Military Education and the Emerging Middle Class in the Old South

Military Education and the Emerging Middle Class in the Old South

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Jennifer R. Green
Cambridge University Press, 2008-09-15
EAN 9780521894937, ISBN10: 052189493X

Paperback, 314 pages, 22.9 x 22.5 x 15.5 cm

This book argues that military education was an important institution in the development of the southern middle class as a regional group and as part of the national middle class in the late antebellum years. It explores class formation, professionalization, and social mobility in the 1840s and 1850s, using this data to define the middle class on a national level, while also identifying regionally specific characteristics of the emerging southern middle class. Green argues that the significance of antebellum military education is, first, that it illuminates the emerging southern middle class, a group difficult to locate and differentiate; second, it offered social stability or mobility; finally, it explicitly linked middle-class stability or mobility to the ongoing national professionalization of teachers. Ultimately, these schools demonstrate that educational opportunity and reform took place in the antebellum South and that schooling aided southerners in social mobility.

Review of the hardback: 'Jennifer Green's smart new book, Military Education and the Emerging Middle Class in the Old South, puts social class front and center on the southern history table. Her deeply researched examination of the complex ways white southern men used military schooling to advance their social and economic status presses us to fundamentally re-think our understanding of southern class formation and the role of national networks of professionalization in that process. This well-written volume strikes a fine balance between establishing the importance of military education in the Old South and highlighting its critical role in the development of a southern middle class, and is a welcome and important contribution to all studies on social mobility.' Michele Gillespie, Wake Forrest University