Splendid failure: postwar Reconstruction in the American South

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Ivan R. Dee, 2007 - Business & Economics - 234 pages
3 Reviews
Since the civil rights era of the 1960s, revisionist historians have been sympathetic to the racial justice motivations of the Radical Republican Reconstruction policies that followed the Civil War. But this emphasis on positive goals and accomplishments has obscured the role of the Republicans in the overthrow of their own program. Rich with insight, Michael Fitzgerald's new interpretation of Reconstruction shows how the internal dynamics of this first freedom movement 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-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 strategy offers a chastening example for present-day proponents of racial equality. American Ways Series.

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User Review  - weirwolf - Overstock.com

The book is difficult to follow. If you know enough about the topic of Reconstruction for the book to make sense, it will be a waste of time to read. Nothing splendid about this failure. Read full review

Review: Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American Ways Series)

User Review  - Tara - Goodreads

I enjoyed the book. Good information about the south if studying civil war era. Read full review


What Slavery Did
Andrew Johnson and
Emancipation and Terror in the Plantation South

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About the author (2007)

MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD is associate professor of history at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.