In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

370CIVIL WAR HISTORY Crow in South Carolina. Sensing that repression of blacks was wrong and possibly dangerous, he tried to think through the causes and alternate solutions. Unfortunately, however noble were his thoughts, they were not very clear, certainly not clear enough to be published without considerable rewriting. All of which raises the question of why the essay has now been published with notes and introduction by Professor Moore. It is the latest of the extended footnotes to C. Vann Woodward's Strange Career of Jim Crow which describes the "forgotten alternatives" in southern race relations in the 1890's. This reviewer seriously questions whether Seabrook's work could not better be relegated to shorter, more conventional footnote form. PubUcation of such a long-lost document is justified only if it helps us to understand what happened at the time, if it tells us significant information about an important author, if it puts new Ught on its subject or if it corrects an old misunderstanding. Before and After does none of these. The editor's introduction is a useful summary of the advance of Jim Crow in South Carolina, culminating in the 1895 Negro-disfranchisement constitution . Because Seabrook was not a poUtical man, however, an analysis of the opposing race ideologies would have added more significant background . To illustrate the abandonment of the Negro by conservative white spokesmen, the editor inadvertantly chose a Charleston News and Courier item written by Edward W. Blyden, a radical black nationalist from Liberia then visiting Charleston on behalf of the American Colonization Society. The editorial work on Seabrook's essay displays an uneven use of [sic]. The editor, despite all the usage manuals, insisted on inserting [as] after "equally." The index refers predominantly to matter in the introduction. Edwin S. Redkey Yale University The Reconstruction Amendments Debates. Edited by AUred Avins. (Richmond: Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government, 1967. Pp. xxxü, 764. Cloth, $4.50. Paper, $3.00.) A singular tome, this—at once highly useful and immensely vexing to try to use. The editor, a law professor at Memphis State University (aided, surely by a small army of overworked research assistants), ransacked 20,000 pages of congressional debates from 1849 to 1875 in search of material that would "cast reflected light" on the three reconstruction amendments. The resulting 743 Globe-size pages are jam-packed with evidence heretofore entombed in larger libraries. Objection may lie, however, to the use of 'legal relevance" as the sole selection criterion and to the belief that "material of a purely historical or political interest is not sufficiently helpful in the interpretation of the amendments." Men, after all are historical beings, and the framers' knowledge and sense of history certainly influenced the laws they wrought. The debates are presented chronologically, which is good, as ROOK REVIEWS371 is the quarantining of editorial observations in a thirty-page and syntactically gothic reader's guide at the front. The forty-title list of recommended readings (over half, by the by, are the editor's own articles), contains few of the well-known histories, biographies, and memoirs that might help "cast reflected light" on the framers' intentions. The two indices and the table of contents are of some use, but the reader will still have a time getting the hang of the page format; that once accomplished, his ocular stamina wiD be taxed mightily by die mini-type. The Commission clearly doubts die correctness of modern Supreme Court rulings on these amendments, and hopes tiie book will "enable interested persons to determine for diemselves" whetiier the justices observed the framers' intent. The book succeeds and fails. Editorial scissors have clearly not played snip-and-slant with the debates. But in the reader's guide the guide's hand lies heavy on the reader's shoulder with hints Uke "hardly subject to misunderstanding," the "statute faithfully reflects the original intent ," and "It is quite clear that he [a framer] did not beheve that Supreme Court decisions were the Taw of the land.' " There are factual errors, too. The 3/5 clause did not count a slave as 3/5 of a person, and the First Reconstruction Act did not prescribe "universal adult male suffrage...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 370-371
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.