Thinking Confederates: Academia and the Idea of Progress in the New South

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In the wake of their defeat in the Civil War, many southern intellectuals recognized that their institutions had failed to supply antebellum graduates with the skills needed to compete with the North. Thus, educators who had previously served as Confederate officers led an effort to promote academic reform throughout the region.In Thinking Confederates, Dan R. Frost details how these men set about transforming southern higher education, shifting their schools from a classical orientation to a new emphasis on science and engineering. Although they espoused a reverence for the past, they recognized that the eradication of slavery had been necessary for southern progress, and they upheld an idea of a New South that embraced beliefs both in the Lost Cause and in national reconciliation.