Splendid Failure Postwar Reconstruction in the American South

ISBN-10: 1566637392

ISBN-13: 9781566637398

Edition: 2007

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Since the civil rights era of the 1960s, revisionist historians have been sympathetic to the racial justice motivations of the Radical Republican Reconstruction policies that followed the Civil War. But this emphasis on positive goals and accomplishments has obscured the role of the Republicans in the overthrow of their own program. Rich with insight, Michael Fitzgerald's new interpretation of Reconstruction shows how the internal dynamics of this first freedom movement played into the hands of white racist reactionaries in the South. Splendid Failure describes the skill with which the postwar freedpeople pursued an agenda of racial justice, accurately perceiving that this was the only issue that mattered in the new South. But in acting on this insight-demanding representation in office and greater civil rights protections-they antagonized the Northern support they needed to survive, and fed a gathering racial backlash. Thus, Mr. Fitzgerald argues, Southern Republicans set the stage for the explosion that swept them from power and resulted in Northern acquiescence to the bloody repression of voting rights. The failed strategy offers a chastening example for present-day proponents of racial equality. American Ways Series.
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Book details

List price: $16.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Ivan R. Dee Publisher
Publication date: 6/19/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

To Civil War: What Slavery Did
Resistance, unity, and diversity in the enslaved population
White Southerners and the pro-slavery consensus: the plantation elite and the nonslaveholding majority. Whigs, Democrats, and the struggle over secession
The crisis of up-country society and the emergence of Unionist disaffection
Slavery under the strain of war
National Politics: Andrew Johnson and the Lost Compromise
The Northern majority moves toward emancipation
Presidential Reconstruction from Lincoln to Johnson, Black Codes, and Conservative rule
Johnson vs. the Republican Congress: the Northern electorate decides
Black suffrage and Military Reconstruction
Emancipation and Terror in the Plantation South
Rebuilding the slave-style plantation-gang labor and tight control
Politicization of the freedpeople and the transition to decentralized tenant farming
Sharecropping and the emergence of Klan-style terrorism
Establishing the Reconstruction Governments
Congressional Reconstruction, goals, and mechanics
Institutionalizing change at the constitutional conventions
The interracial Republican coalition
Conservative backlash
Grant's election and the confirmation of the Reconstruction order
Railroads, Development, and Reconstructing Society
The search for native white support
Whiggish moderates and economic development: railroads as Southern panacea
Issuing bonds and financial complications
The corruption issue, civil rights, and the national context
Race, Faction, and Grant
The Grant administration and moderate whites
Radical reaction and black empowerment
The struggle for leadership and federal patronage, faction, and class in the black community
The Liberal Republican revolt, the Klan issue, and Grant's reelection
Gender, Race, and Civil Society in the Reconstruction South
Freedwomen, domestic work, and family life
Local government, society, and public education in the Reconstruction South
Taxes, debt, law enforcement, and the legal structure of equality
The Politics of Slaughter: Depression and Reaction
Consolidation of African-American political influence
The panic of 1873
Resurgence of racist violence: the White Leagues
Collapse of the Northern Republican majority and abandonment of civil rights protection
The Democratic sweep of 1874, North and South, and its consequences
Endgame in South Carolina: 1877 and After
Governor Chamberlain and the reform initiative
The limits of Republican retrenchment and bipartisan anti-corruption politics
Terrorism, Rutherford B. Hayes, and the end of Reconstruction
Toward Jim Crow and the civil rights movement to come
A Note on Sources
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