Zachary Dowdle

William Woods University


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 the development of western Texas in the late nineteenth century to an earlier period. In the autumn of 2014, Zachary moved to Columbia to study antebellum politics of slavery in Missouri.

Zachary is currently an Assistant Professor of History at William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri. He completed his PhD at the University of Missouri in the summer of 2019. His dissertation, “Reluctant Emancipator: James Sidney Rollins and the Politics of Slavery and Freedom in the Border South, 1838-1882,” examines the intersection of party politics, slavery, and economic development in nineteenth-century Missouri and the the Border South using the career of James Sidney Rollins as a lens. Rollins was a slave owner, a leading Whig politician, and pro-Unionist. He served as a representative at both the state and national levels, working to establish the University of Missouri in the 1830s and providing a crucial swing vote in Congress that approved the Thirteenth Amendment.

Zachary has published his work in the Missouri Historical Review and The Confluence journal, and presented his work at conferences in Columbia, New Orleans, and San Diego. He served as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the Kinder Institute for Constitutional Democracy, was the Goodrich Fellow at the State Historical Society of Missouri, and 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.