The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985 Page: 210
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
185os, as did slave values. The evidence presented here is that this was
a very profitable economy, almost self-sufficient. There seemed no pos-
sibility of the institution of slavery withering away.
The central question under examination is what changes took place
in this society under the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Obviously the answers throw light on the entire South during this
period. One great change was the arrival of federal officials-army of-
ficers and bureau folk. The pattern of events was fairly typical of the
Old South. The conservative view triumphed at the constitutional
convention of 1866; a black code was enacted. The registration of
blacks under congressional Reconstruction in 1868 marked the rise
of the freedmen to power, but neither presidential nor congressional
Reconstruction saw much social change, as sharecropping succeeded
the plantation system. Military Reconstruction ended on April 16,
1870, and redemption proceeded in Texas-a process not completed in
Harrison County until November, 1878. The educational and fi-
nancial reforms under the Constitution of 1869, however, were en-
What makes the story of this county different is the presence of rail-
road enterprise. This reflects somewhat the theme set forth by C. Vann
Woodward in Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and
the End of Reconstruction. The Southern Pacific was to run through
the county, but the author points out that the citizens themselves made
the overcommitment to railroads. The need to honor these debts was
the driving political force during the 1 87os.
Chapter 14, "Changes and Continuity since 1850," summarizes
the major themes of the book. Agriculture had suffered; the prosperity
of antebellum agriculture based on slave labor had not been recovered
by 188o. The elimination of property in slaves had taken place, but
the ownership of landed property was "largely untouched" and thus
there was "no socio-economic revolution" (p. 392). The persistence of
the planter elite and their families is convincingly told.
This is a valuable and important study of local history. It is a pity that
the story is truncated. The reader would like to know something of
the county's history before 185o and after 188o. The new county his-
tories leave one with the feeling of incompleteness, in spite of their
thorough coverage of the period in question. The old county histories
did have the advantage of a full chronological survey from the first
settlers to present times.
University of South Carolina
GEORGE C. ROGERS, JR.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985, periodical, 1984/1985; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/m1/244/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.