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Reconstructing Democracy: Grassroots Black Politics in the Deep South after the Civil War by Justin Behrend (review)

Reconstructing Democracy: Grassroots Black Politics in the Deep South after the Civil War by... leaders from regaining political power, but for Lincoln mercy trumped retribution, and throngs of Southern Unionists eligible for amnesty seemed as equally determined as Confederate politicians to subjugate the blacks. Lincoln was aware of all these difficulties; soon he would have a second term to deal with them. (149­50) Sadly, thanks to Booth, Lincoln had no second term. Masur concludes his volume, excellent for either undergraduate surveys or upper-division courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, with an epilogue analyzing reaction to the assassination and what it meant for the future of reconstruction. He concludes, "All that can be said with certainty concerns character, not policy, and Lincoln's character did not allow politics to become personal. . . . Neither was he doctrinaire" (186). Frederick Douglass agreed: "Had Mr. Lincoln lived, we might have looked for still greater progress. Learning wisdom by war, he would have learned more from peace" (186). Lincoln's Last Speech is a necessary reminder for Americans that the tragedy of Booth's crime was that it made Lincoln's wartime progress and learning unavailable when they were most needed and that the emancipatory gains of Reconstruction, albeit important, were so limited; it was the triumph of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

Reconstructing Democracy: Grassroots Black Politics in the Deep South after the Civil War by Justin Behrend (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 6 (3) – Aug 18, 2016

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
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2159-9807
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Abstract

leaders from regaining political power, but for Lincoln mercy trumped retribution, and throngs of Southern Unionists eligible for amnesty seemed as equally determined as Confederate politicians to subjugate the blacks. Lincoln was aware of all these difficulties; soon he would have a second term to deal with them. (149­50) Sadly, thanks to Booth, Lincoln had no second term. Masur concludes his volume, excellent for either undergraduate surveys or upper-division courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, with an epilogue analyzing reaction to the assassination and what it meant for the future of reconstruction. He concludes, "All that can be said with certainty concerns character, not policy, and Lincoln's character did not allow politics to become personal. . . . Neither was he doctrinaire" (186). Frederick Douglass agreed: "Had Mr. Lincoln lived, we might have looked for still greater progress. Learning wisdom by war, he would have learned more from peace" (186). Lincoln's Last Speech is a necessary reminder for Americans that the tragedy of Booth's crime was that it made Lincoln's wartime progress and learning unavailable when they were most needed and that the emancipatory gains of Reconstruction, albeit important, were so limited; it was the triumph of

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Aug 18, 2016

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