preserving the constitution

preserving the constitution - Preserving the Constitution:...

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Unformatted text preview: Preserving the Constitution: The Conservative Basis of Radical Reconstruction Author(s): Michael Les Benedict Reviewed work(s): Source: The Journal of American History, Vol. 61, No. 1 (Jun., 1974), pp. 65-90 Published by: Organization of American Historians Stable URL: . Accessed: 24/01/2012 21:25 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Organization of American Historians is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Journal of American History. Preserving theConstitution: The Conservative BasisofRadical Reconstruction MICHAEL LES BENEDICT IN the 1950s and especiallythe 1960s,Reconstruction historyunderwent its own reconstruction. As twentieth-century Americansbecamemoreand moreawareof theirown racialcrisis,historiansreassessedtheracialcrisis whichfaced theirancestors,bringingto the professionand to the public a new appreciationof theproblemsAmericansfacedin restoringnational and stategovernments in which the personal and civil rightsof black Americanswould be protectedforthefirsttime.'Historianshave reevalu- atedthemotivesof theso-calledRadicalRepublicans,thecharacterof Presi- dentAndrewJohnson,and theverynatureof theissueswhichconfronted AmericansaftertheCivil War. But theyhave notyetreevaluatedthecon- stitutionalframeworkwithinwhichReconstruction proceeded,despitethe factthat,in Eric L. McKitrick'swords,constitutional limitationsformed "an indispensablepartof theframeworkwithinwhichmenthoughtin the nineteenthcentury."2Most recentscholarshave abandonedtheprejudicial Michael Les Benedictis assistantprofessorof historyin Ohio StateUniversity. 1 See Fawn M. Brodie, Thaddeus Stevens: Scourge of the South (New York, 1959); LaWanda Cox and JohnH. Cox, Politics,Principle,and Prejudice 1865-1866: Dilemma of ReconstructionAmerica (New York, 1963); David Donald, The Politicsof Reconstruc- tion 1863-1867 (Baton Rouge, 1965); John Hope Franklin,Reconstruction:Afterthe Civil War (Chicago, 1961); Harold M. Hyman,ed., The Radical Republicansand Re- construction1861-1870 (Indianapolis, 1967); Eric L. McKitrick,Andrew Johnsonand Reconstruction(Chicago, 1960); James M. McPherson, The Struggle for Equality: Abolitionistsand the Negro in the Civil War and Reconstruction(Princeton, 1964); Willie Lee Rose, Rehearsalfor Reconstruction:The Port Royal Experiment(Indianapolis, 1964); KennethM. Stampp,The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877 (New York, 1965); Benjamin P. Thomas and Harold M....
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preserving the constitution - Preserving the Constitution:...

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