The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

to the interest and make the book more valuable than either of the
earlier works. The design and typography are attractive, and the nu-
merous halftone illustrations emphasize the span of years which has
elapsed since Herman Lehmann lived the story.
Eagle Pass, Texas BEN E. PINGENOT
Reconstruction to Reform: Texas Politics, 1876-1go6. By Alwyn Barr.
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971. Pp. xiv+315. Bibliogra-
phy, illustrations, index. $8.50.)
In recent years such scholars as William J. Cooper, William Ivy
Hair, and Jack P. Maddex have produced able political histories of
selected southern states during the late nineteenth century. Alwyn
Barr's book on Texas politics is the most recent contribution to this
field. Based on wide reading in primary and secondary literature, the
work includes detailed descriptions of the politicians, campaigns, and
gubernatorial administrations of that era. While Barr devotes atten-
tion to such groups as Greenbacks, Populists, and Republicans, his
forte is a careful examination of the shifting factionalism within the
Democratic party. He has produced a sound synthesis of Texas poli-
tics from the end of Reconstruction to the beginning of the Progres-
sive Era.
Although the work will be of some value to students of the late
nineteenth century, it will prove disappointing to many. Not only does
it fail to measure up to much of the recent historical literature, but
it offers the reader little that he does not already know. Unlike Pro-
fessors Cooper, Hair, and Maddex, Barr makes no attempt to measure
the post-Reconstruction era in Texas against the model that C. Vann
Woodward developed over twenty years ago in Origins of the New
South. His treatment of the Independent movement of the 188o's is
not on par with the studies of Mahoneism in Virginia and the Chalm-
ers movement in Mississippi. The material on the Farmers' Alliance
and the People's party does not provide fresh insight. Had Barr fol-
lowed the imaginative approaches of Sheldon Hackney's work on Ala-
bama or O. Gene Clanton's study of Kansas, he might have been able
to probe more deeply into Texas Populism. An analysis of the voting
records of the Populists in the Texas legislature might have been
especially rewarding.
Students of Progressivism will gain little from the author's attempt
to explain its origins. Barr mentions some of the sources from which


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 27, 2014.