Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The purpose of this study is to discover the causes and consequences of alcoholism at old Fort Hays. Unlikely to encounter Indians, soldiers longed for entertainment to fill the void of boredom in their lives. Serving as a regional supply center and railroad subsidy, Fort Hays deployed the majority of its soldiers as laborers, serving nearby Hays City, the railroad, and the fort itself. The tedious, routine-driven lifestyle enforced by Fort Hays commanders, in combination with feelings of frontier isolation, often led to resistance in the form of alcohol usage. Utilizing court-martial records, Post Orders, and soldier journals, this thesis argues that the barren circumstances at Fort Hays created an atmosphere ripe for alcohol abuse. Additionally, this study outlines the history of alcohol usage within American culture, the consequences of alcohol abuse in the frontier military, and the effects of excessive alcoholism on both military and Kansas temperance policies.


Dr. David Goodlett

Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type



© 2012 Ryan M. Kennedy


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