The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 388
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
be idolized by Huey Long and countless other Louisiana demagogues.
Furthermore, according to Current, elections marred by fraud and in-
timidation, competing constitutional conventions, dual state govern-
ments, poisonous patronage, and trumped-up impeachments-all the
goodies of Gilded Age politics-abounded in the carpetbagger regimes.
In short, Current's work is filled with evidence that suggests that the
carpetbagger stereotype, though greatly exaggerated, had a sound basis
Despite such criticisms, Those Terrible Carpetbaggers is a very useful
book. Beyond its contribution to the ongoing scholarly demolition of the
carpetbagger and other Reconstruction stereotypes, it offers an inter-
pretation of Reconstruction that further invalidates the misguided in-
terpretations of neo-radical revisionists like Allen Trelease, Robert L.
Cruden, and Perman, and of Johnson defenders like James Sefton and
Patrick Riddleberger. It brings to life ten prominent carpetbaggers,
showing us the complexity of Reconstruction through their eyes and
expressing its passions through their voices. Additionally, Current pro-
vides fresh glimpses of the ubiquitousness and brutality of Southern
vigilantism, and the self-defeating fractionalization of Republican par-
ties in the South, both of which played critical roles in Reconstruction's
ultimate failure. Finally, Current never lets his readers forget that the
impasse that was Reconstruction in the South boiled down to a single
o1 Michael Les Benedict, The Impeachment and Thal ofAndrewJohnson (New York: W. W. Norton
and Co., 1973)-
Opposite page: Photograph of Maj. Charles W. Cosby, CSA, taken at Blessing
and Patrick's Gallery in Houston, May 1865. Samuel T. Blessing, a Confederate
soldier in the First Texas Infantry regiment of Hood's Texas Brigade, returned
to Texas after the Civil War and made a living as a photographer in Houston.
This carte de visite, like the one opposite page 275 of this issue, was made at
Blessing's Houston studio at almost the same time. One pictures a Union sol-
dier with the occupation army, the other a defeated Confederate soldier who
has returned home. Cosby signed his name on the front of his carte de visite,
and on the back wrote a touching dedication: "No longer the 'Old Rattler' 'But
the Roving boy of Poverty.' For my little 'Trudy.' May 1865." Courtesy Lawrence T.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/444/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.