Date of Graduation

12-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

History

Advisor

Patrick G. Williams

Committee Member

Daniel E. Sutherland

Second Committee Member

Michael C. Pierce

Keywords

19th Century, Arkansas, Biography, Unionism, Unionist

Abstract

The gubernatorial administration of Isaac Murphy from 1864-1868, as Arkansas began emerging from the Civil War into Reconstruction, has had a thorough, if dated, examination in Arkansas historiography. However, Murphy’s life and pre-gubernatorial career, including his early political activities—being the first treasurer of Washington County, Arkansas (1836-1838), serving three terms in the Arkansas General Assembly (two in the House, 1846-1849, and one in the Senate, 1856-1857), and the totality of his action during both sessions of Arkansas’s Secession Convention (1861)—have been largely neglected. This thesis will additionally provide a biographical interpretation of Murphy necessary to fully understand his political actions—his life, personality, his much-vaunted sense of morality, and how his experiences informed his politics and decisions.

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