- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
More copies of this ISBN
Other titles in the American Political Thought series:
Conceiving a New Republic: The Republican Party and the Southern Question, 1869-1900 (American Political Thought)by Charles W Calhoun
Synopses & Reviews
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 latter's 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.
"In the wake of the Civil War, the victorious Republican Party enjoyed broad control of the national government and, as historian Calhoun (Benjamin Harrison) demonstrates in this exhaustively researched monograph, they were determined to use it to refashion Southern society in accordance with the Founders' vision-a process that came to be known as Reconstruction. Detailing three decades of rhetoric and internal debate about the 'Southern question,' Calhoun illustrates the fervor of Republicans' early desire to ensure the freedom of the ballot against endemic intimidation and fraud throughout the old Confederacy. The bulk of the book tracks the transformation of this impulse, which, he shows, ultimately gave way before Southern intractability, mounting Northern indifference, and questions of economic policy. Calhoun focuses closely on the speeches, letters, and diaries of Republican leaders, including presidents Grant, Hayes, Harrison and McKinley, revealing what they thought they would and should achieve in the South-several pages, for example, are devoted to a thoughtful reinterpretation of Hayes's motives in the Compromise of 1877. When Booker T. Washington declared in his Atlanta Compromise speech of 1895 that black Americans should cultivate economic capacity before pursuing social and political equality, most white Republicans had already embraced this attitude and substituted a message of national unity for their former emphasis on free and fair elections. Although the book will appeal primarily to readers already familiar with the period, Calhoun has produced a useful and thorough record of a still-resonant issue: Calhoun's introduction begins with the 2005 efforts of Republicans to 'capture wider support among African Americans.' 25 b&w illustrations." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A groundbreaking look at how post-Civil War Republican Party leaders dealt with the complex issues of bringing the South back into the "indivisible" Union during the Reconstruction. Shows how the GOP set out to recreate a nation that would abide by the promises of the Declaration of Independence—and how those attempts ultimately succumbed to Gilded Age politics.
Table of Contents
1. Regeneration of a Nation
2. Republicanism Contested: The Election of 1872
3. The Republican Project under Siege: The Grant Administration and the Trial of Enforcement
4. The Southern Question Revived: The Campaign of 1876
5. Rescuing the Republic: The Electoral Crisis of 1876-1877
6. Conciliation Is Not Mutual: Republicanism and the Southern Policy of Rutherford B. Hayes
7. Confrontation with a Solid South: New Directions under Garfield and Arthur
8. The Fundamental Question in a Republic: Republicanism, Economics, and Electoral Stalemate in the 1880s
9. Republicanism Defeated: The Lodge Federal Elections Bill
10. Surrender of the New Republic: Reconstruction Undone and the Nationalism of Reconciliation
What Our Readers Are Saying