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About the Author:
Nicholas Lemann, dean of the School of Journalism at Columbia University
A century after Appomattox, the civil rights movement won full citizenship for black Americans in the South. It should not have been necessary: by 1870 those rights were set in the constitution. Unabridged. 1 MP3 CD.
Lemann offers a brisk but thoughtful account of one of the tragic failures in U.S. history: the failure of Reconstruction to consolidate a nonracial democracy in the South. The story focuses on Adelbert Ames, son-in-law of the much-hated Massachusetts radical Benjamin Butler. Caught between his father-in-law's political ambitions, mounting white resistance to democratic rule, Northern public opinion that was weary of war, and a president, Ulysses S. Grant, who had reluctantly concluded that Reconstruction could not be contained, Ames did his best to do his duty at an unpropitious time, but he was the last Republican governor in Mississippi for a century: violence and fraud restored the state to white Southern rule as Reconstruction collapsed across the South. Northern voters, unspeakably weary after years of turmoil, were no longer prepared to support the rule of law in the Southern states. This dismal story is a particularly timely read, as U.S. politicians and military leaders wrestle with the problems of Iraq. Republicans, it seems, are still very good at winning wars, but nation building is more problematic.<
|1||Adelbert and Blanche||31|
|3||The peace conference||100|
|5||The Mississippi plan||170|