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American History

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    After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War - Gregory P. Downs
    Call Number: E 668 .D74 2015
    ISBN: 9780674743984
    Publication Date: 2015-04-09
    On April 8, 1865, after four years of civil war, General Robert E. Lee wrote to General Ulysses S. Grant asking for peace. Peace was beyond his authority to negotiate, Grant replied, but surrender terms he would discuss. As Gregory Downs reveals in this gripping history of post-Civil War America, Grant's distinction proved prophetic, for peace would elude the South for years after Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

    After Appomattox argues that the war did not end with Confederate capitulation in 1865. Instead, a second phase commenced which lasted until 1871-not the project euphemistically called Reconstruction but a state of genuine belligerency whose mission was to shape the terms of peace. Using its war powers, the U.S. Army oversaw an ambitious occupation, stationing tens of thousands of troops in hundreds of outposts across the defeated South. This groundbreaking study of the post-surrender occupation makes clear that its purpose was to crush slavery and to create meaningful civil and political rights for freed people in the face of rebels' bold resistance.

    But reliance on military occupation posed its own dilemmas. In areas beyond Army control, the Ku Klux Klan and other violent insurgencies created near-anarchy. Voters in the North also could not stomach an expensive and demoralizing occupation. Under those pressures, by 1871, the Civil War came to its legal end. The wartime after Appomattox disrupted planter power and established important rights, but the dawn of legal peacetime heralded the return of rebel power, not a sustainable peace.

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    Gold and Freedom: The Political Economy of Reconstruction - Nicolas Barreyre; Arthur Goldhammer (Translator)
    Call Number: E668 .B25513 2015
    ISBN: 9780813937755
    Publication Date: 2015-12-15
    Historians have long treated Reconstruction primarily as a southern concern isolated from broader national political developments. Yet at its core, Reconstruction was a battle for the legacy of the Civil War that would determine the political fate not only of the South but of the nation. In Gold and Freedom, Nicolas Barreyre recovers the story of how economic issues became central to American politics after the war.

    The idea that a financial debate was as important for Reconstruction as emancipation may seem remarkable, but the war created economic issues that all Americans, not just southerners, had to grapple with, including a huge debt, an inconvertible paper currency, high taxation, and tariffs. Alongside the key issues of race and citizenship, the struggle with the new economic model and the type of society it created pervaded the entire country. Both were legacies of war. Both were fought over by the same citizens in a newly reunited nation. It was thus impossible for such closely related debates to proceed independently.

    A truly groundbreaking work, Gold and Freedom shows how much the fate of Reconstruction--and the political world it ultimately created--owed to northern sectional divisions, revealing important links between race and economy, as well as region and nation, not previously recognized.

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