Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Kyna Shelley

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Holly Foster

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Lilian Hill

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Thomas O'Brien

Committee Member 4 School



This endeavor reviews the mindsets and ideologies emerging from the South in the era known as "King Cotton," a time which predated the American Civil War and in which cotton was the primary export of the South. It is historically relevant to Higher Education in that it views this mindset through the eyes of young, white, single males and in particular, one male, a student of Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi. This description will focus on the years from 1850 to 1860 and this male population. This in no way degrades or neglects the contribution or inclusion of women in Mississippi’s educational history, but at the time reflects the overall male-dominated focus of the South, and Mississippi in particular, when considering this era of education. In fact, Mississippi College has many factors which set it apart, one, that it was the first co-educational college in America to grant a Bache laurate degree to a woman, another, the fact that it is the oldest continuous college in the state of Mississippi and that it is, arguably, the second oldest Baptist institution of higher learning within America. This investigation, however, will delve into the lives of the young men that attended it on the eve of the Civil War and reveal their mindset and manner of life. Archival testimony as well as historical research will serve as the basis of this revelation.

This investigation will review the writings of individuals who have been dead for over one hundred and fifty years as well as evidence from that period. It does not seek to justify the war on either side, but merely to dust off the forgetfulness of a century and a half to reveal the lives of those young men and what it was like to be a male student in the South in the period prior to the Civil War. It will be an interesting journey as evidences are reviewed and existing ideologies challenged. In the end, the facts will stand for themselves and the readers will be left to interpret the findings on their own.