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BOOK REVIEWS285 for him, and, as a result, he strongly advocated black emigration. While others, like Martin, at times thought of colonization as a means of escaping discrimination, in the end they placed their faith in fundamental American statements on basic human rights and spurned emigration. Nor was Campbell, like the others, heavily involved in antislavery activities or in Reconstruction; in fact, he no longer lived in the United States after 1862. Pennington, the Crafts, Martin, and Day, to the contrary, all participated in politics or social uplift endeavors in the postwar South. The biographies in this book not only inform the reader about their subjects, but they expand related topics. The chapter on Campbell gives as much detail about Martin Delany's colonization efforts as it does about Campbell himself. Discussing John Martin's life in Britain during the Civil War, Blackett writes a brief but insightful description of proConfederate sympathy in Parliament. His discussion of segregation in the Harrisburg school system presents a bleak picture which was undoubtedly all too common in American public education duringthelate nineteenth century. There are occasional slips, however. On page209, for instance, Blackett writes: "Even Lincoln had been forced to emancipate slaves in the District of Columbia." It would have been clearer to say that Lincoln signed the bill abolishing slavery in Washington, D.C, after he became convinced that it was constitutional—he held the bill for only two days before agreeing to it. Some readers might take exception to the statement that ". . . slavery and discrimination [emphasis added] were directly responsible for the war." (p. 202) Still, such minor criticisms are overshadowed by Blackett's effort to draw fair, vivid portraits of his subjects. In sum, Beating Against the Barriers is a worthwhile contribution to the literature of Afro-American history, and it is far superior to many recent books in that field. It expands our knowledge of blacks during the Civil War era and it makes us more aware that protest against slavery and discrimination were not voiced by acknowledged leaders of the black community alone. EuceneH. Berwancer Colorado State University The "Spider Web": Congress and Lobbying in the Age of Grant. By Margaret Susan Thompson. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1985. Pp. 288. $29.95.) Examining Congress during the Grant administration, historians typically try to explain policy outcomes (on Reconstruction, for example) through the analysis of party, faction, ideology, or personality. Rather 286CIVIL WAR HISTORY than focus on the daily rhythms of Congress—its committees, leadership , patronage system, and network of informal contacts—they highlight discrete events: legislative roll calls or partisan debates. In this masterful analysis, however, Margaret Susan Thompson suggests that studying the inner workings of Congress is just as essential as the analysis of traditional sources for understanding what policies eventually emerge from Congress. Thompson focuses her study on lobbying, the key and most misunderstood element in the inner makeup of the Grant era House of Representatives . As the responsibilities of government increased after the war with the implementation of Reconstruction and the rapid growth of the national economy, more and more people were directly affected by Congress's actions. While Congress represented geographically defined districts, nongeographic "interests" (railroads, veterans, civil service reformers ) lacked representation. Meanwhile the machinery of government was increasingly inadequate for a modernizing country. At each Congress, most members were freshmen with no expertise (or even staff) to help deal with the mountain of proposed new legislation. The answer was the lobby, men who served as agents of "interests" to advise the speaker on the merits of incoming freshmen (thus influencing committee assignments), provide information on the import of proposed legislation, and generally push to the forefront items they considered important. Long before the first roll call on an issue, crucial decisions had already been made. Although lobbyists could be corruptionists, their evaluation simply in moral terms is misguided, Thompson argues. Early students, likeWoodrow Wilson, of congressional behavior detested the lobby without understanding its role as a facilitator of congressional action, and this view still shapes our unfavorable image of the age of Grant. As Thompson shows, the absence of advice did not lead to better decisions but rather random, confused ones. Lobbying...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 285-287
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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