The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969 Page: 448
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Undoubtedly, McKay's study of "Social Conditions in Texas in
the Eighteen Seventies" is the best available expression of material
well-being in Texas during Reconstruction. Texans were a people
satisfied with and proud of their economic and social progress. Their
sense of well-being is demonstrated in population statistics; the pop-
ulation rose, in the 186o's, by one-third while that of the nation
increased by one-fourth. Their economic stability is witnessed by
the size of Texas' middle and substantial classes; based upon i870
Census data, fully 6o percent of all Texans "gainfully employed"
were property-holding farmers, businessmen, members of professions,
or skilled tradesmen. Their faith in the future is reflected in rapid
growth of the Texas cities of Galveston, San Antonio, Houston, and
Jefferson; Galveston acquired its first paved streets in 1869, several
theaters in 1870, the Tremont Hotel ("considered one of the finest
in the entire South") in 1872, and gas lights on the streets soon
after." Texans were not a people crushed under despotic, alien rule!
These are but three of many problems in Texas Reconstruction
that should occupy Texas historians. Some problems will require little
more than reevaluation; the scholarship of Ramsdell, McKay, and
others is graced by extensive research. Historiographical reevaluation
of this scholarship, reinforced with basic research into those topics
still untouched, will save much of it from an unfortunate fate--
57McKay, "Social Conditions," 32, 35-36, 39. For a study of public finances, see E. T.
Miller, "The State Finances of Texas During the Reconstruction," The Quarterly of the
Texas State Historical Association, XIV (October, 1910), 87-112. Miller uses the tone of
the "traditionalist," but he grudgingly admits that his meticulous study of state finances
leaves little basis for condemnation of the Radicals. His sharp criticism of Radical deficit
spending and high taxing, unfortunately, has the quality of a moral indictment rather
than the character of a historical point of view.
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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/m1/520/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.