Southern Historian: Comer Vann Woodward Essay

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Vann Woodward quite possibly could have been one of the most influential southern historians of the post WWII Era. He spent a great deal of time writing in his ninety-one years. Haled as an inspiration in the field of Southern history, Woodward lived a modest life. He was a great teacher in the classroom and author of fourteen books and over a dozen journal articles. A life well spent in the pursuit of historical truth and expansion of Southern scholarship. His contemporaries benefited from his work, and they wrote in appreciation of Woodward. His influence has endured after his death and shall continue to inspire others in their pursuits. The life’s work of an historian endures the test of time. How does Woodward compare to …show more content…
Stylistically, he was a master of irony and counterpoint. Woodward taught at Johns Hopkins University from 1946 to 1961 and at Yale from 1961 to 1977, where he taught both graduate and undergraduate Yale students. The career that Woodward established at Yale helped to increase his influence on the scholarship of Southern history. Many of his former students went on to pursue careers in history. In wake of the Watergate scandal, the United States House Committee on the Judiciary asked Woodward for an historical study of misconduct in previous administrations and how the Presidents responded. Woodward led a group of fourteen historians and they produced a thorough 400-page report in less than four months, Responses of the Presidents to Charges of Misconduct. In 1978, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected Woodward for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities. His lecture, entitled “The European Vision of America,” and later incorporated into his book The Old World’s New World. John Herbert Roper in his biography of Woodward expressed a deep appreciation for the works of Woodward. Books such as Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel, Origins of the New South, and The Strange Career of Jim Crow, have effectively defined the terms of historical debate, often asking the “impertinent first question” that spurred other historians to seek fuller

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