The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 421
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defects of the militia system rather than the Negro's blood stream.
If Negro militiamen were unruly and unreliable, so were the
white militiamen in 1812. The Negro was the dupe, not the
villain, in the story of Reconstruction.
Failure of the Negro militia was inevitable. Only overwhelm-
ing federal force could have effected the drastic social and polit-
ical alterations which the Radicals envisioned. And the Radical
governors themselves, fearing a racial war, refused to use even
the militia to its limit. They were, as Professor Singletary points
out, "timid Caesars, unwilling to cross the Rubicon."
The lethal blow to the militia was dealt by the illegal, armed
counterforces which sprang up throughout the South under the
guise of social clubs. These forces, in reality the military arm
of the Democratic party, were the core of the White Line move-
ment. They were better equipped, trained, and led than the
Negro militia-and even more ruthless, perhaps. They embarked
upon a calculated campaign of fraud and violence which not
only destroyed the Radical regimes but provided Southern whites
with an effective technique for controlling Negroes in the future.
Such an effective counterforce would have been impossible, how-
ever, if the national Radicals had not abandoned their satellites.
The over-all quality of the book is excellent. It has all the ear-
marks of a scholarly production-compactness, coherence, logical
analysis, and an impressive bibliography. The style is "semi-
narish"-clear and unadorned. Interest is sustained throughout,
but perhaps a little more reporting and a little less recording
would have captured more of the color-and humor-latent in the
subject. The author handles a touchy subject with commendable
restraint and objectivity but leaves some questions unanswered.
Why did the national Radicals desert their satellites? What was
the attitude of the Northern people toward the Negro militia?
What permanent effects did the militia's failure have on the
One cannot read this slender volume without noting striking
parallels between Reconstruction and the present, and without
pondering on the futility of violence, the virulent nature of racial
bias, and the frightful cost of imposing drastic social changes on
a conquered people. E. BRUCE THOMPSON
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/503/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.