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Conceiving a new republic : the Republican Party and the southern question, 1869-1900 /
Charles W. Calhoun.
imprint
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2006.
description
x, 347 p. : ill., ports.
ISBN
0700614621 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2006.
isbn
0700614621 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
5944443
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2007-08-01:
Given the strong support that African American voters give to the Democratic Party, an understandable and frequently asked question is, what happened to the "party of Lincoln"? The party was founded, in part, on a commitment to abolish slavery and support the civil rights of African Americans, but deviated from those principles over a century ago. In this meticulously researched and well-written narrative, Calhoun (East Carolina Univ.) traces the transformation of the Republican Party to the 1870s-80s, demonstrating that well before the famed end of Reconstruction in 1877, the Republicans had begun to tire of their civil rights-based southern strategy. The author's discussion of the political crisis that put President Hayes in the White House is persuasive. While the commitment to civil rights did not disappear overnight, it was clear that even in the waning days of the Grant administration, and certainly in the Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, and ultimately Harrison administrations, the trend to give rhetorical service to civil rights was not always manifested in votes, and the Republican Party increasingly became a party that celebrated other issues. The bibliography is extensive. This is political history at its best. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above. T. F. Armstrong Louisiana State University at Alexandria
Reviews
Review Quotes
"By documenting the centrality of the Republican party's commitment to republican self-government, Calhoun not only casts light on that party's continuing commitment to black rights between 1869 and 1900. He also identifies the nub of the party's internal disputes over southern policy. This impressively perceptive book is an important contribution." -- Michael Holt
"Calhoun sets out to do nothing less than trace the thought of the Republican party on the key Southern question over a three-decade period, and to do it in a new and conceptually brilliant way. . . . A groundbreaking interpretation of a period and a set of issues vital to both the American past and present, based on impeccable research and written in clear, careful, and persuasive prose." -- R. Hal Williams
This item was reviewed in:
PW Annex Reviews, August 2006
Choice, August 2007
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Summaries
Main Description
During the late nineteenth century, Republicans struggled to reinvent America in the wake of civil war-and were consumed by the question of how the South should fit within the reconstituted Union. But the unity that Republicans had shown during the war was far from evident in facing this new challenge. Conceiving a New Republic examines the Republicans ideological struggle, focusing on how party thought-particularly concerning the concept of republicanism-determined the contours of that effort and was in turn shaped by it. In relating how Republicans strove to fashion a new democratic polity in the face of fierce southern opposition, Charles Calhoun focuses on what they thought about their actions, particularly their beliefs about the meaning and nature of the American Republic. Calhoun revolutionizes our understanding of this era by showing that although it eventually failed in its lofty purpose, the party set out to reconstruct a nation that would abide by the promises of the Declaration of Independence. While earlier scholars have blamed Republicans for not being more steadfast advocates for blacks, Calhoun shows that southern Democrats so strongly resisted the breakdown of white supremacy that Republicans ultimately could not prevail. He assesses their actions in the election of 1876 and the ensuing electoral crisis less as an abandonment of black rights than as an effort to salvage as much of the republican experiment as possible. He also examines their struggle to revive the experiment with the Lodge Federal Elections bill of 1890-the last serious attempt at civil rights legislation until the 1950s. Offering new insights into Presidents Grant, Hayes, Harrison, and McKinley, Calhoun shows that even before the latters administration had begun, a confluence of forces had conspired to defeat the Republicans attempt to create a new Republic. He spells out the reasons why Republicans, defeated by southern and Democratic intransigence, ultimately abandoned the effort to remake the Republic and found ways to accommodate themselves intellectually and morally to the failure of their earlier ideals. In showing how Republican leaders envisioned nothing less than an essential reordering of the Republic, Conceiving a New Republic offers a bold reinterpretation of the Gilded Age that reflects a deep understanding of the period and its issues.
Table of Contents
Regeneration of a nationp. 7
Republicanism contested : the election of 1872p. 33
The Republican project under siege : the Grant administration and the trial of enforcementp. 47
The Southern question revived : the campaign of 1876p. 90
Rescuing the republic : the electoral crisis of 1876-1877p. 105
Conciliation is not mutual : Republicanism and the Southern policy of Rutherford B. Hayesp. 137
Confrontation with a solid South : new directions under Garfield and Arthurp. 169
The fundamental question in a republic : Republicanism, economics, and electoral stalemate in the 1880sp. 201
Republicanism defeated : the Lodge Federal Elections Billp. 226
Surrender of the new republic : reconstruction undone and the nationalism of reconciliationp. 260
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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