uence of sheer num bers: dem ographic change in the upland back country of both countries w as quite dram atic in some cases durin g the respective postw ar period s. Exslaveholde rs and Boer land lord s also had different expectations from the relationship between the law , the judicial process, and the state’ s institutions Ð even w hen terror w as the mutually resorted to catalyst to ge t the relationsh ip going . By cross referen cing archival materials on Boer and C onfederate prisoners of w ar w ith reg imen tal histories , estate, death and m arriage records, pension records, land convey ances, civil suits, and govern men t and new spaper accounts of violen t ¯ ash points, I have derive d a provisional sample of 3,200 men and their fam ilies. M ost of these 3,200 men were at least on the frin ge s of one kind of violen t activity or another durin g the course of their active life. O ut of this 3,200 I have iden ti® ed a hard core of about 1,200 w hose names appeared on a more or less reg ular basis in narrative des criptions of collective violen ce and outrages in new spapers and in testim ony given at govern ment commissions. By the stand ard s of our time and perh aps their ow n, some , but not most, w ould have been reckoned as sociopaths of one sort or another. Some, in fact, achieve d recognition and notoriety beyon d their given locale; but of course , honour and prestige are not suf® cient insu rance that the recipients of such are not sociopaths. W hether such men were sociopaths or not w as not as important as how they perceive d their fortunes and circumstances, or that apparently norm al people saw their circum stances sim ilarly. Either their organisations were fairly complacent about ris ks or all the members of such groups Ð normal and abnormal Ð believed that no risk w as too gre at in the attem pt to overthrow the tw o respective governm en ts. The re were leve ls of com mitmen t among the 3,200. A ll were not w illin g to kill or die. But most were quite w illin g to be sile nt Ð or to conceal or destroy evide nce, give temporary shelter to a man on the run, repair or purchase weapons, and engage in low level but consisten t he ctoring of governmen t of® cials they perceived as inim ical to their in teres ts. The various levels of comm itmen t to violen ce among the people com posing m y evide ntiary base also raise important questions and second my earlier concern s about the `instinctual’ nature of violence Ð particularly violence against people of another group. If collective violen ce of this nature is the result of factors that are `caused , defensive , and interpretable’ , it is also 48 preven table. The latter contention w ill be the principal one that my ® nd ings w ill engage.

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U pend ing the Ce ntury of W rong : the A merican South and South A frica 407 I w ould like to thank Joye Bow m an, Eugene Genovese, Thavolia G lym ph, M ichael H anch ard, Bruce La urie, Julie Saville, Keith Shear, Ronald Sto ry, G loria W aite, M ichael W est, N an W oodruff, C harles Tilly, R oderick A ya and A bebe Zegeye for their patient and sym pathetic reading of earlier form s of this essay and related w ork. I also w ish to thank the Catherine T. and John D . M acA rthur Foun dation for the fellow ship that m ade lengthy sojourns in archives in South A frica and the U nited States possible. The ¯ aw s in this provisional p roduct are all m ine , however. John H igginson m ay be contacted at the D epartm ent of H istory, U niversity of M assachusetts, Herter H all, Box 33930, A m herst, M A 01003± 3930, U SA . Te lep hone (413) 5 45 1330, Fax (413) 545 6137. N ote s 1. See for exam ple, W eekly M ail and G uardian , 1997; see also `South Africans rally in sym pathy after Rustenb urg Bomb Blast’, (http://w w w alqalam/dec96/rutnbrgb omb.htm ); Henry Eichel (1998); Kevin Sack (1996). 2. See van O nselen (1996, pp. 19± 26); see also K. M benga (1997). 3. In the American instance John Cell prese nts us w ith a masterly account of one such instance of bloodletting Ð the 1898 `Revolt of the Red Shirts’ in N orth C arolina. Cell claimed, `If that law [an 1896 statute that abolishe d county control of voter registr ation] were to rem ain on the books, eastern N orth C arolin a Dem ocrats contended w ith some justi® cation, w hite supremacy w ould not be just be threatened in their region. It w ould be dead’ . W hat is so strikin g about Cell’ s des cription here is that it ¯ atly contradicts his argumen t that segre gationists were inclined tow ard more moderate means: see Cell (1982, pp. 184± 85 and 3± 4); for a countervailing view see Fre dricks on (1988, pp. 254± 55); see also Dubow (1989). 4. See `Ex Police M iniste r Finge rs P.W . Botha in Bombin g’ , 21 July 1998, Reuters web site: http://dailynew /top ¼ euters/ 980721/new s/stories /safrica 3 htm ). 5. Smuts framed the problem in the follow in g manne r: `Brother Africanders ¼ The hour has come w hen it w ill be decide d w hether , by vindicating her liberty, South Africa shall enter upon a ne w and grande r period of her history, or w he ther our people shall cease to exist ¼ and South A frica sh all in future be governe d by soulless gold king s acting in the name of and unde r the protection of an unjust and hated governm en t 7,000 m iles aw ay ¼ ’ , see Jan Smuts (1900). 6. Smuts w as not alone in speculating on the conseq uences of the w ar. Lionel C urtis, a future member of Lord M ilne r’ s staff and m ayor of Johannesb urg, w rote to his m other in this vein ® ve m onths after the outbreak of the w ar: `I don’t think that I sh ould say that this w ar has made men cruel but I do think that 200,000 odd Englis hm en w ill come out of it w ith a hazier sen se of meum and tuum , and that w ill not help them to govern justly’: see Lionel C urtis (1951). 7. See Thom as Paken ham (1979); Jerem y Krik ler (1993). See also Vern on Burton (1978); Gilles Vand al (1991).

