The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 258
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
pelling way Mayo's writing reminds us of common American patterns
of thought in the late nineteenth century.
Mayo emerges as an almost archetypal missionary reformer. If this
northern clergyman was more discerning about southern civilization
and less patronizing than most, he was also dreadfully earnest in his
conviction that the South needed to be uplifted to a higher plane of
civilization. His belief that this uplifting process could be achieved
rested upon the intertwined notions that man was perfectable and that
this perfectability depended upon the correct manipulation of the
human environment. In Mayo's theory the South's environment would
be fundamentally changed for the better by industrialization and by
the use of the railroad, which he described as "the American John the
Baptist in the wilderness, sounding forth the oncoming of a Christian
civilization" (p. 26). Even more important than industrialization as
an agent of change, however, was to be the education of young south-
erners of both black and white races. Buttressing his arguments with
tables, lists, and discussion of scientific experiments, Mayo insisted that,
if young minds were properly trained, in time the possessors of these
young minds would become the leaders of southern society and would
remake the South into a land of morality, prosperity, and goodwill.
Women were the key to his hopes for southern education. Not only
were women the carriers of society's moral values, they had also proven
themselves ideal teachers in the difficult years since the Civil War. Be-
sides, Mayo seems to have believed that women deserved a more active
role in the emerging industrialized society, and to have foreseen that
women would dominate the new professional teaching class.
Many of these attitudes toward women teachers as well as Mayo's
theories of education are explained in the editor's well-written intro-
duction. This introduction adds to the image of Mayo as a reformer by
recounting his early and persistent involvement in reform movements.
If Mayo was a typical and persistent reformer, he did not approach
reform with an unchanging point of view. By the early 189os when he
wrote Southern Women his methods of achieving reform-industriali-
zation and changing the environment through education provided by
professional women teachers-and his scientific and statistical proof
of the value of these reforms clearly mark Mayo as a transitional figure
between the reformers of Reconstruction years and the Progressives of
the early twentieth century. Despite stale prose and outmoded ideas
about the South, Mayo's work still manages to illustrate the concepts
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/m1/294/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.