Men and Women of Their Own Kind
Historians and Antebellum Reform
|George Mason University
|Dr. Jane Turner Censer
|Master of Arts
This thesis traces the historiography of antebellum reform from its origins in Gilbert Barnes's rebellion from the materialist reductionism of the Progressives to the end of the twentieth century. The focus is the ideas of the historians at the center of the historiography, not a summary of every work in the field. The works of Gilbert Barnes, Alice Felt Tyler, Whitney Cross, C. S. Griffin, Donald Mathews, Paul Johnson, Ronald Walters, George Thomas, Robert Abzug, Steven Mintz, and John Quist, among many others, are discussed. In particular, the thesis examines the social control interpretation and its transformation into social organization under more sympathetic historians in the 1970s. The author found the state of the historiography at century's end to be healthy with a promising future.