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170CIVIL WAR HISTORY McFeely's volume will receive. He is harshly critical of Howard, in sharp contrast to John A. Carpenter's filiopietistic biography of 1964 (which curiously recognized that Howard did not always champion the freedmen, but defends the general for this fact). By omitting a discussion of the Bureau's educational work, McFeely gives a somewhat distorted picture. He recognizes the constraints under which Howard worked—constraints under which anyone who headed the Bureau would have worked. But he criticizes Howard for not rising above these political constraints, for not shouldering the moral responsibility which he earnestly—and erroneously—believed he did shoulder . McFeely concedes that had Howard resisted Johnson, it is not at all clear that he would have succeeded in advancing the freedmen's cause; but McFeely believes that if he had done so in the fall of 1865 he might have secured enough support among congressmen and influential businessmen-philanthropists to succeed. In any event, even if a challenge to Johnson had failed, things could not have been worse. I must confess to a feeling that McFeely tends unnecessarily to moralize , and make judgments based upon the perspective of the nineteen sixties, rather than restricting himself to the historical task of attempting to explain what really did happen in the eighteen sixties. On the other hand, McFeely does argue persuasively and convincingly that Howard failed to live up to his pious, paternalistic protestations of representing the interests of the freedmen. Moreover, this exciting and well-written volume opens up important new vistas in the writing of Reconstruction history that will challenge and stimulate scholars for years to come. Both Strange Enthusiasm and Yankee Stepfather are thoughtful works of scholarship that go far beyond the pieties of previous biographies , and attempt a realistic assessment of their subjects. BoUi illuminate far more than the specific topics under discussion. For both Higginson and Howard were each representative of an important segment of white public opinion and leadership. Higginson, in particular , was typical of a substantial class of anti-slavery leaders—exactly how typical we will know when Professor McPherson has completed his research on their post-Reconstruction careers. Thus, both volumes are significant contributions to die history of American race relations. Kent State University August Meier Unquiet Eagle: Memory and Desire in the Idea of American Freedom, 1815-1860. By Fred Somkin. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967. Pp. 233. $5.95.) During the past twenty years, the history of die United States between the War of 1812 and the Civil War has been fundamentally reinterpreted . The older historians of the Progressive tradition had viewed die BOOK REVIEWS171 period as one of democratic triumph, of strident self-confidence, and of optimistic faith in progress toward the realization of democratic and humanitarian objectives. Arthur Ekirch's compüation of expressions of belief in progress in a variety of contexts represented the culmination of this tradition in intellectual history (The Idea of Progress, 1944), Arthur Schlesingers Age of Jackson (1945) placed the drive for democratic politics at the center of the historical stage, arranging intellectual currents around it. In recent years, however, a number of historians have called attention to aspects of the period which, if they do not directly contradict the earlier interpretations, at least substantially qualify conceptions of the age as one of complacent optimism. The newer interpretations emphasize the fluidity and mobility of a rapidly expanding democratic society, and the consequent feelings of insecurity and guilt experienced by individuals cut adrift from traditional ways and loyalties. Marvin Meyers explored these themes in his Jacksonian Persuasion (1957), which pointed the way to Lee Benson's reassessment of political ideologies and interests in his The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy: New York as a Test Case (1961). Using the materials of fiction, David Brion Davis explored the literary preoccupation with violence and guilt in his Homicide in American Fiction (1957), and with fears of disloyalty and subversion in more recently published papers. David Donald explained abolitionism not as a confident crusade in the name of humanitarian democracy against an ancient evil, but as the last despairing gesture of a dying Federalism threatened with social and economic displacement (Lincoln Reconsidered, 1956). Fred...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 170-172
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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