Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Paul F. Paskoff


This work examines the emergence of organizational and bureaucratic ideas in the 19th-century South. It shows that organizational thinking took root in the antebellum South and grew during the Civil War. Many Southerners accepted the modern precepts of time, system, and bureaucratic control. They created of modern view of the world while incorporating slavery within this outlook. These same organizational ideals helped create a New South. The first section of this work examines how southern railroad managers introduced modern bureaucratic structures into their operations. At the same time, they incorporated slavery within this modern corporate structure. The second section examines the acceptance of modern ideas of organization, system, control, and technology by southern farmers and planters. Southern reformers transformed organizational ideals into a unique vision of modernization based on agriculture and slave labor. Agricultural reform, educational reform, and commercial conventions became the clearest manifestations of these new organizational ideals. The third section of this dissertation studies the growth of organizational and bureaucratic ideas during the Civil War. Southern railroads and the Confederate Ordnance Department reveal the failure and success respectively of organizational ideas during the war. Under the strain of war, southern railroads' bureaucratic structures collapsed. However, the Confederate Ordnance Department represented the greatest success the Confederacy had in organizing for war. The Ordnance Department incorporated the latest ideas of system, uniformity, and control associated with the American System of Manufacturing. The final section of this study examines how the organizational ideas that emerged during the antebellum period and during the war provided the framework for creating a New South. Railroad managers, agricultural reformers, and former Confederate Ordnance officers, all played a role in this transformation. Railroad managers continued to improve bureaucratic operations and acted upon the lessons they learned from the war. Many Confederate Ordnance officers became academics after the war and played a significant role in higher education reform. Agricultural reformers continued to preach the need for system, control and organization in southern agriculture. Organizational and bureaucratic ideas associated with railroads, plantations, and war provided the foundations for a New South.