The Struggle for Equality: Abolitionists and the Negro in the Civil War and Reconstruction

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In The Struggle for Equality, the renowned Civil War historian James McPherson offered an important and timely analysis of the abolitionist movement and the legal basis it provided to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. This work remains an incisive demonstration of the successful role played by rights activists during and after the Civil War, when they evolved from despised fanatics into influential spokespersons for the radical wing of the Republican party.


The vivid narrative stresses the intensely individual efforts that characterized the movement, drawing on letters and anti-slavery periodicals to let the voices of the abolitionists express for themselves their triumphs and anxieties. Asserting that it was not the abolitionists who failed in their efforts to instill the principles of equality on the state level but rather the American people who refused to follow their leadership, McPherson raises broad questions about the obstacles that have long hindered American reform movements in general.


This new paperback edition contains a preface in which the author explains some of the changing perspectives that would lead him to write several aspects of this story differently today. The original hardcover was a winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award in Race Relations.

 

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The struggle for equality: abolitionists and the Negro in the Civil War and Reconstruction

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These volumes, published in 1975 and 1964, respectively, chronicle the abolitionist movement from before the Civil War to the part it played in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. LJ's reviewer found The Abolitionist Legacy an "ably researched, well-written book" (LJ 12/15/75). Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
The Election of 1860
9
Secession and the Coming of War
29
The Emancipation Issue 1861
52
Emancipation and Public Opinion 18611862
75
The Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment
99
The Negro Innately Inferior or Equal?
134
Freedmens Education 18611865
154
The Ballot and Land for the Freedmen 18611865
234
The reelection of Lincoln
256
Schism in the Ranks 18641865
283
Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction 1865
304
The Fourteenth Amendment and the Election of 1866
337
Military Reconstruction and Impeachment
363
Education and Confiscation 18651870
382
The Climax of the Crusade the Fifteenth Amendment
413

The Creation of the Freedmens Bureau
178
Men of Color to Arms
192
The Quest for Equal Rights in the North
217
Bibliographical Essay
429
Index
447
Copyright

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About the author (1964)

James M. McPherson is Professor of History at Princeton University. His many books include the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, as well as What They Fought For, 1861-1865; Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution; Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction; and The Negro's Civil War: How American Negroes Felt and Acted during the War for the Union.

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