Birth of the Texas Republican Party
JAMES A. BAGGETT*
SOUTHERN STATES HAVE WITNESSED IN THE LAST FORTY YEARS A REEX-
amination of their Reconstruction history or at least certain aspects of
it.' Unfortunately, Texas has been plagued by a retelling of the standard
unrevised version of Reconstruction.2 Taking the torch of traditionalism
from earlier writers, and unrestrained by historical revisionism,' contempo-
rary historians have proceeded to further stereotype the state's post-Civil
*The author teaches history at Laredo Junior College.
:Some of these studies are Francis Butler Simkins and Robert Hilliard Woody, South
Carolina during Reconstruction (Chapel Hill, 1932); Horace Mann Bond, Negro Educa-
tion in Alabama: A Study in Cotton and Steel (Washington, D.C., 1939); Roger W.
Shugg, Origins of Class Struggle in Louisiana: A Social History of White Farmers and
Laborers during Slavery and After, 1840-1875 (Baton Rouge, 1939) ; Vernon Lane Whar-
ton, The Negro in Mississippi, 1865-1890 (Chapel Hill, 1947); Thomas B. Alexander,
Political Reconstruction in Tennessee (Nashville, 1950); Joel Williamson, After Slavery:
The Negro in South Carolina during Reconstruction, 1861-1877 (Chapel Hill, 1965);
Joe M. Richardson, The Negro in the Reconstruction of Florida 1865-1877 (Tallahassee,
1965); Alan Conway, The Reconstruction of Georgia (Minneapolis, 1966); Martin Ab-
bott, The Freedmen's Bureau in South Carolina, 1865-1872 (Chapel Hill, 1967); Wil-
liam C. Harris, Presidential Reconstruction in Mississippi (Baton Rouge, 1967); Elizabeth
Studley Nathans, Losing the Peace: Georgia Republicans and Reconstruction, 1865-1871
(Baton Rouge, 1968); and Richard O. Curry (ed.), Radicalism, Racism, and Party Re-
alignment: The Border States during Reconstruction (Baltimore, 1969).
2See, for example, Marion Humphreys Farrow, The Texas Democrats: Early Demo-
cratic History in Texas (San Antonio, 1944); W. C. Nunn, Texas under the Carpet-
baggers (Austin, 1962); and Ernest Wallace, Texas in Turmoil, 1849-1875 (Austin,
1965). For an elaboration of the above view see Edgar P. Sneed, "A Historiography of
Reconstruction in Texas: Some Myths and Problems," Southwestern Historical Quarterly,
LXXII (April, 1969), 435-448.
SThe trends of Reconstruction revisionism can best be seen in the number of excellent
historiographical essays: Francis B. Simkins, "New Viewpoints of Southern Reconstruc-
tion," Journal of Southern History, V (February, 1939), 49-61; Howard K. Beale, "On
Rewriting Reconstruction History," American Historical Review, XLV (July, 1940),
807-827; T. Harry Williams, "An Analysis of Some Reconstruction Attitudes," Journal
of Southern History, XII (November, 1946), 469-486 John Hope Franklin, "Whither
Reconstruction Historiography?" Journal of Negro Education, XVII (Fall, 1948), 446-
461; Bernard A. Weisberger, "The Dark and Bloody Ground of Reconstruction Historiog-
raphy," Journal of Southern History, XXV (November, 1959), 427-447; Vernon L.
Wharton, "Reconstruction," in Arthur S. Link and Rembert W. Patrick (eds.), Writing
Southern History: Essays in Historiography in Honor of Fletcher M. Green (Baton
Rouge, 1965), 295-315; and Gerald N. Grob, "Reconstruction: An American Morality
Play," in George Athan Billias and Gerald N. Grob (eds.), American History: Retrospect
and Prospect (New York, 1971), I91-231. For an overview summary of the revisionist
generalizations see Kenneth M. Stampp, The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877 (New
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117149/. Accessed January 25, 2015.