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458Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril Beyond Redemption: Texas Democrats after Reconstruction. By Patrick G. Williams. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2007. Pp. 244. Illustrations, map, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 1-58544-573-8. $29.95, cloth.) As Reconstruction came to an end, Southern Democrats, also known as Redeemers , engaged in political strategies designed to help them reclaim their prewar status as members of the dominant party in the South. By the early 1 870s, they had accomplished their goals and Reconstruction came to a crashing halt in all but diree Soudiern states. Like dieir Southern brethren, Texas Democrats successfully ousted Radicals from state offices and began making plans to dismande Republican reforms passed during Governor E. J. Davis's administration. Scholars have examined in detail the demise of die nineteenth-century Republican Party in Texas, but few of them have studied the rise ofthe Democratic Party during the post-Reconstruction years. Patrick Williams's Beyond Redemption: Texas Democrats after Reconstruction fills this gap in Texas historiography by carefully examining the Democratic Party's reemergence in Texas during the late nineteenth century. Williams divides his study into two distinct parts. Part I, "Making Texas Safe for the Democracy," focuses on how Democrats seized control from the Republicans between 1872 and 1876 and solidified a power base that made them the most powerful political party in Texas for die next century. In this section, the author makes clear that the only factor uniting the Texas Democrats during the years of Reconstruction was their intense hatred of Radical Republicans. Beyond their disdain for Republicans, Democrats were divided into various regional factions; a characteristic that made Texas unique among the former states ofthe Confederacy in die post-Reconstruction era. Williams reveals that the state was basically comprised offour different sections: North Texas where Anglos made up the vast majority of the population; East Texas where the population contained a large population of African Americans; the West Texas frontier where Anglo settlements continued to suffer from frequent Indian raids; and the southern borderland region where Mexican Americans made up a significant part ofthe population. Each region had its own unique set of needs and problems, forcing Texas Democrats to deal with issues beyond the typical black and white racial tensions that existed in other Southern states. Yet, despite these differences, Texans could not escape their Southern roots. As a result, state Democrats had to address the issue of black suffrage and the spread of the cotton culture that followed the Civil War. Part II, "The Political Economy of Redemption," examines die policies that Democrats embraced after Redemption, focusing on how they shaped the Texas government's authority to tax and spend, cultivate economic growth, and promise social well-being. In his final analysis, the author reveals that continued divisions among Texas Democrats effectively compromised their abilities to govern the state. As a result, Texans suffered from a stagnant economy, a locally funded public educational system that produced low student achievement and high drop-out rates, limited public services, and citizenship rights that supported an adherence to the Southern ideal ofwhite supremacy. Williams's Beyond Redemption is a groundbreaking work that deserves the attention ofReconstruction scholars interested in the Texas Democratic Party during the 2??8Book Reviews459 Gilded Age. Even though the book can be tedious at times, academicians undoubtedly will appreciate the author's attention to detail and his impeccable research. Additionally, there are enough human interest stories widiin the narrative to keep the attention ofgeneral readers. Simply stated, this book is a must read for anyone who purports to study Texas history. Prairie View AafM UniversityKenneth W. Howell Buried in Bitter Waters: The Hidden History ofRacial Cleansing in America. By Elliott Jaspin. (NewYork: Basic Books, 2007. Pp. 348. Illustrations, map, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-46503-636-8. $26.95, cloth.) This book is both troubling and fascinating. It is part history, partjournalism, and part personal saga. Jaspin, ajournalist, stumbled upon a significant historical question: why did some communities in the United States experience a sudden, dramatic, and permanent decline in their black population. Furthermore, there seemed to be no historical memory ofthese demographic changes. After researching a number of diese communities,Jaspin concluded that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 458-459
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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