The Struggle for Equality: Abolitionists and the Negro in the Civil War and Reconstruction

Overview

Originally published in 1964, The Struggle for Equality presents an incisive and vivid look at the abolitionist movement and the legal basis it provided to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson explores the role played by rights activists during and after the Civil War, and their evolution from despised fanatics into influential spokespersons for the radical wing of the Republican Party. Asserting that it was not the abolitionists who failed to instill principles...

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Overview

Originally published in 1964, The Struggle for Equality presents an incisive and vivid look at the abolitionist movement and the legal basis it provided to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson explores the role played by rights activists during and after the Civil War, and their evolution from despised fanatics into influential spokespersons for the radical wing of the Republican Party. Asserting that it was not the abolitionists who failed to instill principles of equality, but rather the American people who refused to follow their leadership, McPherson raises questions about the obstacles that have long hindered American reform movements.

This new Princeton Classics edition marks the fiftieth anniversary of the book's initial publication and includes a new preface by the author.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Winner of the Warren F. Kuehl Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

"Must surely be assigned an important place in the literature of the history of ideas and of race relations in the United States."--The Times Literary Supplement

"The Abolitionist Legacy shows many of the same graces as its predecessor: wide-ranging and careful research, a strong sense of story line, an eye for good quotations, unyielding sympathy for those who devoted their lives to uplifting the freedmen."--Reviews in American History

"In addition to discussing the complex blend of egalitarianism and paternalism in the thought of white proponents of black advancement, McPherson offers suggestions of the intricate mixture of racial consciousness, individual ambition, and racial romanticism that continues to fuel modern black separatism."--Political Science Quarterly

Library Journal
These volumes, published in 1975 and 1964, respectively, chronicle the abolitionist movement from before the Civil War to the part it played in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. LJ's reviewer found The Abolitionist Legacy an "ably researched, well-written book" (LJ 12/15/75).
Reviews in American History
The Abolitionist Legacy shows many of the same graces as its predecessor: wide-ranging and careful research, a strong sense of story line, an eye for good quotations, unyielding sympathy for those who devoted their lives to uplifting the freedmen.
Political Science Quarterly
In addition to discussing the complex blend of egalitarianism and paternalism in the thought of white proponents of black advancement, McPherson offers suggestions of the intricate mixture of racial consciousness, individual ambition, and racial romanticism that continues to fuel modern black separatism.
The Times Literary Supplement
Must surely be assigned an important place in the literature of the history of ideas and of race relations in the United States.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691163901
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/26/2014
  • Series: Princeton Classics Series
  • Edition description: New Preface
  • Pages: 496

Meet the Author


James M. McPherson is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. His many books include the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Battle Cry of Freedom" and the "New York Times" bestseller "Crossroads of Freedom".
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    1. Hometown:
      Princeton, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 11, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Valley City, North Dakota
    1. Education:
      B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN) 1958; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1963

Table of Contents

Preface to the 1995 Edition
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction 3
Ch. I The Election of 1860 9
Ch. II Secession and the Coming of War 29
Ch. III The Emancipation Issue: 1861 52
Ch. IV Emancipation and Public Opinion: 1861-1862 75
Ch. V The Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment 99
Ch. VI The Negro: Innately Inferior or Equal? 134
Ch. VII Freedmen's Education: 1861-1865 154
Ch. VIII The Creation of the Freedmen's Bureau 178
Ch. IX Men of Color, to Arms! 192
Ch. X The Quest for Equal Rights in the North 221
Ch. XI The Ballot and Land for the Freedmen: 1861-1865 238
Ch. XII The Reelection of Lincoln 260
Ch. XIII Schism in the Ranks: 1864-1865 287
Ch. XIV Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction: 1865 308
Ch. XV The Fourteenth Amendment and the Election of 1866 341
Ch. XVI Military Reconstruction and Impeachment 367
Ch. XVII Education and Confiscation: 1865-1870 386
Ch. XVIII The Climax of the Crusade: the Fifteenth Amendment 417
Bibliographical Essay 433
Index 451
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