|184 pp., 61/8 x 91/4, 15 illus., append., notes, bibl., index $29.95 cloth |
ISBN 0-8078-2610-3 Published: Spring 2001
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Long Gray Lines
The Southern Military School Tradition, 1839-1915
by Rod Andrew Jr.
Much of what little study there has been on southern military education has addressed the concept of a distinctive southern military tradition. The idea of a southern military tradition is a prominent but not universally accepted theme in the historiography of the South. Some historians claim that due to geography, frontier conditions, incessant warfare, slavery, and cultural notions of honor, the South developed into a remarkably militaristic society, fond of military display, preoccupied with war and notions of martial glory, and holding up military service and military training as honorable activities for males. John Hope Franklin attributed the antebellum South's fascination with military schools to this military tradition and to the South's growing defensiveness and pugnacity as it perceived a growing threat to the institution of slavery. Other historians, such as Marcus Cunliffe and Don Higginbotham, have since denied that the antebellum South was a uniquely militaristic society, and they have pointed out that, at least initially, the military college was a northern innovation. They even deny Franklin's assertion that military schools were very popular in the South before 1861. The debate over the distinctiveness of southern militarism often bogs down in statistical comparisons of how many southerners and northerners attended West Point, sectional representation within the officer corps, the actual effectiveness of local militias, and similar issues. Confusion over the definition of