Mississippians have long found the need for an arsenal of interesting, lethal, and imaginative weapons. Native Americans, frontier outlaws, antebellum duelists, authorities and protestors in the civil rights struggle, and present-day hunters have used weapons to survive, to advance causes, or to levy societal control.
In Weapons of Mississippi, Kevin Dougherty examines the roles weapons have played in twelve phases of state history. Dougherty not only offers technical background for these devices, but he also presents a new way of understanding the state's history-through the context and development of its weapons. Chapters in the book bring the story of Mississippi's weapons up to date with a discussion of the modern naval shipbuilders on the Coast and interviews with hunters keen to pass on family traditions.
As Mississippi progressed from a sparsely populated wilderness to a structured modern society, management of weaponry became one of the main requirements for establishing centralized law and order. Indians, outlaws, runaway slaves, secessionists, and night riders have all posed challenges to the often better-armed authorities.
Today, weapons unite Mississippians in the popular pastime of hunting deer, turkey, dove, rabbit, and even bear. In the state's social and cultural character, a shared lore and knowledge of hunting crosses age, racial, and economic lines. Weapons, once used for mere survival, have transformed into instruments masterfully crafted for those harvesting the state's abundant game.
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