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408 John H igg inson 8. For a glim pse of the anxietie s of w hite farmers over the question of the political franchise and land red istribution see: South A frican N ative A ffairs C om m ission (hen ceforth SAN A C ) 1903± 1905, see also `Testim ony of A.H . M alan’ ; for the of® cial gloss on these deep -seated anxieties see `Testim ony of W . W ind ham’ , SA N A C, IV; see also Re port of the Joint C om m ittee in Reconstruction (1865). 9. See the en tire ® le of person al corresponde nce in folde r A b in D ona ld R olfe H unt Papers (H istorical Papers of the W illiam C ullen Library, University of the W itw atersrand, Johannesb urg, South Africa: he nceforth D RH P) 1655; see also 23 August 1865 report of Brigadier General E.A. W ild to M ajor Gene ral R. Saxton at Beaufort, South C arolina and the 23 October 1865 report of Lie utenant C olonel C .S. Brow n to the C hief of Staff for Brevet Brigadier Genera l C .H . H ow ard from Anderson , South Carolin a in the Bureau of Re fugees, Freedm en, and A band one d La nd s, Record G roup 105 of the N ational A rchives of the U nited States (hen ceforth: N A FB ). 10. Form er C onfederate Lieutenant-Genera l M art Gary remarks about a blueprin t for terror in South C arolina, the `Edge ® eld Plan’, gave resonance to this tradition, `Never threaten a man ind ivid ually if he deserves to be threatened , the ne cessities of the times require that he sh ould die’ : see Vern on Burton (1978); for Rustenb urg and Marico see Kem ball-Cooke Pa pers (H istorical C ollections: U nive rsity of the W itw atersran d, Johannesb urg, South Africa: hen ceforth KC P) A 62 A b 2f, testim onial in the V olkstem of Rustenb urg by the Reve ren d D . Postma; see also K CP A62 f, Statemen ts of J.W . Meyer, Floris P. C oetzee, N icolaas van der W alt and petitions of farme rs from the Ceylon Estate in Rustenburg. 11. A t the close of the South African W ar a vigorous and , occasion ally, vituperative debate broke out among the Boer ge ne rals about w hether the British blockhouses had, in fact, snapped resistance in the country side . Bene ath the apparent term s of the deb ate w as the more volatile issue of w hether the defeat of the republican arm y had been caused by a greater use of African irreg ulars and Boer collaborators in the closing m onths of the w ar: see C hristaan De Wet (1902); see also Jeremy Krikler (1993); Peter W arw ick (1982); for the orig ins of vigilan te and terrorist activity in the post C ivil W ar South see particularly the observations of Brig adier General Edw ard A. W ild to Brevet M ajor General R. Saxton and those of Lieutenant C olonel John Devereux to M ajor H .W . Smith on the cases coming before the Provost C ourts and the activities of the Provost M arsh als in Edge ® eld, South C arolin a in N A FB RG 105, 869, reel 34. 12. See Bern ard M beng a (1997, pp. 129± 37); C harle s van Onselen (1990); see also Richard M axwell Brow n (1969); O rville Vern on Burton (1985). 13. See F.J. New nh am’ s 1905 force report; see also the marked ly sim ilar accounts of violence and contestation at Braaklagte and Leuuw fontein in M arico in 1903, 1907, 1942 and 1990 in Central Archives Depot/Bantu A ffairs O f® ce: Pretoria 2895 (M arico D istrict) and South A frican Truth and Reconciliation H earings, `The C ase of Diali and M okgatle’ , Phoken g, 20 M ay 1996, pp. 7± 9; for the massacre of thousand s of freed people and w hite Republicans that accompanied the sem inal elections of N ovember 1868 in

