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BOOK REVIEWS353 Here Bowen modifies the views of historians who see Johnson's break with his moderate "associates"as the result ofpolitical and personal ineptitude . Johnson, he argues, was a masterful politician who could not have survived so long or succeeded so well if he had been the outsider described by historian Eric McKitrick. Rather, moderates and Johnson failed to understand the different meanings attached to the common lexicon they both used. When Johnson acted on the ideology behind his words, he disappointed moderates who felt deceived and betrayed. Interestingly, Bowen reminds us that a commonly shared belief in black inferiority could elicit a diverse number ofresponses to the problems of Reconstruction. That point alone should help us come to a better understanding ofhow men like Johnson , Trumbull and others met the challenges of black freedom. Paul A. Cimbala Fordham University The Presidency ofRutherford B. Hayes. By Ari Hoogenboom. American Presidency Series. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1988. Pp. x, 278. $25.00.) American historians continually reevaluate presidents as individuals and chief executives, as well as reappraise the eras in which they lived. In this study of Rutherford B. Hayes and his administration, 1877-81, Ari Hoogenboom concludes that the Ohioan was "both a reformer and a practical politician" (139) and emphasizes the theme that Hayes was a moderate president. Hoogenboom refines the generally favorable perception of Hayes which he presented in Outlawing the Spoils: A History ofthe Civil Service Reform Movement, 1865-1883. Indeed, Hoogenboom asserts that "Hayes was both a good man and an able president . . . [whose] administration contradicts the widely held view that he was an inept politican and an ineffective leader" (223). Hoogenboom reaches well beyond Kenneth Davison's research for his own overly laudatory narrative ofthis presidency published in 1972 to mark the sesquicentennial of Hayes's birth. Davison confined his efforts to honoring Hayes's performance on a limited number of issues. Particularly engaging is the author's pursuit of Hayes's thoughts about the formidable issues which he confronted. Although he follows the biographical outline set out in Davison's study, Hoogenboom makes more extensive use of Hayes's diaries and letters. He covers the familiar ground of Hayes's youth and earlyadulthood and then unravels the complex story of the dispute over the outcome of the 1876 presidential election. Of the campaign itself, Hoogenboom writes that "Governors Hayes and Tilden played the role that tradition assigned them . . . [pjretending to be above the sordid business ofelectioneering . . . steadfastly administering] their 354CIVIL WAR HISTORY state governments, while awaiting the call of the people" ( 1 7). It becomes readily apparent how much Hayes wanted to win. After the governor from Ohio triumphs, Hoogenboom illuminates Hayes's presidential performance and personality. In his inaugural address , Hayes advocated reconciliation in the South, and later on he exacted promises from Dixie governors regarding the rights of black Americans. While taking pains to show what the chiefexecutive wanted, Hoogenboom insists that "Hayes was wrong" (70) about Southern sentiments and that he soon "knew that his southern policy had failed" (78). Throughout the remainder of his administration, Hayes faced other thorny problems. Whetherattempting to scour the process ofappointments to the New York Customhouse, to control striking railroad workers, or to contain defiant Nez Perces in the Pacific Northwest, Hayes, in formulating policies, "searche[d] for the middle ground" (130). Given the impressive monographs which have recently appeared on various aspects ofAmerican life in the late 1870s, Hoogenboom might have sketched an even richer background to show what Americans experienced in this era, and lent additional balance to his scrutiny of Hayes's actions. In the end, this portrait of Hayes shows him leading alongside his nation, rather than moving too far out in front. Hayes made mistakes, and sometimes he misunderstood the nature of the problems he faced. Although Hoogenboom occasionally overstates his case fora cautious president with sweeping objectives, Hayes emerges as a living, breathing human being who compromised when practical politics dictated such a course. Sarah L. Sharp Bowling Green State University Abraham Lincoln, Public Speaker. By Waldo W. Braden (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988. Pp. 119. $19.95.) If Abraham Lincoln was not in the class...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 353-354
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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