Jean Philippe, Wendy K.
Focus Point: Pennsylvania
Culture of Honor
The Planter Class of the South was a society dominated by great plantations and wealthy
landowning planters. Wealthy southern whites maintained their image of themselves as
aristocrats in many ways. Medieval knights were a popular and powerful image and there was a
special role for southern white women.
Southern white males believed they were the 'cavalier' and adopted a code of chivalry
through dueling. Women were affected "through their role in the socialization process, as well
as active participation." they were thought of as "the southern "Belk"- usually a virgin who was
educated and had authority. Many of these women engaged in the economic life of the family
and helped supervise the slave workforce. But because of the code of honor in the region and
the men’s chivalrous behavior towards the women, the southern Belk had a subordinate status
compared to women in the North.
Perhaps the most significant reason for the idea of honor in the South was tied to the
public appearance of dignity, authority, ethical behavior, and bravery. Southern white males
wanted to be challenged in their "manhood". Bringing the Code of Honor into action was
deemed a necessity in many parts of Southern society and bringing vengeance for the women
was their duty as a white south