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Between Freedom and Progress: The Lost World of Reconstruction Politics by David Prior (review)

Between Freedom and Progress: The Lost World of Reconstruction Politics by David Prior (review) lucien holness is an assistant professor of history at Virginia Tech. His current project examines the making of free soil and Black freedom, as well as the abolitionist movement in southwestern Pennsylvania from 1780 to 1865. Between Freedom and Progress: The Lost World of Reconstruction Politics. By David Prior. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2019. Pp. 258. Cloth, $45.00.) Between Freedom and Progress seeks to understand how Americans in the 1860s and 1870s believed Reconstruction fit in the grand pattern of global events. In addressing this question, Prior resorts to an imma- nent definition of Reconstruction. To those alive at the time, he argues, Reconstruction signified the reunification of a state that had successfully resisted dissolution. The phrase also indicated an important social trans- formation that included granting citizenship to the formerly enslaved. These meanings suggest that Reconstruction was primarily a domes- tic process. Yet Prior asserts that a lively, popular press helped convince Americans that Reconstruction was most meaningful when recognized as part of a global struggle. American notions of this struggle revolved around two ideas. First, civilization was engaged in a battle against bar- barism, while “republicanism likewise contended against despotism and aristocracy” (6). The victory http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

Between Freedom and Progress: The Lost World of Reconstruction Politics by David Prior (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 11 (4) – Nov 12, 2021

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

Abstract

lucien holness is an assistant professor of history at Virginia Tech. His current project examines the making of free soil and Black freedom, as well as the abolitionist movement in southwestern Pennsylvania from 1780 to 1865. Between Freedom and Progress: The Lost World of Reconstruction Politics. By David Prior. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2019. Pp. 258. Cloth, $45.00.) Between Freedom and Progress seeks to understand how Americans in the 1860s and 1870s believed Reconstruction fit in the grand pattern of global events. In addressing this question, Prior resorts to an imma- nent definition of Reconstruction. To those alive at the time, he argues, Reconstruction signified the reunification of a state that had successfully resisted dissolution. The phrase also indicated an important social trans- formation that included granting citizenship to the formerly enslaved. These meanings suggest that Reconstruction was primarily a domes- tic process. Yet Prior asserts that a lively, popular press helped convince Americans that Reconstruction was most meaningful when recognized as part of a global struggle. American notions of this struggle revolved around two ideas. First, civilization was engaged in a battle against bar- barism, while “republicanism likewise contended against despotism and aristocracy” (6). The victory

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 12, 2021

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