Military Education and the Emerging Middle Class in the Old South

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.