restricted access Texas Under the Carpetbaggers (review)
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346CIVIL WAR history (p. 287), "were in jail or had departed to more congenial climes," although the city's original bad repute lingered on. While Peekskill's region remained an anti-Republican stronghold diroughout the war, its alleged "secesh" elements were stifled informally but decisively. The town's Democratic, anti-war editor, alarmed by threats, suffered a complete mental breakdown less than two weeks after the start of hostilities. Under new management his paper adopted a less outspoken tone. Later most townsfolk apparently were far from pleased on hearing that one native son—a West Pointer—had defected to the Confederacy. Another such problem was taxation. Wartime income taxes were bad enough. Local levies, boosted by enlistment bounties, also climbed alarmingly . In Washington by 1864 they stood at 1 per cent of assessed property valuation; at the same time the township taxes in Peekskill's county threatened to approach 2& to 4 per cent. The economic base initially slumped in both places. At Washington most war contracts were let to large northern companies rather than local firms. But by 1862 a wartime boom in real estate, transportation, lodging, food, and other consumer goods and services had begun. Peekskill's flourishing plow factory closed in 1861, nearly two-thirds of its trade having been with the South. Local foundries expanded with improved conditions after 1863, although they held few if any government contracts. "The war had littie effect on the merchant class," reports Naylor (p. 22), "except to increase their business and profits." The town's businessmen remained on hand to capitalize, virtually all of them having sidestepped conscription by paying exemptions or buying substitutes. Finally, both authors conclude (surprisingly?) that for most permanent residents of either community the day-to-day routine of life followed its customary pattern—Civil War or no Civil War. Robert Dykstra State University of Iowa Texas Under the Carpetbaggers. By W. C. Nunn. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962. Pp. 304. $5.00.) Whtle much of the nation has been busily celebrating the Civil War Centennial , a number of writers have been concentrating on the period immediately following the war. As a result, we now have more studies emerging on Reconstruction tiian we have had in many decades. This book deals widi die period (1870-1874) when Edmund J. Davis served as Radical governor of Texas. Though die author discusses most phases of life in Texas during tiiose years, his best chapters are those which deal widi the social and economic complexities of the Lone Star State. In die opinion of this reviewer, however, the book is distinctive not so much by what it contains as by its shortcomings. In the first place, the title is inappropriate. This is not a study about carpetbaggers. In more instances than not, the people labeled carpetbaggers were Southern born and Southern Book Reviews347 bred, hardly qualifications of what we have generally accepted as a definition of carpetbagger. Secondly, this book's interpretations, citations, and bibliography contain no evidence that Mr. Nunn is familiar with any of the studies on Reconstruction which have appeared during the last two decades. While the book contains much factual information, its reasoning leaves lots to be desired. If the author is going to argue that the Freedmen's Bureau "became a tool of the ultrapartisan Republicans of the North," could he not find a better source to cite than a general textbook in American history? For a book which is allegedly about a state ruled by carpetbaggers and which discusses business developments at length, there is surprisingly little attention devoted to the ownership and acquisition of property during this period. The author, like many previous writers, emphasizes the widespread corruption and extravagance in government. But how did the Davis government comparewith others? Why is thereno effort to compare the efficiency of theDavis administration with those which preceded and followed it? If the words "radical" and "conservative" must be used with regularity, should there not be an effort to define these terms? Do such labels actually fit people as easily as Mr. Nunn suggests, or were not people generally conservative on some issues and radical on others? Scholars interested in Texas history will want to refer to...