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BOOK REVIEWS85 this view—having made the same point regarding the abolitionists in the Journal of Southern History (1968). On balance, however, Gillette's argument is underdeveloped. The quotations cited above reflect little more than passing references in a book which pays very little attention to the role of ideology in political decision-making processes. In short, I find diis a disturbing tendency in an otiierwise highly competent and sometimes brilliant analysis. Clear recognition of and emphasis on die limitations of Republican ideology is a crucial dimension in a holistic attempt to explain die failures of the tragedy called Reconstruction. In Gillette's work political expediency and partisan advantage are far and away die most important factors in his interpretation. This is not to say that political advantage, real or perceived, was not a major factor. Gillette demonstrates in irrefutable fashion that it was. Thus, my disagreement lies entirely within the realm of emphasis. By saying this, it is not my intention to get involved in the debate between Gillette and die Coxes on die relative importance of idealism as opposed to political expediency in accounting for Republican motivation. In my view, the central point about Republican ideology is not its idealism (or the lack of it) but rather its limitations—its inability to deal in a modem way with the complexities of die problems confronting American society. As I see it, such a conclusion is not ahistorical or teleological as some historians maintain. Rather, it provides one meaningful and often neglected way to compare and contrast dominant societal perceptions of the 1860s and 1870s widi some twentietii-century modes of thought. In sum, diis angle of vision agrees widi Tocqueville's view that moeurs, die sum total of ideas, attitudes, customs, habits, and traditions, weigh heaviest in determining the destinies of human societies. Such differences in emphasis are not intended to denigrate the value of Gillette's work, which is always provocative and tiioughtful and sometimes characterized by a stylistic grace often missing in historical writing. In conclusion, Gillette's analysis of the politics of the 1870s is an indispensable book, one diat specialists will ignore at their peril and one diat will stand die test of time in important ways. We are as indebted to Gillette for the brilliance of some of his observations as indeed he is to die work of those before him who also labor in Clio's vineyards. Richard O. Curry University of Connecticut New Masters: Northern Planters during the Civil War and Reconstruction . By Lawrence N. Powell. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1980. Pp. xiv, 253. $15.00.) Lawrence Powell's New Masters brings into fresh focus a familiar Reconstruction theme—the shortlived eagerness of Northerners to become cotton planters in the postwar South. Powell estimates that from fall 1865 through the 1867 season twenty to fifty thousand Northerners pur- 86civil war history chased or leased plantations and tried their hand at growing cotton. With scraps of biographical data from myriad sources, Powell identifies 524 planters and, for the first time, describes the Northern planters as welleducated young men of business and professional backgrounds from New England, New York, Ohio, and Illinois. In addition, Powell probes with intelligence and care his subjects' economic motives and social attitudes. Relying on a dozen relatively well-known individuals who recorded their experiences in memoirs (includingWhitelaw Reid in Louisiana , Albert T. Morgan in Mississippi, and Charles Stearns in Georgia), Powell describes a "Yankee planter movement" (p. 32) intent on modernizing the Southern economy and society with an infusion of Northern men and methods. How deeply such purposes affected the strategies of the mass of Northern planters must remain obscure, but it is clear that for an articulate few, postwar activities involved a working out of antebellum theories. Powell concludes that Northern planters, by striving to establish "a factory-like regimen on the plantations," (p. 80) brought bourgeois values to the South, self-consciously demonstrating to die former slaves and former slaveowners alike the proper, productive relationship between capital and labor in an industrializing society. They failed in part because they were unlucky and inexperienced, in part because they were undermined by Andrew Johnson, and in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 85-86
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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