Catalogue


Declarations of dependence : the long reconstruction of popular politics in the South, 1861-1908 /
Gregory P. Downs.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2011.
description
346 p.
ISBN
0807834440 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780807834442 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2011.
isbn
0807834440 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780807834442 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction: Friends unseen : the ballad of political dependency -- Hungry for protection : the Confederate roots of dependence -- Slaves and the great deliverer : freedom and friendship behind Union lines -- Vulnerable at the circumference : demobilization and the limitations of the Freedmen's Bureau -- The great day of acounter : democracy and the problem of power in Republican Reconstruction -- The persistence of prayer : dependency after redemption -- Crazes, fetishes, and enthusiasms : the silver mania and the making of a new politics -- A compressive age : White supremacy and the growth of the modern state -- Coda: Desperate times call for distant friends : Franklin Roosevelt as the last good king?
catalogue key
7399841
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
Through an examination of the pleas and petitions of ordinary North Carolinians, Downs contends that the Civil War redirected, not destroyed, claims of dependence by exposing North Carolinians to the expansive but unsystematic power of Union and Confederate governments, and by loosening the legal ties that bound them to husbands, fathers, and masters.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-11-01:
Downs (CUNY) has produced a significant and provocative study of the relationship between government and the governed, the implications of which transcend the "long reconstruction" (1861-1908) of the book's subtitle. Grounding his work in thorough archival research and a careful, nuanced reading of both the primary and secondary literature, Downs uses North Carolina in the postbellum decades as a case study for his larger conclusions. Arguing that "patronal" politics characterized the decades of the late-19th-century South, Downs posits a reworking of the relationship between state and citizen from one of distance to one of almost intimate familiarity and dependence (which he argues should not be seen as a pejorative term, but as a political strategy for this era's lower orders). Downs concludes that for North Carolina and, by implication, the early New South, the political was personal and the personal was political in a myriad of ways. After concluding this rich study, one wonders if the rest of the South exhibited patterns similar to North Carolina. Either way, Downs's book is required reading for students of US political history because of its insightful and well-argued conclusions about the nature of state authority and citizenship in a multiracial society. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates and above. K. M. Gannon Grand View University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Thought-provoking. . . .[an] ambitious, deeply-researched study." - Journal of Southern History
"Instead of elaborating on existing frameworks, Downs reframes our basic understanding of southern political culture. The combination of superb writing and analytical originality make this book a rare achievement."--Laura Edwards, Duke University
"Instead of elaborating on existing frameworks, Downs reframes our basic understanding of southern political cultural. The combination of superb writing and analytical originality make this book a rare achievement."--Laura Edwards, Duke University
"Downs tackles important questions and his book is a rare achievement -- well written, deeply researched, and thought-provoking." - Journal of the Civil War Era
"Downs's brilliant, imaginative, and deeply researched book makes us rethink the failure of Reconstruction in the South. He deftly lays out the collapse of Reconstruction in North Carolina while being sensitive to the interplay of politics at the local, state, and national levels."--Scott Nelson, College of William and Mary
" Declarations of Dependence is provocative and enlightening . . . An intellectual tour de force. " - Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
" Declarations of Dependence ultimately offers an analysis of postbellum politics sure to inspire scholars to reconsider the meaning of independence and dependence in political cultures elsewhere in the region during this era." - Register of The Kentucky Historical Society
"[Down's] interpretations can help historians better appreciate the nuanced, paradoxical ways in which individuals attempted to advance their interests using the language of dependence." - American Historical Review
"A masterful scholarly text brimming with insightful new arguments." - Southern Historian
"An important new way of conceiving of how power worked in the late nineteenth century....The best kind of book." - H-Net Reviews
"Any serious student of U.S. history during the half-century following the outbreak of the Civil War would be well advised to read this well-written study based on original sources in North Carolina's extensive state archives." - The Historian
"A useful corrective for certain assumptions about both the historical and contemporary character of American political culture." - Journal of Interdisciplinary History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In this highly original study, Gregory Downs argues that the most American of wars, the Civil War, created a seemingly un-American popular politics, rooted not in independence but in voluntary claims of dependence. Through an examination of the pleas and petitions of ordinary North Carolinians,Declarations of Dependencecontends that the Civil War redirected, not destroyed, claims of dependence by exposing North Carolinians to the expansive but unsystematic power of Union and Confederate governments, and by loosening the legal ties that bound them to husbands, fathers, and masters. Faced with anarchy during the long reconstruction of government authority, people turned fervently to the government for protection and sustenance, pleading in fantastic, intimate ways for attention. This personalistic, or what Downs calls patronal, politics allowed for appeals from subordinate groups like freed blacks and poor whites, and also bound people emotionally to newly expanding postwar states. Downs's argument rewrites the history of the relationship between Americans and their governments, showing the deep roots of dependence, the complex impact of the Civil War upon popular politics, and the powerful role of Progressivism and segregation in submerging a politics of dependence that--in new form--rose again in the New Deal and persists today.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This work contends that the Civil War redirected, not destroyed, claims of dependence by exposing North Carolinians to the expansive but unsystematic power of Union and Confederate governments, and by loosening the legal ties that bound them to husbands, fathers, and masters.
Main Description
In this highly original study, Gregory Downs argues that the most American of wars, the Civil War, created a seemingly un-American popular politics, rooted not in independence but in voluntary claims of dependence. Through an examination of the pleas and petitions of ordinary North Carolinians, Declarations of Dependence contends that the Civil War redirected, not destroyed, claims of dependence by exposing North Carolinians to the expansive but unsystematic power of Union and Confederate governments, and by loosening the legal ties that bound them to husbands, fathers, and masters. Faced with anarchy during the long reconstruction of government authority, people turned fervently to the government for protection and sustenance, pleading in fantastic, intimate ways for attention. This personalistic, or what Downs calls patronal, politics allowed for appeals from subordinate groups like freed blacks and poor whites, and also bound people emotionally to newly expanding postwar states. Downs's argument rewrites the history of the relationship between Americans and their governments, showing the deep roots of dependence, the complex impact of the Civil War upon popular politics, and the powerful role of Progressivism and segregation in submerging a politics of dependence that--in new form--rose again in the New Deal and persists today.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Friends Unseen: The Ballad of Political Dependencyp. 1
Hungry for Protection: The Confederate Roots of Dependencep. 15
Slaves and the Great Deliverer: Freedom and Friendship behind Union Linesp. 43
Vulnerable at the Circumference: Demobilization and the Limitations of the Freedmen's Bureaup. 75
The Great Day of Acounter: Democracy and the Problem of Power in Republican Reconstructionp. 101
The Persistence of Prayer: Dependency after Redemptionp. 131
Crazes, Fetishes, and Enthusiasms: The Silver Mania and the Making of a New Politicsp. 163
A Compressive Age: White Supremacy and the Growth of the Modern Statep. 185
Coda: Desperate Times Call for Distant Friends: Franklin Roosevelt as the Last Good King?p. 213
Acknowledgmentsp. 221
Notesp. 227
Bibliographyp. 277
Indexp. 337
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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