Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Congratulations to Matthew Menarchek for Defending his MA Thesis

The history department congratulations Matthew Menarchek, who recently defended his MA thesis, entitled “Toward a New South: Huntsville, Alabama, 1804-1890.”

This thesis analyzes the commercial and industrial development in Huntsville, Alabama, from its settlement through the late nineteenth century. This study examines the role of prominent residents in bringing change to a southern city based on its relationship with agriculture, land development, and slavery. This work shows how Huntsville’s agricultural and commercial elite sought public education, internal improvements, commerce, and manufacturing. These planter-capitalists succeeded in transitioning Huntsville from an agricultural economy to a more diversified market economy by the 1850s. The city’s development provides a case study of how New South elements developed within Old South society.

Matthew, who recently won the department's Outstanding Graduate Achievement award, also worked for two years as the department's Graduate Research Assistant. His major project during this time was conducting research for a federal judicial case involving taxation and public education in Alabama. He also engaged in collaboration with the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau to highlight local Civil War tourist attractions and conducted specialized research for professors.

Matthew will attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville beginning this autumn to pursue a PhD in history, specializing in Jacksonian America.

Congratulations, Matthew!

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