Synopses & Reviews
The Freedmen's Bureau and Reconstruction: Reconsiderations addresses the history of the Freedmen's Bureau at state and local levels of the Reconstruction South. In this lively and well-documented book, the authors discuss the diversity of conditions and the personalities of the Bureau's agents state by state. They offer insight into the actions and thoughts, not only of the agents, but also of the southern planters and the former slaves, as both of these groups learned how to deal with new responsibilities, new advantages and disadvantages, and altered relationships. The period of Reconstruction was a troubling time in the history of the South. The Congress of the United States passed laws and the President issued edicts, but more often than not, the results of Reconstruction in a particular area depended primarily on the character and personality of an individual Bureau agent. The agents were on the front line of this postwar battle against hatred, bigotry, fear, ignorance, and helplessness. This work presents accounts, often in their own words, about how the agents and officers of the Freedmen's Bureau reacted to the problems that they faced and the people with whom they dealt on a day-to-day basis. Although the primary intent of Professors Cimbala and Miller is to enhance the research on post-Civil War Reconstruction and the role of the Freedmen's Bureau for the benefit of historians, the book is a good read for any lover of American history or armchair psychologist. Also, it has social value regarding the roots of the hatred, violence, and bigotry between the races that has come down through the generations to the present day. We are all products of our history, whether we are white or black, southern or northern. Only through an understanding of this history can we better approach the problems that remain to be solved.
"This collection offers a wide-ranging exploration. . . . The essays are well-documented original contributions."
The Freedmen's Bureau and Reconstruction addresses the history of the Freedmen's Bureau at state and local levels of the Reconstruction South. In this well-documented book, the authors discuss the diversity of conditions and the personalities of the Bureau's agents state by state. They offer insight into the actions and thoughts, not only of agents, but also of southern planters and former slaver, as both of these groups learned how to deal with new responsibilities and altered relationship.
About the Author
Paul A. Cimbala
is Professor of History at Fordham University and editor of the Press's series The North's Civil War and Reconstructing America. Randall M. Miller is Professor of History and holder of the William Dirk Warren Sesquicentennial Chair at Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia.
Table of Contents
Introduction. The Freedmen's Bureau and Reconstruction : an overview / Randall M. Miller -- Ulysses S. Grant and the Freedmen's Bureau / Brooks D. Simpson -- Andrew Johnson and the Freedmen's Bureau / Hans L. Trefousse -- Emancipation and military pacification : the Freedmen's Bureau and social control in Alabama / Michael W. Fitzgerald -- "One of the most appreciated labors of the Bureau" : The Freedmen's Bureau and the Southern Homestead Act / Michael L. Lanza -- The personnel of the Freedmen's Bureau in Arkansas / Randy Finley -- Architects of a benevolent empire : the relationship between the American Missionary Association and the Freedmen's Bureau in Virginia, 1865-1872 / E. Allen Richardson -- "Une chimáere" : the Freedmen's Bureau in Creole New Orleans / Caryn Cossâe Bell -- "Because they are women" : gender and the Virginia Freedmen's Bureau's "War on dependency" / Mary J. Farmer -- The Freedmen's Bureau and wage labor in the Louisiana sugar region / John C. Rodrigue -- "A full-fledged government of men" : Freedmen's Bureau labor policy in South Carolina, 1865-1868 / James D. Schmidt -- "To enslave the rising generation" : the Freedmen's Bureau and the Texas Black Code / Barry A. Crouch -- Land, lumber, and learning : the Freedmen's Bureau, education and the Black community in post-emancipation Maryland / Richard Paul Fuke -- Reconstruction's allies : the relationship of the Freedmen's Bureau and the Georgia freedmen -- Afterword / James M. McPherson.