Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in History

First Advisor

Ted Ownby

Second Advisor

Jarod Roll

Third Advisor

Rebecca Marchiel

School

University of Mississippi

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

This thesis connects late nineteenth-century southern Democrat and former Confederate L.Q.C. Lamar to the status politics of the Northeastern “small imperialist elite.” Moreover, this work traces Senator, Secretary of the Interior, and Associate Justice Lamar’s legacies in American political thought, such as a regional memorialization and the example of his national influence through the policies of President Theodore Roosevelt specifically. Though he inspired generations of politicians with varying views, Lamar himself maintained a strict constructionist political philosophy and worked for home rule throughout his career. Scholars argue for Lamar as a moderate symbol of national reconciliation due to his eulogy for Charles Sumner or as a master manipulator of innocent Northern politicians. I specifically challenge moderate interpretations by illustrating Lamar’s lifelong commitment to states’ rights and work to ensure southern home rule. This scholarship also brings into question the findings of revisionist scholars through showing that rather than manipulating Northern elites, Lamar appealed to them through his self-fashioning as an intellectual or “philosopher-statesman” who was above corruption. Though Mississippians continued to associate Lamar with slavery and secession following his death in 1893, the senator is for the most part honored nationally as a centrist or progressive and as separate from sectional concerns.

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