e world has taken centuries to accomplish.
The distance between the armor-clad knight at Acre and the embattled farmers at Lexington is hardly greater than that between the feudal aristocracy which dominated Southern sentiment in 1860, and the commercial plutocracy that rules over the destinies of the nation to-day.
Never was there an aristocracy so compact, so united, so powerful.
Out of a population of some 9,000,000 whites that peopled the Southern States, according to the census of 1850, only about 300,000 were actual slaveholders.
Less than 3,000 of thesemen owning, say, over 100 negroes each, constituted the great planter class, who, with a small proportion of professional and business men affiliated with them in culture and sympathies, dominated Southern sentiment and for years dictated the policy of the nation.
The more prominent families all over the country knew each other by reputation, if not by actual contact, and to be a member of the privileged few in one commun