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U pend ing the Ce ntury of W rong : the A merican South and South A frica 409 Louisiana and South Carolin a see Se na te Re port, 42 C ongress, 2nd sess ion, report no. 41, pt 1, 20± 22; see also Table 1 in Gille s Vandal (1991, p. 374); Vern on Burton (1978: p. 37); Allen Tre lease (1971). See George Fre dricks on (1981); Jeremy Krikle r (1993, pp. 31± 37); see also C . W righ t M ills (1959). See Eric Foner (1989); Ira Berlin et al. (1990); see also S.E. Katzenellenbogen (1980); Shula M ark s and Stanley Trapido (1979); for the usefulne ss of the com parison, see Charle s Francis Adams (1902). For an account that privile ges relative deprivation theory as an explanation for the actions of former slaveholde rs see George C . Rable (1984); for an opposing view , see Euge ne Gen ovese (1996); for an analogous explanation of the actions of Boer farmers, but one w hich is open to the prospect of tracing speci® c grie vances as the catalyst for violen ce see D onald Denoon (1973). For an insig htful critique of explanatory models based on various theories, see Roderick A ya (1990). See Eric Foner (1983); see also C harles van Onselen (1992). See Jerem y Krikler (1993, pp. 39± 41); Peter W arw ick (1982, p. 45); see also Eric Foner (1884). See, for exam ple, the stateme nts take n from Boer pris oners by R.A. Brow nlea, Gene ral D ixon’ s in tellige nce of® cer, after 500 of them were captured on various farm s between Rustenburg and Krugersd orp in February ± March 1901: Fam ily H istory A rchives of the Church of La tter D ay Sa ints of Jesus C hrist (hen ceforth FH AC LDS) m icro® lm J-47878 136782, `List of Farm s and Inhabitants West of Pretoria: R.A . Brow nlea for `Daag’ Intelligen ce, General D ixon’ s Force 10/4/01’; see also Lou Falkne r W illiam s (undated). Various state of® cials were painfully aw are of the potentially explosive consequen ces. In 1903, for example, the former sub native commissioner of Piet Retief, L.E.N . Ty rre ll, penned a revealing letter to the governm en t sponsored agricultural journal unde r the nom de gue rre `gen tlem an farmer’ : see Tyrrell (1903); Tim Keegan summed up the dilem ma nicely, `It w ould probably be true to that black resources, sk ills, and en terprise kept a w hole ge neration of Afrikaners a¯ oat on the land’: see Tim Keegan (1988); Te stimony taken by The Joint Se lection Com m ittee to inquire into The C ondition of A ffairs in the Late Insurrectiona ry States, part 1 volume 3, `testim ony of D avid T. C orbin’ (Wash ing ton D C : G overn ment Prin ting Of® ce, 1872), 68± 88; Ted Tunne ll (1989); Alle n Trele ase (1971) In 1903 a `gentlem an farme r’ assesse d the Transvaal’ s agriculture in the follow ing manne r, `I am speakin g of production by our prim itive South A frican methods, w here the farm er sits on the verandah and sen ds three boys to plough w ith six or ten oxen, and an ordinary sin gle furrow . Of course, w ith improved farm ing the cost w ould be much less ’. See `N otes, Q uerie s and Replie s’ , Transvaal A gricultural Journal , 3 (1, A pril): 72± 73; see also Tim othy J. Keegan (1987); see also Report on Cotton Production , vol. I (1884): 68± 77; Gerald Jaynes (1986). U pon his removal as res ide nt m agistrate of Rustenburg, H . Kemball-C ooke bestowed his papers and notes on his successor, but w ith a bit of a

14. 15.


