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By Thomas E. Schott

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Additional resources for Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia: A Biography

Sample text

Recognition was life's blood to him. , 68. 4. AHS to LS, February 3, 1851, in Stephens Papers, MC. Page 20 What caused this crippling sensitivity? It was a combination of factors. In the first place, he looked like a freak. His head was small, with protruding, slightly oversized ears. A pair of blazing black eyes, wide-set on either side of a thin, sharp nose, dominated his ashen countenance. Thin, pale lips turned downward at the corners. His long, bony fingers looked like claws attached to the ends of broomstick arms.

Jane B. Jones, November 10, 1824, in Stephens Papers, LC; "Finkle" to "Giles," November 11, 1863, in Johnston and Browne, Stephens, 33. Page 7 despite his unusual manner in the classroom. 11 Had it been imagined, hazardous duty pay for southern field-school teachers in the early nineteenth century might have been a worthwhile innovation. The practice of "turning out," physically keeping a teacher out of school until he declared a holiday, was a universal prank. And the rule of the rod, however efficacious for the advancement of knowledge, exerted a tenuous and always challengeable discipline, its effectiveness decreasing in direct proportion to the size and belligerence of the recalcitrant scholar.

Power for its own sake never drove Stephens, nor did position. But he craved, indeed required, the recognition that went with both. Recognition was life's blood to him. , 68. 4. AHS to LS, February 3, 1851, in Stephens Papers, MC. Page 20 What caused this crippling sensitivity? It was a combination of factors. In the first place, he looked like a freak. His head was small, with protruding, slightly oversized ears. A pair of blazing black eyes, wide-set on either side of a thin, sharp nose, dominated his ashen countenance.

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