Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

History

Advisor

Dr. Orville Vernon Burton

Committee Member

Dr. Rod Andrew, Jr.

Committee Member

Dr. H. Roger Grant

Abstract

The New South, the period of southern history, lasting from the end of Reconstruction to the end of World War II was defined by urbanization and industrialization. Protestantism influenced the development of the New South by instilling working discipline in the southern labor force. Protestantism encouraged workers to embrace earthly vocations as divine callings, sanctifying even the most mundane activities. Protestant ministers became allies with industrialists and boosters in the process of creating the New South.

The career of Bob Jones, a fundamentalist Methodist evangelist from Alabama, demonstrates the close connection between industrialization and religion. Jones believed that success was defined by 'knowing God's will and doing it'; rather than finding success in material gains, he argued that success was fulfilling the divine calling for one's life. Jones also campaigned for village values and against 'vices' such as dancing, card playing, and drinking. Furthermore, his evangelistic campaigns, which were highly organized and results oriented, embodied the spirit of the industrializing South Bob Jones supported the development of the New South through his teachings about success, his campaigns against 'vice,' and his organized and efficient campaigns.

While Jones worked to make the South 'New,' he also helped to keep the South 'southern.' Bob Jones believed in white male supremacy. He reaffirmed traditional beliefs about women's place as protectors of moral virtue, and challenged men to be industrious, sober, and pious. Jones also fought to preserve segregation in the South. He maintained segregation at his campaign meetings, and he opposed integration. In an infamous 1960 sermon, titled 'Is Segregation Scriptural?,' Jones argued that God was the author of segregation, and that attempts to challenge the racial status quo were Satanic. His support of white supremacy and male dominance suggests that religion had an important role in justifying and preserving southern cultural beliefs.

Bob Jones helps to explain what makes the South 'distinctive.' He became a supporter of the values of industrialization. Jones and other Protestant leaders inculcated middle-class values into southerners. As he participated in the modernization of the South Jones helped to maintain less 'modern' aspects of the South. He resisted gender and racial equality, and preserved white male supremacy in the South.

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