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17. 18. 19. 20.




410 John H igg inson w arnin g, `I have not destroye d these documen ts because after I have `shuf¯ ed off this men tal coil’, I have asked you to use your discre tion as to the prese rvation or destru ction of any papers I may have left behin d me ¼ I fancy that you may gather from some of them that I tried to do my duty to `brothe r Boer’ , in the sense that an English man looks upon his duty to those under him’ : see K CP A62f; see also Shula M arks and Stanley Trapido (1979, pp. 56± 57); David Yudelm an (1983); see N A FB m icro® lm M 869 Reel 34, `Reports of M urders and Outrages, O ct. 1865± N ov. 1868’ and `Report of C onditions and O perations, July 1865± Dec. 1866’ ; Roge r Shugg (1939); H ow ard W hite (1970). See Donald Den oon (1973), pp. 63± 68 and 108; `testim ony of A.H . M alan’ , SA N A C , 570; D RH P A1655, File Ac6, `Con® den tial Mem o to N ative C ommissioners in Conferen ce at Johannes burg (Lagden ), 18 June 1902’; see also A non (1867); Ted Tunnell (ed.) (1989); A lle n Trelease, W hite Te rror, 130 See James Gilliga n (1996); see also C . W righ t M ills (1959), pp. 40± 45. See N A FB micro® lm M 869 Ree l 34, `Reports of M urders and O utrage s, Oct. 1865± N ov. 1868’ and `Report of C onditions and Operations, July 1865± Dec. 1866’ . See N A FB micro® lm M 869 Ree l 34. See the Fe bruary± M arch 1863 corre sponde nce of C onfederate Brigadier Gene rals H .Q. Jenkins and John Bratton, and C aptain J.S. A ustin in FH A C LD S m icro® lm 1447437 (corresponden ce and muster rolls of the H ampton Legion for 1862 and 1863). British Pa rliamentary Papers (hen ceforth: BPP) C D 821 LXIX, 15 N ovember, 1901, Kitchener to Under Secretary of State, W ar O f® ce, London, `Case at M agalie sberg ’; see also FH A CLD S, `List of Farm s and Inhabitants W est of Pretoria: R.A. Brow nlea for `D aag’ Intelligen ce, General Dixon’s Force 10/4/01. Tow ard the end of Feb ruary 1901, B.A . Kloppers Sr surre nde red to Colonel A irey at H artbeestfontein 118. H is son, and ® ve other relatives were also captured. O ne of the seve n, or possibly F.G. W olm arans, one of the ® rst A frik aners in the Rusten burg-Kruge rsd orp area to break the oath of neutrality and take up arms again, recounted the details of the trib unal to British inte lligen ce of® cers: see FH A CLD S , `List of Farm s and Inhabitants W est of Pretoria ¼ BPP C D 821 LXIX, `Case at M agaliesberg’ M any ¯ eeing Boer soldiers did not think of themselves as `dese rters’ , but rather as en gage d in vlucht volm oed Ð ¯ ight in full courage : see Christiaan De W et, Th e Three Ye ars W ar, 191± 92 and 345; see also the observations of British staff and parole of® cers FH A CLD S K-23892 1367078, `Cape Tow n: Staff O f® cer, Prisoners of W ar 1± 226; Paroles nos. 390± 469, 1900± 1902 volume no. 117 (old no. 114). A s late as A ugust 1903 British com mand ants in the cam ps for Boer prisone rs in Berm uda w orried that the rig ours of w ar had `hardened ’ some of the younger prisone rs and m ade them indifferen t to exercisin g cruelty. Jan Smuts and J.H. de la Rey had expressed sim ilar concerns earlie r in the w ar: see Berm ud a A rchives (he nceforth: BA) C S 6/1/20, Govern or’ s

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25. 26.

27. 28.



31. 32.


