Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series)


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Report incorrect product info or prohibited items. Michael W Fitzgerald.

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Walmart Book Format: Paperback. Add to List. Add to Registry. Michael W. Fitzgerald's new interpretation of Reconstruction shows how the internal dynamics of this first freedom movement played into the hands of white racist reactionaries in the South. Splendid Failure recounts how postwar financial missteps and other governance problems quickly soured idealistic Northerners on the practical consequences of the Radical Republican plan, and set the stage for the explosion that swept Southern Republicans from power and resulted in Northern acquiescence to the bloody repression of voting rights.

The failed strategy offers a chastening example to present-day proponents of racial equality.

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Since the civil rights era of the s, revisionist historians have been sympathetic to the racial justice motivations of the Radical Republican Reconstruction policies that followed the Civil War. But this emphasis on positive goals and accomplishments has obscured the role of the Republicans in the overthrow of their own program. Rich with insight, Michael W.

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  • So if you find a current lower price from an online retailer on an identical, in-stock product, tell us and we'll match it. See more details at Online Price Match. Email address. Further complicating matters, Northern commitment to Reconstruction waned as time passed, while white Southern compliance could never be taken at face value. Initially, Fitzgerald notes that continued resistance in the South following the Civil War spurred a more radical response than originally considered by Congress.


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    • While the Northern public had considered African-American enfranchisement too radical at first, it was deemed the most efficient way to achieve a balance of power in the South. Fitzgerald argues convincingly that it was Southern leadership, not the Radical Republicans, that shaped Reconstruction policy. Fitzgerald also offers a solid understanding of the intricacy of social relationships in the South after As Reconstruction continued, the Republican Party struggled to build a majority in the South.

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      Eventually, the party emphasized railroad development, a policy that united freed people and ex-Whigs while also appealing to Northern supporters. Unfortunately, a number of states incurred large debts and bribery was rampant. As the reality of the fiasco set in, many blamed black legislatures for the mismanagement. Fitzgerald persuasively argues that these accusations were unfairly balanced.

      While multiple problems remained throughout Reconstruction, Fitzgerald documents important gains for African Americans and even a general acceptance of these gains by Southern whites. Although the South was hardly egalitarian after war, and while terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan remained active, black Southerners voted, held local and national office, and had greater access to education and land. It was easy to mistake these gains as permanent on the eve of U.

      Splendid Failure offers a dense, thoughtful reconsideration of these turbulent events and their results.

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      Reviewed by Ronald D. Lankford, Jr. June 7, Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review.

      Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series) Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series)
      Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series) Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series)
      Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series) Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series)
      Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series) Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series)
      Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series) Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series)

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