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182CIVIL WAR HISTORY railroad policy sought economic development, it did not, as in the past, seek future state income through careful state investment. Instead it catered to private ambitions and was an invitation to a proliferation of careless projects. Both parties accepted that invitation, and while Republicans also expanded state commitments, it was only Democratic commitments that were honored at the state's expense. In respect to the postwar status of blacks, the author stresses the continuation of Georgia's heritage of social welfare, and its substantial capitulation to the realities of emancipation and federal demands, while minimizing the related impact of radical Republicanism in the state. In any event, postwar Georgia did assume responsibility for the welfare and education of its new black citizenry, within the admittedly severe restraints of racism and segregation. As the state assumed these expanded obligations, however, it could make little progress. The citizenry and state debt had doubled while the tax base had been cut to less than onethird of its former amount. Although taxes were dramatically increased, those taxes went primarily to service the debt. Furthermore, therelative tax burden declined in the former slave counties (where there no longer were slaves to tax), but increased in the heavily white counties at a time when social services were not satisfactorily expanding. The era was a most inauspicious time for Republicans to have made theirbid, although they did succeed in shifting some burdens from the benefits toward the poor. Not until the 1880s would additional taxation underwrite a new reformism, with particular benefits for Confederate veterans, that preluded the Progressive era. Not until the New Deal would there be a watershed comparable to the Civil War. This is an original and important work that covers far more than can be mentioned in a brief review. The volume should be read by any serious student of the nineteenth-century South. Otto H. Olsen Northern Illinois University The Legal Fraternity and the Making of a New South Community, 1848-1882. By Gail Williams O'Brien. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986. Pp. 231. $23.50.) This study of Guilford County, North Carolina examines the development of a power-holding elite during the decades immediately preceding and following the Civil War. Like many other contemporary scholars , O'Brien argues that while the war was personally and economically traumatic for southerners, there were also strong threads of continuity between the "Old" South and the "New." One of these was the emergence of a power-holding class composed primarily of attorneys. Through quantitative analysis, O'Brien first identifies those who held BOOK REVIEWS183 power in Guilford County. By assigning points to various activities such as officeholding, partisan affairs, membership in social and economic organizations, and commemorative work, O'Brien was able to determine that lawyers had emerged as the most powerful group in Guilford County during the secession crisis and had replaced businessmen and planters as the movers and shakers of the community by the 1870s. Though not all attorneys were wealthy, it is not surprisingthat as a group lawyers possessed more land and personal property than did other occupational groups. O'Brien also found that in the post-war decades men achieved positions of power at a younger age than before the war. This was due in part to natural attrition among the members of the powerholding class before the war and to war-related deaths. But the author also found that young men born in other parts of the South or in the North gravitated to Guilford County and were able to achieve influential positions with ease during Reconstruction. Geographically and professionally tied to the county seat at Greensboro , lawyers were able to participate in formal and informal decision making to a greater degree than other occupational groups. Guilford County's brief experiment with two-partypolitics, the eventual domination of the Democratic party, and the Piedmont region's economic growth after the war further contributed to the rise of lawyers to positions of power. O'Brien is most convincing in describing Guilford County's social and political structure at various points and its transformation from an agrarian to an industrial community. She is less successful, however, in describing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 182-184
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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