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The Rise of the South in American Thought and Education

The Rockefeller Years (1902-1917) and Beyond

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John M. Heffron

The Rise of the South in American Thought and Education documents the generalization of southern values and institutions northward at the close of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. The traditional emphasis in the South on vocational education (a reflection of the Christian ethic of work as redemption, not the Republican one of free labor), country life and living, racial segregation, and the centrality of nature study as a source of both science and religion, added up to a coherent vision that responded to "undesirable" economic and social change in the urban North. The survival of Southern cultural traditions, as antiquated as they were, posed no threat to the plans of corporate progressives; indeed, as the book argues, it facilitated them, and nowhere more so than in the field of education. Modern educators wanting to put into historical context relations of class, race, and ethnicity as they persist in today’s schools will find much here to inform them, putting to rest, for example, false distinctions in the history of school reform between a liberal-progressive North and a conservative and reactionary South. The book will appeal as well as to a popular audience of Americans curious to understand the illiberal foundations of the modern liberal state.