Lilla is tired of losing elections, and tired of watching his own side sabotage itself. In an e-mail exchange, Lilla answered a few questions I put to him about the book:
We are pleased to again welcome Philip Leigh, who brings us a long-form guest post on how the Reconstruction shaped the southern states.
Shortly before the Centennial it was generally agreed that the chief aim of the Republican-dominated Congress was to ensure lasting Party control of the federal government by creating a reliable voting bloc in the South for which improved racial status among blacks was a paired, but secondary, objective.
However, by the Sesquicentennial it had become the accepted view that Republicans were primarily motivated by an enlightened drive for racial equality uncorrupted by anything more than minor self interest.
Due to the presently dominant race-centric focus on the era, analysis of the economic aspects of Reconstruction merit dedicated attention, as does a reexamination of Republican motives. Such is the purpose of this paper. Prior to the war the South had a bimodal wealth distribution with concentrations at the poles.
The classic planter with fifty or more slaves had a prosperous estate much like the fictional Tara in Gone With the Wind. However, there were only about 8, such families, which was less than one percent of the total.
Nearly a century after the war ineight of the ten states with the lowest per capita income were former Confederate states. Similarly, years after the war started only one Southern state, Virginia, ranked within the top ten in per capita adjusted gross income as reported to the Internal Revenue Service whereas five of the bottom ten in were Confederate states.
The classic example is Mississippi, which ranked number one in per capita wealth, but was dead last at fiftieth in per capita income.
The depths of post Civil War Southern poverty and its duration were far greater, longer, and more multiracial than is commonly realized. People who talk of further retaliation and punishment…do not conceive of the suffering endured already, or they are heartless.
Steamboats had nearly disappeared from the rivers. One hundred million dollars in insurance investments and twice that amount in bank assets had vanished. Since their protective levees had been destroyed, thousands of square miles of Mississippi delta cotton lands were overrun with briers and cane thickets.
Returning Confederate soldiers often found their families existing in conditions of near, if not actual, starvation. Within thirty miles of Atlanta an estimated 35, others were destitute and near starvation.
Thousands more like him rebuilt their burned homes and wrecked farms. When there was a shortage of work stock, the few surviving animals were passed from neighbor to neighbor. By ingenuity, backbreaking toil, and cruel self-denial thousands of Southern farmers survived reconstruction…They received no aid from any source, nor any sympathy outside the region.
Infifteen years after the war, the value of Southern farms was only two-thirds of the antebellum figure. So great was the devastation and anemic the rebound that by the South had barely recovered to the level of economic activity prior to the Civil War. Among such factors were property confiscation, Republican Party self-interest, discriminatory federal budgets, protective tariffs, unfair banking regulations, and lax monopoly regulation.
When Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox more than two million fungible cotton bales were scattered across the South. The cotton might have been an invaluable resource to prime the pump of Southern recovery but instead it was plundered. Anything that could be sold for cash was targeted.
Residents of Confederate states naturally ignored the tax but after territories were captured treasury agents selectively enforced it by seizing properties and selling them.
Sometimes the agents bought the best properties themselves for the price of the unpaid taxes and quickly resold them at much higher market prices. After the federal government ceased trying to collect the tax and in permitted the previous owners to reclaim such properties still held by the government, but those that had been sold to private buyers remained the property of the new owners.
The war-devastated South endured some the highest property taxes in relation to wealth in the history of the United States. One Republican state senator in South Carolina named Beverly Nash, who happened to be African-American and was an admitted bribe taker, explained: I tell you they are not high enough.
I want them taxed until they put these lands back where they belong, into the hands of those who worked for them. You [ex-slaves] worked for them, you labored for them, and were sold to pay for them, and you ought to have them.Chapter 11 & STUDY. PLAY. Immigrants. The political movement toward greater democracy for the common man typified by American politician Andrew Jackson and his supporters The Nullification Crisis occurred during Jackson's presidency in the early .
Finally, Andrew Johnson, who had been a strong supporter of Jackson, became President following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in , but by then Jacksonian democracy had been pushed off the stage of American politics.
Andrew Jackson left a permanent imprint upon American politics and the presidency. Within eight years, he melded the amorphous coalition of personal followers who had elected him into the country's most durable and successful political party, an electoral machine whose organization and discipline.
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As an engaging and persuasive survey of American public life from to , Harry L. Watson's Liberty and Power remains a landmark achievement.
Now updated to address twenty-five years of new scholarship, the book brilliantly interprets the exciting political landscape that was the age of Jackson-a time that saw the rise of strong political parties and an increased popular involvement in.