Presidential Reconstruction in Mississippi

Presidential Reconstruction in Mississippi

Presidential Reconstruction in Mississippi

Presidential Reconstruction in Mississippi

Excerpt

Probably no period or aspect of nineteenth-century Southern history has been so neglected as Presidential Reconstruction in the individual states. Historical accounts of postwar developments usually pass over the period immediately after the war with a few comments concerning the destructive effects of the war in the South, the transition from slave to free labor, and the Presidential plan for the restoration of the states to the Union. Presidential Reconstruction is treated as an interregnum that, despite its noble features, only retarded the restoration of these states. Thus, in the flow of history, this period, historians seem to suggest by their neglect, really has little significance. And after they have chronicled the triumph of Congress over the President, they rush on to relate the story that they really set out to tell in the first place -- the story of Congressional or Radical Reconstruction.

It is true that a great deal has been written concerning the power struggle between the President and Congress; but, by their nature, these studies have focused on the political scene in Washington and have almost incidentally included affairs in the Southern states. Furthermore, when developments in the former Confederate states are mentioned, the attitudes and policies which created or caused these developments are treated in most of the reconstruction studies as if the former Confederates of the South were monolithic in their ap-

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