U pend ing the Ce ntury of W rong : the A merican South and South A frica 411 Despatches, no. 96, 13 A ugust 1903, `Lt Govern or-General and C om mander-in-Chief to Rt. H on. Joseph C ham berlain’ ; see also W . H ancock and J. van der Poel(1966) pp. 472± 74 and 561. See Anon (1905).5. See D RH P A1655, File Ac24, `Memo to the N ative C om missione r, Lyde nburg, from H unt concern ing land tenure, occupation, righ ts in the area unde r his jurisd iction, 19 M arch 1913’ ; see also the insigh tful description of the range of peasant-landlord relations in Rusten burg in Belind a Bozzoli w ith M m antho N kotsoe (1991); for the American South see C . Vann W oodw ard (1990); Nell Irvin Painter (1976). See First Se ssion of the Forty-Fourth Cong ress, 1877± 76 , Documen t N o. 85, `Mess age from the Preside nt of the United States, communicating, in answer to a Senate resolution of 20 July 1876, information in relation to the slaughter of American citizens at H amburgh , S.C. (W ash ington: G overn ment Printin g O f® ce, 1876); see also Julie Saville (1994); Ted Tunne ll (1989, pp. 87± 93); for the Gene rals’ Rebellion see A.M . Grundling h, `Die Rebellie van 1914: historiog ra® ese verken ning’ , K LE IO (1979) vol. II, 18± 30; G.D . Scholtz (1942); T.R.H . Davenport (1963). See W . Fitzhugh Brund age (1993); Stew art E. Tolnay and E.M . Beck (1995); see also Hele n Bradford (1987); Tim Keeg an (1988, pp. 134± 37). In 1917 for ins tance the prospects for a w ide spre ad rebellion of rural A frik aners resurfaced in Rustenb urg. Louis Botha, the Preside nt of the U nion Governm en t, sent for Linchwe, the param ount chief of the Kgatla Tsw ana, to w arn him that if his people continue d to `provoke’ w hite farme rs, he w ould sen d Imperial troops into the western Transvaal. Local police, however, thought it more pruden t to supply each w hite farmer w ith at least 50 round s of amm unition: see So uth A frican Police documents micro® lmed by Robert Edgar and housed at the Center for Research Librarie s in C hicago, Illinois. The m aterials in question are `Con® dential: South African Police, Of® ce of the C ommissioner to Secretary of Justice, 3rd September 1917 (3/527/17)’ , Pretoria; Kafferskra al (Rustenburg), Bus 99, 1 O ctober, 1917, `Unie Verde digin gsm acht, H oofdkw artier no. 9 M iltair D istrikt’ . Pretoria 3/527/17; see also Barbara Field s (1983); Eric Foner (1989, pp. 406± 20). See Donald Den oon (1973), pp. 63± 68; Barbara Field s (1983, p. 2124); M ichael R. H yman (1989). See BPP C D 1897, `Reports of the Transvaal Labour C ommission , 1904: testim ony of J.L. H ulett’; see also Shula M ark s and Stanley Trapido (1979, pp. 61± 68); see also Report on the C ond ition in the South, `Congress ional Report on the 1866 New O rle ans Riot’ , H ouse Report num ber 261, Forty -Third congre ss, Second session, 1875, part 2, 11. See C .L. Andersson (1907); see also Frank Tannen baum , (1924). See N .G. Garson (1962); see also Joel W illiamson (1984). In 1906 H et V olk attempted to foster greater solid arity among Afrik aners across class lines by urging the poorer strata of the rural population to memorialise posthumously fam ily mem bers w ho had died during the w ar w ith detailed death notices. These attempts took the form of Sarel Johanne s

34. 35.

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37. 38.

39. 40.

41. 42. 43.

412 John H igg inson van der Merw e’s. Sarel’ s notice stated that he `fell in action’ at Zeeru st on 11 M ay 1902, less than three weeks before the form al surren der, at the age of 15. H und reds of such notices were ® led between O ctober 1905 and Fe bruary 1906: see FH A C LD S R-51583 0991008, `Trans vaal: New Estates’ See Eric H obsbaw m (1972). See footnotes 36 and 38. See R.S. Godley (1935); see also observations of Gene ral Edw ard A. W ild to Brevet M ajor Gene ral R. Saxton (Edge ® eld, South C arolina) in N A FB RG 105 M869 Reel 34. See James Gilliga n, V iolence , 211± 15; Barring ton M oore (1978). James Gilliga n, V iolence, 211.

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