Though a native Texan, Zachary went to high school in Albuquerque and worked in the bustling real estate industry in Boston before returning to his home state to earn his B.A. and M.A. in American history at Angelo State University. While working on his master’s degree, he realized that his increasing interest in politics, slavery, and economic development meant he would need to shift his focus from western Texas in late nineteenth century to an earlier period. In the autumn of 2014, Zachary moved to Columbia to study under the guidance of Professor Jeffrey Pasley.
His dissertation concentrates on the politics of slavery and the Whiggish program of economic development in the Upper South from the inception of the second party system through the end of the Civil War using as a lens the career of James Sidney Rollins, a slave owner who was a leading Whig politician and pro-Unionist. Rollins operated a large plantation, maintained an active law practice, worked to establish the University of Missouri in the 1830s, and vigorously promoted the development of railroads in Missouri. Additionally, he served at both the state and national levels as a legislator promoting issues related to economic development. As a congressman from Missouri, Rollins provided the crucial swing vote in the House of Representatives that approved the Thirteenth Amendment and abolished slavery in the United States.
Zachary has presented his work at conferences in Columbia, New Orleans, and San Diego. He has served as a Graduate Fellow for the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy as well as the Goodrich Fellow at the State Historical Society of Missouri. He has also been a Fellow at the JMC Summer Institute in Philadelphia. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors, either cycling on country roads or hiking along local trails.
Recent Awards and Fellowships:
- Goodrich Research Fellow, State Historical Society of Missouri, 2017-18
- Kinder Graduate Fellow, Spring 2017
- Morrow Missouri History Student Prize, March 2016
- JMC Summer Institute Fellow, Philadelphia, PA, August 2015
- “‘Not in the Habit of Sleeping with Men’: Politics and Masculinity in Antebellum Missouri,” paper, Missouri Conference on History, Columbia, MO. (March 2016)
- "In the Land of Sandstorms and Sand: Locating Texas Technological College in 1923," paper, West Texas Historical Association Annual Meeting, Odessa, TX. (April 2014)
- "'How Do You Stand?': FLPA, Socialists, and the Antiwar Movement," paper, Southwest Social Science Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA. (April 2013)
Dowdle, Zachary. “‘In the Land of Sandstorms and Sand’: Locating Texas Technological College in 1923.” West Texas Historical Review 90 (2014): 75-102.