All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Colin J Davis

Advisory Committee Members

Jordan R Bauer

Harriet E A Doss

Pamela S King

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2015

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Modern Atlanta contains very few physical representations of its history. This stems from an ideal created by businessmen and New South boosters who placed profits and capitalistic endeavors above history and tradition. After the Civil War when General William Tecumseh Sherman left the city of Atlanta in ashes, this ideal was put into practice. The emphases and style of both the physical and economic reconstruction show the beginnings of Atlanta’s future-orientation. Likewise, the urge to promote Atlanta and its economy through national and world expositions in the 1880’s and 1890’s illustrate how this ideal matured into second-nature. The three decades after the Civil War were crucial to Atlanta for creating a base for the city’s future-oriented spirit to thrive for over a century. This thesis hopes to add to the historiography on post-Civil War Atlanta by arguing that an Atlantan-style of Creative Destruction (modeled after Joseph Schumpeter’s idea pertaining to capitalism) was created after Sherman burned the city. It sparked a precedent of destroying the past in order to build for the future that still occurs today. It also argues that throughout the years between 1865 and 1895, Atlanta businessmen and boosters actively began to choose whichever history would provide the best economic situation for their city.

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