Seeking the One Great Remedy: Francis George Shaw and Nineteenth-century Reform

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Ohio University Press, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 224 pages
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A radical abolitionist and early feminist, Francis George Shaw (1809-1882) was a prominent figure in American reform and intellectual circles for five decades. He rejected capitalism in favor of a popular utopian socialist movement. During the Civil War and Reconstruction, he applied his radical principles to the Northern war effort and to freedmen's organizations. A partnership with Henry George in the late 1870s provided an international audience for Shaw's alternative vision of society.
Seeking the One Great Remedy is the biography of this remarkable and influential man. In compelling detail, author Lorien Foote depicts the exploits of the Shaw family. Their activities provide a perspective on the course of American reform that calls into question previous interpretations of the reform movements of this period.
Francis George Shaw is perhaps best known as the father of Robert Gould Shaw, Captain of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, a black regiment in the Union army, and subject of the movie Glory. Francis and his wife, Sarah Blake Shaw, achieved considerable notoriety for their activities, including their effort to shape public opinion during the Civil War. Turning their son's tragic death at Fort Wagner into a public relations and propaganda triumph, they altered Northern opinion about the war and shaped a historical perception of the famous Fifty-fourth Massachusetts that continues today.
Seeking the One Great Remedy argues that social radicalism was pervasive among elite reformers before and after the Civil War and finds in the dramatic story of Francis George Shaw a model of that cause.
 

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Contents

Seeking the One Great Remedy
1
1 I am too much engaged in Worldly pursuits
11
2 Humanity is before God as one man
29
3 Mans paramount duty is toward his race
53
4 Has not the President used a very sharp knife?
81
5 All on his countrys red altar he laid
101
6 What shall the harvest be?
129
7 What do the lives of our friends teach us?
149
8 We must make land common property
167
Notes
181
Bibliography
207
Index
217
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About the author (2003)

Lorien Foote is an assistant professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas.

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