Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American Southby Michael W. Fitzgerald
Rich with insight, Michael Fitzgerald's new interpretation of Reconstruction shows how the internal dynamics of the first movement for black freedom played into the hands of white racist reactionaries in the South. Splendid Failure describes the skill with which the postwar freedpeople pursued an agenda of racial justice, accurately perceiving that this was the only issue that mattered in the New South. But in acting on this insight-by demanding representation in office and greater civil rights protections-they antagonized the Northern support they needed to survive, and fed a gathering racial backlash. Thus, Mr. Fitzgerald argues, Southern Republicans set the stage for the explosion that swept them from power and resulted in Northern acquiescence to the bloody repression of voting rights. The failed program led to another century of inequality for Southern blacks.
Patrick G. Williams
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Meet the Author
Michael W. Fitzgerald teaches American history at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he lives. He is the author of prizewinning articles on aspects of Reconstruction and in two other books has written on the politics of emancipation and of agricultural change in the postCivil War period.
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