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Title page for ETD etd-03292009-160332

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hutton, Thomas Robert Clendenen
URN etd-03292009-160332
Title "'Bloody Breathitt': Power and Violence in the mountain South"
Degree PhD
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Professor Richard Blackett Committee Chair
Professor David L. Carlton Committee Member
Professor Dennis Dickerson Committee Member
Professor Larry Isaac Committee Member
Professor Rowena Olegario Committee Member
  • lynching
  • assassination
  • civil war
  • south
  • violence
  • feud
  • riots
  • politics
  • kentucky
Date of Defense 2009-03-25
Availability unrestricted
Dissertation under the direction of Professor David L. Carlton

This project deals with political violence involving white southerners in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the circumstances through which the political significance of said violence was obscured or erased in the public memory. For decades after the American Civil War, Breathitt County, Kentucky seemed to be an unusually violent place. During the war it was the battlefield for a series of guerilla skirmishes and, after the war was officially over, the same sort of political and racial discord seen in other areas of the Reconstruction-era South was rampant there as well. As violence continued there after it had subsided elsewhere, Breathitt County’s historical similarities to the rest of the South were confounded, often intentionally, by the term “feud” and its apolitical connotations of kinship and antiquity. The varieties of violence used there, and the political situations that caused them, reveal similarities to larger trends in American and World history. While “feud” suggested a peculiar sui generis occurrence, evidence suggests that Breathitt County’s violent history reflected problems also experienced in the outside world.

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