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88civil war history himself than when on a military campaign" (p. 76). This description of Quitman further reinforces May's portrayal ofhim, in contrast to historians who have interpreted Southern radicals as demagogic misfits who suffered from a feeling ofsocial, political, or physiological inadequacies. In his desire to see Cuba annexed to the United States, Quitman became involved with filibustering activities, beginning with that of Narcisco López and ending with his leadership in a proposed expedition that never materialized. For his connection widi López, Quitman was indicted for violating the Neutrality Act of 1818, but the charges were dropped. When his own expedition, marked by caution and delay, failed to secure the quiescence ofthe Pierce administration, Quitman brought his military career to an end. May appears to agree with Potter again that Quitman was an expansionist politican rather than a true, daring filibusterer. For Quitman, military glory and political ambition had priority over management ofhis three plantations and numerous slaves. Quitman, who resided in Natchez, visited his plantations occasionally, but the supervision was conducted by others. He was "too paternalistic to be an unmitigated capitalist" (p. xv); yet he was too entrepreneurial to be described as antibourgeois. Moreover, he had little or no reservations about slavery. May's biography is well written but very detailed in places. Some ofthe general history could have been shortened, as the book will be of chief value to scholars, especially those interested in the Old Soutìi. Thelma Jennings Middle Tennessee State University The Confederate Governors. Edited by W. Buck Yearns. (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1985. Pp. 295. $27.50.) No other key set offigures in the briefhistory ofthe Confederacy has been so neglected as the war governors. Ifwe remember them at all, it is usually for their selfish particularism, dogmatic constitutionalism, and flamboyant localism. Once cast in this mold by Frank L. Owsley's very influential study, State Rights in the Confederacy (1925), the governors were fixed as narrow-minded obstructionists who refused to place the needs ofthe central Confederate government above the interests of the individual states. Quite a different image emerges from the essays in The Confederate Governors. The thirteen essayists, one for each of the Confederate states (including Kentucky and Missouri), argue persuasively that most of the governors played a positive and indispensable role in the Confederate war effort. Taken collectively, the essays establish that three-fourths of the governors can be classified as ardent Southern nationalists who, even at the risk oflosing support in their respective states, cooperated fully with Confederate authorities or indicated a willingness to do so. The governors were usually more nationalistic than their state legislatures. Despite adeeply rooted BOOK reviews89 Southern fear ofcentralized power, and the obvious lack ofany precedents to guide them, they boldly expanded executive powers beyond anything envisioned in the antebellum years. It was the governors who initiated and tried to coordinate wide-ranging programs in such fundamental areas as raising and supplying troops, financing the war at the state level, and providing economic relieffor soldiers' families and civilians. The obstreperous and backbiting image of the Confederate governors rests almost entirely upon the performances of just two men, Zebulon Vance of North Carolina and Joseph Brown of Georgia. This image, however , was a carefully cultivated one which often masked very positive contributions to the Confederacy. Vance, for example, headed a government that provided the Confederacy with seven thousand more conscripts than any other Southern state. Both Vance and Brown shrewdly projected themselves as tireless defenders ofindividual liberties against the centralizing tendencies ofthe Richmond government. By so doing they were able to deflect voter resentments over their own centralizing state governments onto the distant authorities in Richmond. This was the key to their political success and, in particular, it enabled them to retain the support of the yeomanry. The loss ofthat supportwas instrumental in the mid-wardefeats of such otherwise effective pro-Richmond governors as John Letcher of Virginia and John G. Shorter ofAlabama. The Confederate Governors makes a welcome contribution to Confederate historiography. Nonetheless, two reservations are in order. As a consequence ofthe chapters being alphabetized by individual states, fundamental distinctions between die lower, upper, and border South...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 88-89
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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