The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

and "praying person." In fact, it is the central strength of Bruce's analysis
that it is attuned to the current emphasis on "performance" and "communi-
cation" in the study of anthropology and, especially, folklore; thus one
learns much about the functions of "participants," "reporters," "outsiders,"
"mockers," and "scorners" in the camp meetings. The result is a rich but
discriminating description of significant events too often discussed in satire
and caricature.
Bruce's effort to relate the camp meetings he discusses to their cultural
settings is a failure. But, to his contention that students must now look at
the language and participatory configurations of the frontier revival, the
only appropriate response is a hearty "Amen"!
The University of Texas at Austin HOWARD MILLER
Louisiana Reconstructed, 1863-1877. By Joe Gray Taylor. (Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 1974. Pp. xi+552. Illustrations,
footnotes, index, bibliography. $2o.)
Although revisionist historians have seized triumphant possession of what
Bernard A. Weisberger has called "The Dark and Bloody Ground of Recon-
struction Historiography," they have been slow to replace the state studies
written by students of William A. Dunning around the turn of the century.
The Dunning school's works gave an often distorted picture of Recon-
struction, with the "good" white southern Democrats fighting against the
"bad" Negro Republicans and their wicked white allies. Only now are
revisionist state studies beginning to appear in any numbers. Taylor's book,
based on impressive research in manuscripts, official documents, news-
papers, and earlier books and articles, is a model revisionist study of a
state whose Radical Republican regime has enjoyed the blackest reputation
of any southern state government during Reconstruction.
Disposing of Reconstruction myths so far as Louisiana is concerned,
Taylor concludes that the white Radical Republican leaders had no real
intention of trying for a social or economic revolution; that the constitution
drawn up in 1867-1868 was, by modern standards, an improvement over
any basic law the state had ever had; that the state debt would have risen
no matter who governed after the war; that well over one-half of the
actual state debt at the height of Reconstruction had been incurred by
Democratic legislatures before the Radicals took power; that taxes were
never so high as to be confiscatory; that the frantic struggle for internal
improvements also had its beginning under the Democrats; and that Louisi-
ana was not unique in the sort of corruption practiced. "In fact," the


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed October 10, 2015.