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PART I The Republican Argument 31 Often we rely upon secondhand sources to tell us what firsthand sources say, and most of the time this is practical and reliable. In the case of the Republicans who served in the Reconstruction Congress, secondary sources have not told us enough about them. Their account of the national crisis that they faced in the nineteenth century challenges Americans to revise our understanding of ourselves, challenges foreigners to revise their view of our nation, and challenges scholars to reconsider how they frame the long period before and after our war and what their new inquiries into the period ought to be. It is necessary, therefore, to reach behind secondary accounts and lay out what the Republicans had to say in their own words. Anyone fortunate enough to have received some education in Aristotelian or classical political science will instantly recognize a recurring and familiar pattern in the primary documents containing their speeches and writings. Those documents are replete with allusions to political regimes, modified by nineteenth-­ century American English, and always made in connection to their great national crisis. Yet seldom is it possible to find modern scholarship devoted to studying their great national crisis that seriously weighs these references to political regimes when making sense of that past. The tendency to rely upon secondary sources has cut us off from what the Republicans actually argued. For that reason, the Republican case is presented in part 1, absent all references to existing scholarship, so that we can directly hear them. PART I THE REPUBLICAN ARGUMENT 32 This is necessary also for the sake of economy. Their analysis is sophisticated , spread out over years, and at many points depends upon a chain of antecedent claims. If their analysis were interrupted at each point to contend with one part of the great mass of scholarly literature that addresses each point, the Republican case might never see the light of day. We would still not know what they said, in their own words. The work of representing their argument first entailed reviewing the extant speeches and writings of the Republicans who served in the Thirty-­ Eighth, Thirty-­ Ninth, or Fortieth Congress from 1863 to 1869. Their general views about the nature of the American political regime and its division into two regimes, one identified as oligarchical or, alternatively, as aristocratic, were compared and found to overlap. Their texts were then mined for answers to subordinate questions, prompted by Aristotelian political science. Who ruled? Who was ruled? How did they rule? What institutions supported the rulers? How did the regime develop? Who contested the regime? Again, their answers overlapped and were collected and organized in a database. Finally, their answers were combined into one joint account, which is in the form of an argument presented in the following five chapters. Their argument draws from their public discourse available in writings that they authored and in records of their public speeches and public acts. The chapters cite 100 of 299 members of the House of Representatives and the Senate who served at any time in the Thirty-­ Eighth, Thirty-­ Ninth, and Fortieth Congresses and who affiliated with the Republican Party. The presentation errs on the side of showing longer quotations than are typical for books of this kind. This has been done to remove any doubt about their position, their claims, and their evidence. Stray opinions that lacked consistent concurrence from their Republican colleagues were omitted, unless otherwise noted. Interpretation has been added to expound what they meant and to explain their thoughts in the context of the Republicans’ general point of view. ...


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MARC Record
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