The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969 Page: 436
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and Kenneth Stampp demonstrate the degree to which traditional
Reconstruction history, national and local, has lost consequence.'
The fact that almost all histories of Texas Reconstruction have been
written by Texans in sympathy with their ancestors' views does not
in itself compromise the significance of their research and writing.
Sympathy for his subject is a legitimate mood for any historian. But
most Texas historians of this period have confused sympathy with
judgment. With few exceptions, they have accepted the conservative
bias and racial prejudice expressed during Reconstruction, not only
as facts relevant to the period, but as the assumptive basis for their
own scholarly interpretations of events. They have been too "under-
Texas historians have not realized (or have not pointed out) that
the words ond conduct of conservative southerners after the Civil
War were the weapons used to continue the struggle against the
liberal nationalism of the victorious North and West. Historical
judgment can never be left unquestioned to the participants of a con-
flict. Antagonists rarely achieve disinterested viewpoints. Certainly
conservative Texans, unbroken in spirit in 1865-1867, were not ready
to quit the struggle and abandon what they considered their rightful
way of life. They had lost the military war, and after 1866 they nearly
lost the political war. Their last resort was a guerrilla resistance in
which words were principal weapons. Radical governor E. J. Davis
called it "a slow civil war."" Consciously or instinctively, the "old
regime" Texans poured forth torrents of words on their adversaries.
Ignoring reality, as well as their own faults and shortcomings, they
vigorously denounced every real and imagined sin they could attribute
to their enemies: Negroes, northerners, and Unionists." Most Texans
nal of Negro Education, XVII (Fall, 1948), 446-461, and by Bernard A. Weisberger, in
"The Dark and Bloody Ground of Reconstruction Historiography," Journal of Southern
History, XXV (November, 1959), 427-447.
4John Hope Franklin, Reconstruction: After the Civil War (Chicago, 1961), and
Kenneth M. Stampp, The Era of Reconstruction 1865-1877 (New York, 1965).
5Charles W. Ramsdell, Reconstruction in Texas (reprint; Gloucester, Massachusetts,
Charles W. Ramsdell, "Presidential Reconstruction in Texas," The Quarterly of the
Texas State Historical Association, XI (April, 1908), 282-288; Robert W. Shook, "The
Federal Military in Texas, 1865-1870," Texas Military History, VI (Spring, 1967), 13,
15-16, 31; Robert W. Shook, "The Odyssey of David Irvin," East Texas Historical Journal,
IV (October, 1966), 123; William T. Field, Jr., "The Texas State Police, 1870-1873,"
Texas Military History, V (Fall, 1965), 139-141.
For example, William Curtis Nunn, Texas Under the Carpetbaggers (Austin, 1962),
165-167, declares that the Radical state "legislature also encouraged needless spending.
." He then cites figures of expenditures during the period but makes no attempt to
demonstrate that these expenditures were "needless." Rather he simply quotes "an anti-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969, periodical, 1969; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/m1/508/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.