Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 17: Nos 1-2) >> ''Cash is Conqueror'': The Critique of Capitalism in Simms's ''The Western Emigrants'' and ''Sonnet—The Age of Gold'' >> Page 94

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Secondary Scholarship | 2009
Transcription 94 THE SIMMS REVIEW

the vicious truth of capitalism, Simms deployed imaginative writing—a
use entirely in keeping with his belief, as he states in Poetry and the
Practical, that "I regard fiction ... as embodying the largest amount of
truth" (67), an assertion that echoes Plato's remark that "Poetry comes
nearer to vital truth than history." As James Kibler has noted, Simms
believed "the poet stood centrally in society as its best friend and guide"
and who reinforced "the highest truths of nature" (xii). With these two
poems, Simms exemplified both of these ideals.

1. Dego also states that corn was so important in "[the Choctaw's] economic life
that they invented legends to account for its origin" (10).
2. Although Jackson was not the President at the time, he was a powerful
negotiator in land retrieval.
3. The forced removal from Mississippi to Oklahoma Territory—in which many
Choctaws lost their lives—later became known as the Trail of Tears.
4. Article 3 of this treaty states that the United States will take "immediate
measures to survey and bring into market and sell [the land ceded in the Treaty
of Doak's Stand, which amounted to 54 sections of land]" (1825 Treaty).
5. In the period between 1820 and 1840, the white population in Mississippi grew
from 42,176 to nearly 200,000 an increase of over 400% (Olsen 27).
6. In his article, Bolton illustrates the landlord's greed by explaining a
sharecropping arrangement:
Treadwell [the landlord] provided Bridges [the tenant] with
land, livestock, and tools; the landlord also advanced Bridges
some food. Bridges grew corn and cotton, and at the end of the
year, he had to give Treadwell one-sixth of the corn he grew
and five-sixths of the cotton raised. From his share of the crop,
Bridges also had to pay Treadwell for the use of the livestock
and tools and for the food advanced. Obviously, Bridges
worked the entire year primarily for the food he needed to
live. He had no opportunity to make any money from this
arrangement and accumulate the capital that would allow him
to purchase his own farm.