Term of Award

Summer 1969

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of History

Committee Chair

J. P. Cochran

Committee Member 1


Committee Member 2

Jack Averitt


The purpose of this study of Walter Barnard Hill (1851-1905), Macon lawyer and Chancellor of the University of Georgia, is to explore his ideas on court reform, the labor problem, the Negro question, and southern education. Based primarily on his public statements, the study will show that when Hill considered each of these social issues he was concerned with the rights of the individual. According to Ralph H. Gabriel, a liberal in late nineteenth-century America was one who believed that individuals could alter the course of their lives and that the state or the group should help persons achieve their greatest potential as human beings. In an analysis of Hill,s ideas, I shall suggest that to a degree Hill approached Gabriel's definition. This study, however, will also show that Hill was a southerner who lived and worked within a conservative atmosphere and even shared with his associates some of their prejudice against the Negro. But, unlike many. Hill did not allow his personal feelings to dominate him. Thus, although Hill eluded Gabriel's definition of a liberal, the Georgian merits credit for his openmindedness and humanitarianism. On the basis of the thesis' conclusions, I have chosen to label Hill a constructive southern American.

Because of G. Ray Mathis' recent dissertation on Hill's administration at the University of Georgia, I have de-emphasized the chancellorship and have attempted to study an unworked area of Hill's contribution by concentrating upon his concepts of human rights. Therefore, in this study. Hill is treated as a leader in public education rather than as a university administrator.

For consideration and assistance in this undertaking, I wish to thank each member of the graduate faculty of the history department of Georgia Southern College, especially Dr. John Perry Cochran, who as my major professor has given invaluable guidance and encouragement during each stage of the completion of the study. For aid in the collection of materials for research, I am grateful to Mrs. Lilla Hawes and her staff at the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah, to Mr. John Bonner and Mrs. Susan B. Tate of the special collections division of the University of Georgia Libraries in Athens, and to Mrs. Mildred B. Sanders of the Georgia Southern College Library in Statesboro, I also wish to thank Mr. Brian S. Brown of Atlanta and Mrs. Walter B. Hill, Jr. of Clarkesville, who have kindly allowed me to examine some of the Hill family papers. Finally, I am indebted to my family for their assistance, patience, and understanding.

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