restricted access Reconstruction: After the Civil War (review)
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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 this book. But we are still badly in need of a study of Texas during Reconstruction, a study which will avoid the outworn clichés of almost eighty years. J. Rogers Holltngsworth University of Illinois Reconstruction: Afterthe Civil War. By John Hope Franklin. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961. Pp. xi, 258. $5.00 cloth, $1.75 paper.) In this work, without footnotes but with a significant list of suggested readings , die author is in harmony generally with revisionist viewpoints of the era —though his revision is more general and inclusive than one finds elsewhere. Special attention is paid to the period in the South immediately following the war as one during which the groundwork was laid for Radical Reconstruction . The Confederates controlled their own governments. "White manhood suffrage was the basis of the franchise; violence against the Freedmen's Bureau, the philanthropists from the North, the United States Army, and the former slaves was rampant." The work of the Freedmen's Bureau is highly regarded and criticisms of it by Southerners are generally quickly disparaged. The "black codes" are viewed in a highly unfavorable light. Neither the Bureau or the "codes" are analyzed objectively. The Bureau was beneficial in some ways and the "codes" are open to criticism in some respects, though some provisions of the latter were partly the result of unstable conditions which Bureau policies had encouraged. Radical Reconstruction is looked upon as just and necessary, though the author grants that political motives were partly responsible for it and that there was opposition to Negro suffrage within Northern states. The provisions of Radical governments in the South for public education, welfare programs, and other reforms are praised. It is granted tiiat their corruption was a convenient handle which tiieir opponents could seize, but more emphasis is placed upon the necessity for increased expenditures than upon the degree of corruption. It is valid to point out that this low tone of public morality was national in scope. Yet this reviewer has never been able to find any eight Northern states where it was as low as in eight of the Southern ones. That not all Northerners in the South were carpetbaggers, that not infrequendy Southerners cooperated with carpetbaggers, and that Negroes who held the higher offices in tiie South were generally well educated, are points convincingly presented. The statement that Tennessee was never subjected to Radical Reconstruction by Congress is true, but to state (p. 195) that "former Confederates were always eligible and, indeed, did participate in the affairs of government there" is to ignore the sweeping disfranchising provisions imposed upon tiiem in that state. The audior is so partial to the Union Leagues as salutary agents of political education for tiie freedmen tiiat he dismisses claims of violence against their members as "greatly exaggerated" by disfranchised whites...


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