The Death of Reconstruction: Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post-Civil War North, 1865-1901

The Death of Reconstruction: Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post-Civil War North, 1865-1901

by Heather Cox Richardson
ISBN-10:
0674013662
ISBN-13:
9780674013667
Pub. Date:
03/01/2004
Publisher:
Harvard

Paperback

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Overview

The Death of Reconstruction: Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post-Civil War North, 1865-1901

Historians overwhelmingly have blamed the demise of Reconstruction on Southerners' persistent racism. Heather Cox Richardson argues instead that class, along with race, was critical to Reconstruction's end. Northern support for freed blacks and Reconstruction weakened in the wake of growing critiques of the economy and calls for a redistribution of wealth.

Using newspapers, public speeches, popular tracts, Congressional reports, and private correspondence, Richardson traces the changing Northern attitudes toward African-Americans from the Republicans' idealized image of black workers in 1861 through the 1901 publication of Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery. She examines such issues as black suffrage, disenfranchisement, taxation, westward migration, lynching, and civil rights to detect the trajectory of Northern disenchantment with Reconstruction. She reveals a growing backlash from Northerners against those who believed that inequalities should be addressed through working-class action, and the emergence of an American middle class that championed individual productivity and saw African-Americans as a threat to their prosperity.

The Death of Reconstruction offers a new perspective on American race and labor and demonstrates the importance of class in the post-Civil War struggle to integrate African-Americans into a progressive and prospering nation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674013667
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/01/2004
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface

Prologue: The View from Atlanta, 1895

1. The Northern Postwar Vision, 1865-4867

2. The Mixed Blessing of Universal Suffrage, 1867-1870

3. Black Workers and the South Carolina Government, 1871-1875

4. Civil Rights and the Growth of the National Government, 1870-1883

5. The Black Exodus from the South, 1879-1880

6. The Un-American Negro, 1880-1900

Epilogue: Booker T. Washington Rises Up from Slavery, 1901

Notes

Index

What People are Saying About This

Heather Richardson's The Death of Reconstruction is a work of genuine originality and imagination. Steeped in remarkable research, this is a persuasive account of how economic world views drove Northerners' retreat from Reconstruction; it makes us view Reconstruction from a different angle and helps explain, as well as any book has, the deep significance of individualism in American life in the late nineteenth century.

David Herbert Donald

The Death of Reconstruction offers a provocative explanation of why Northerners after the Civil War gradually and often reluctantly abandoned their efforts on behalf of the Southern freedmen. Not ignoring virulent racism directed at African Americans, Richardson shows that it was less race than class that brought about the end of Reconstruction. An important, impressively documented book, The Death of Reconstruction is a work comparable to David Montgomery's Beyond Equality as a major reinterpretation of the post-Civil War period.
David Herbert Donald, author of Lincoln

David W. Blight

Heather Richardson's The Death of Reconstruction is a work of genuine originality and imagination. Steeped in remarkable research, this is a persuasive account of how economic world views drove Northerners' retreat from Reconstruction; it makes us view Reconstruction from a different angle and helps explain, as well as any book has, the deep significance of individualism in American life in the late nineteenth century.
David W. Blight, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

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