Untying the Reconstruction Knot
Success widened Republican divisions. Johnson's postimpeachment docility, Grant's election, the dramatic improvements in and restorations of half-a-dozen southern states, the withering away of the Army there, the spectacle of Negroes voting and assuming high offices, and the ratifications of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments led ever-increasing numbers of political activists to drop involvements. Social-science, religious, and welfare auxiliaries shifted attention, energy, funds, and talent toward other, usually local horizons. "Constitutional jurisprudence" was swiftly becoming attuned to immediate concerns, noted Columbia's former president William Duer.1 Reconstruction was less and less immediate.
In 1868 an immediately significant new literature helped further to justify the retreat from southern Reconstruction. Treatises by Cooley, Dillon, and Jameson, sustaining Republican____________________