Texas Under the Carpetbaggers. By W. C. Nunn. Austin (Uni-
versity of Texas Press), 1962. Pp. 304. Bibliography, index,
Texas Under the Carpetbaggers, a detailed chronicle of Texas
during the administration of Governor E. J. Davis (1870-1874),
is a much more thorough examination of Republican rule than
has heretofore been available. Yet it will be sorely disappointing
to those seeking an unbiased account or an understanding of the
era. Professor W. C. Nunn adds little but detail to the often re-
peated tale of woe that O. M. Roberts, Frank Brown, T. B.
Wheeler, and other contemporary conservative Democrats left
for posterity. There is only an occasional glimpse of the Republi-
can view, or of the several positive achievements of the Davis
administration. The events and personnel of this unhappy period
are all presented (often in bewildering profusion) but there is
little attempt to explain what motivated men to their actions.
Even the central figure, Governor Davis, remains little more
than a shadowy caricature of a self-seeking politician throughout
the half of the book that deals with politics. Completely ignored
are the problems, questions, and re-evaluations of the traditional
view of Reconstruction raised by the work of such scholars as
F. B. Simkins, C. Van Woodward, Bernard Weisberger, John
Hope Franklin, and the like. That part of the book not dealing
with politics is devoted to surveys of economic changes, frontier
problems, and social conditions. It is in these discussions that
the book has something new to offer, for although somewhat
superficial in coverage, these sections are useful examinations of
some neglected areas of Texas history.
In addition to ignoring new viewpoints, Professor Nunn
seemingly has used little material that has come to light since
he first wrote this work as a dissertation prior to World War II.
An examination of the bibliography reveals only four secondary
works published after 1934: The Handbook of Texas, S. G.
Reed's History of Texas Railroads, the Texas Almanac for 1958-
1959, and Thomas A. Bailey's college textbook in American his-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/. Accessed May 6, 2016.