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in U.S. history, term applied by Northerners to proslavery extremists in the South in the two decades before the Civil War. Edmund RuffinRuffin, Edmund
, 1794–1865, American agriculturist, one of the Southern fire-eaters, b. Prince George co., Va. His interest in improving impoverished land led him to become a pioneer in soil chemistry.
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, Robert B. RhettRhett, Robert Barnwell,
1800–1876, American politician, b. Beaufort, S.C. His family changed its name from Smith to Rhett (after a colonial ancestor) in 1837. A lawyer, he was a state legislator, state attorney general (1832), U.S.
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, and William L. YanceyYancey, William Lowndes,
1814–63, American leader of secession, b. Warren co., Ga. Admitted (1834) to the bar in Greenville, S.C., he soon moved to Alabama. There he became an outstanding lawyer, was elected to the state house of representatives (1841) and the state senate
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 were the most notable of the group. As early as 1850, at a convention held in Nashville, Tenn., the "fire-eaters" urged secession upon the South, but the Compromise of 1850 and more moderate counsel combined to postpone that event for another 10 years. Although the "fire-eaters" were in large measure responsible for the movement to organize a separate Southern government, they filled minor offices under the Confederacy.
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References in periodicals archive ?
At every fiery exhalation he was chuckling and a-chuntering, as if he'd never before seen a troupe of skimpily-dressed fire-eaters patrolling deep midwicket at an international cricket match.
In Llandudno a 1920s steam carousel, fire-eaters, escapologists and stilt-walkers helped to create a vintage experience.
He was, Kauffman reports, a "fine if not outstanding president," mainly because as a "Peace Whig" he opposed the Mexican War, the proposed annexation of Cuba, and the fire-eaters on both sides who eventually produced the bloody convulsion of the Civil War.
Fanatics and Fire-Eaters: Newspapers and the Coming of the Civil War, by Lorman A.
The shortlist is: 'The Fire-Eaters' by David Almond; 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' by Mark Haddon; 'A Gathering Light' by Jennifer Donnelly; 'The Garbage King' by Elizabeth Laird; 'Private Peaceful' by Michael Morpurgo; 'Sisterland' by Linda Newbery.
She alone could find truth among the collections of freaks, Siamese twins, bearded ladies, and fire-eaters. Weatherford, with charm and unflinching focus, blends the old archetypes: temptation, strong woman, snake, and a man who, for all his claims to superior creation, is no more than a toy.
Albeit in very different ways, both of these books make substantial contributions to the renewed effort to understand the mind of the Old South and its defense of slavery, Eugene Genovese through a brief but wide-ranging study of southern slaveholders' attitudes toward freedom and progress, and Eric Walther with a carefully nuanced account of nine of the Old South's leading fire-eaters and their emphatic prosouthern, proslavery, prosecession thought.
It will feature bands and DJs, street performers, dancers, acrobats, flash mobs and fire-eaters.
The powers-that-be are worried the public will be harmed by knife-throwers and fire-eaters.
AN APPEAL to help a five-year-old boy was answered by dancers, singers, stilt walkers and fire-eaters from across Liverpool.
A Fire & Ice theme adds even more excitement with fire-eaters and flame jugglers entertaining visitors during the interludes between skating sessions on Friday and Saturday evenings - as well as every evening from December 17 to 23 inclusive.