Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Washington Winter - Reconstruction

The author places the blame for the carpetbaggers of reconstruction squarely on the shoulders of Southerners themselves: "The close of the war found the leading families of the South sullen, discontented with the inevitable new status, and mourning over the Lost Cause. They disdained politics; and, in place of trying to gain political control of the seceded States, they held aloof in stolid contempt. This was, perhaps, not to be wondered at, in view of the violent revulsion of all their cherished hopes and feelings; but it was senseless and unwise. It gave the opportunity to strangers, men who sought the South as adventurers, to get control of local interests."

I can well imagine how this paragraph would have been received by those who lived and suffered in the south, especially Virginia, during the American civil war! I can hear the outraged voices rising in protest. I wonder if Thomas Nelson Page, a Virginia writer of the same period, wrote anything about this book? Or Sara Pryor, or Constance Cary Harrison, or later, Ellen Glasgow?

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