Cracking the Solid South: The Life of John Fletcher Hanson, Father of Georgia Tech

Cracking the Solid South: The Life of John Fletcher Hanson, Father of Georgia Tech

by Lee C. Dunn


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John Fletcher Hanson was a rare combination of industrialist, journalist, and orator who spent most of his life in Macon, Georgia, rising from the ashes of the Civil War to become the leading voice of the New South. Many have assigned that role to Henry Grady, but while Grady was talking about a New South, Hanson was building one, by creating jobs, promoting Southern industrialization, and advancing educational opportunities.

Hanson, commonly referred to as “the Major” throughout his lifetime, founded Bibb Manufacturing and grew it into a textile empire, which stands beside his most enduring legacy, the Georgia Institute of Technology. Later, as president of the Central of Georgia Railway and the Ocean Steamship Company, he strengthened the backbone of the state’s transportation network.

During the 1880s Hanson owned the Macon Telegraph and used it to challenge conventional Southern ideology about economics, race, and the solid Democratic stronghold on the South. While also fighting for a pro-business platform, he became a Republican and worked with some of the most influential men of the Gilded Age.

Georgia’s post-Civil War history cannot be fully understood without examining the life of J. F. Hanson, its most important New South advocate and industrialist. In bringing this remarkable man and his accomplishments to light for the first time, Cracking the Solid South paints an absorbing picture of the economic, political, and social struggles that confronted Georgia after the Civil War and of the many ways one man shaped the course of the state’s history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780881465624
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Publication date: 05/02/2016
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,257,304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Lee C. Dunn has researched and spoken about Southern history, garden and landscape history, and genealogy for more than twenty years. She has been deeply involved in promoting the preservation and awareness of Southern gardens and landscapes for fifteen years though The Garden Club of Georgia and the Southern Garden History Society. Dunn lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Acknowledgments ix

Foreword xv

Introduction 1

1 The Hansons 8

2 The Bibb 26

3 Battle Lines 47

4 The Battle Continues 65

5 Georgia Tech 88

6 Growing Pains 105

7 The Tariff 125

8 A Switch in Parties 141

9 The National Stage 165

10 New Industries 190

11 The War on Corporations 220

Epilogue 244

Bibliography 249

Index 261

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