Marching in Step
Masculinity, Citizenship, and The Citadel in Post-World War II America

Alexander Macaulay

A military academy as a microcosm of modern American culture


"Macaulay presents this astute account of South Carolina's military college, The Citadel, within the framework of masculinity and shows how concerns over manliness fueled both the school's leaders' and its students' ideologies and actions and reflected American, southern, and South Carolinian anxieties about the tumultuous social and cultural transformations that followed World War II. This is an authoritative institutional history based on Macaulay's perceptive understanding of his alma mater . . . ."
—H. Michael Gelfand, American Historical Review

"In spite of being a recent Citadel graduate, Macaulay presents a remarkably objective look at this uniquely isolationist collegiate culture and its often-visceral reaction to the progressiveness of the outside world. A must read for any student of the modern South or civil-military relations."
Choice magazine

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Combining the nuanced perspective of an insider with the critical distance of a historian, Alexander Macaulay examines The Citadel’s reactions to major shifts in postwar life, from the rise of the counterculture to the demise of the Cold War.

The Citadel is widely considered one of the most traditional institutions in America and a bastion of southern conservatism. In Marching in Step Macaulay argues that The Citadel has actually experienced many changes since World War II—changes that often tell us as much about the United States as about the American South.

Macaulay explores how The Citadel was often an undiluted showcase for national debates over who deserved full recognition as a citizen—most famously first for black men and later for women. As the boundaries regarding race, gender, and citizenship were drawn and redrawn, Macaulay says, attitudes at The Citadel reflected rather than stood apart from those of mainstream America. In this study of an iconic American institution, Macaulay also raises questions over issues of southern distinctiveness and sheds light on the South’s real and imagined relationship with the rest of America.

Politics and Culture in the Twentieth-Century South

Page count: 308 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


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Alexander Macaulay was a cadet at The Citadel when the first woman enrolled there. He is an associate professor of history at Western Carolina University.