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BOOK REVIEWS183 lengthen. But caution, the American Revolutionary Bicentennial fast approaches. Samuel T. McSeveney Brooklyn College Reconstructing the Union: Theory and Policy during the Civil War. By Herman BeIz. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1969. Pp. ix, 336. $8.50.) Sixty years intervened between the first thin trickle of historical scholarship that concentrated on pre-Appomattox Reconstruction, and the second, even thinner, drops. The first group included analyses by Eben Greenough Scott (1895), Frederick W. Moore (1897), and Charles H. McCarthy (1901). Granting that many subsequent monographs or biographies touched implicitly on wartime Reconstruction themes, and that Wüliam B. Hesseltine's Lincoln and the War Governors (1948) illuminated explicitly a major phase of that large matter, another dozen years passed before Hesseltine's Lincoln's Plan of Reconstruction (1960) sketched overall national-political configurations. Since his latter entry, a third pride of scholars has made clear that no more decades or even years wül slip by without major digs into wartime Reconstruction. The profession is constructively awake to the fact that Reconstruction commenced the day after Sumter, not the day after Appomattox. Each in its way, estimates by Fawn Brodie, Martin Duberman, Daniel Elezar, W. McKee Evans, John Hope Franklin, William McFeely, James McPherson , Willie Lee Rose, Hans Trefousse, and Forrest Wood, among others, have enriched understanding of wartime men and measures that, often unintentionally, became part of Reconstruction policies and politics. Now, in Reconstructing the Union, Professor BeIz offers the first overview of Reconstruction's evolution from Sumter to Appomattox, seen primarily from the unquiet Potomac's shore. His tightly-constructed, literate narrative moves from the formation of war aims in 1861 to the achievement of müitary victory in 1865. The war's dynamic pressures are nowhere better visible than in Belz's description of the evolution of aims from the timid Crittenden resolution of 1861, to braver heights, including irreversible emancipation. His book improves substantially our understanding of the effective accord that obtained between Lincoln and congressional Republican leaders. BeIz' analysis of Lincoln's December, 1863, proclamation on pardon and restoration, and Congress's July, 1864, (Wade-Davis) reformulation on the same themes, should help further to uproot tenacious traditions concerning wartime constitutional-political relationships, including the nature and degree of intra-Republican differences and the character of nation-state interactions. Professor BeIz offers the best description in print of the Wade-Davis 184CIVIL WAR HISTORY bül, properly noting that substantively it differed remarkably little from Lincoln's December, 1863, statement, and that after all it did not result in party cleavage. Further, his political analysis marks how wartime Reconstruction diminished not all the vitality of states. No blueprint for a centralized Leviathan issued. Instead, astonishingly swiftly, wartime Reconstruction educated northern voters and legislators to the need of enlarging equality of men in state law, as a factor of müitary conquest and occupation, and as a necessary condition for keeping the Union together. He compellingly and convincingly describes how this great expansion of Unionists' horizons grew to be the dominant party's judgment, and, as we know, the nation's commitment , however temporary. Further to justify the Beveridge Prize he received, Professor BeIz makes clearer why in 1861 the Army was the only American institution that could develop techniques and amass talent appropriate to the myriad, unforeseeable problems known as Reconstruction. He makes a sharp division—too sharp in my judgment—between institutional and administrative capacities to cope with these problems, and the constitutionalism that allowed new institutions such as the Freedmen 's Bureau, opportunities to cope (245-246). But this is a matter of stress. More important, Professor BeIz substantively accepts the fact that the Civil War's crucible temporarily melted the anti-institutionalism of the Age of Jackson, so that, for a while at least, it separates sharply from Lincoln's time. And most important, he perceives clearly that when Lee surrendered, the price of swift Reconstruction was not Negro equality but equality before law for all men, with respect to law's very limited purposes and functions. Professor Belz's Reconstructing the Union has advanced the frontier of scholarship. His book will be a new base for continuing explorations of its...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 183-184
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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