The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998 Page: 556
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
as a political strategy designed to shorten the war; Kenneth Stampp's identifica-
tion of it as an effort to forge a new Republican coalition embracing Southern
Whigs; and Herman Belz, La Wanda Cox, Michael Les Benedict, Peyton
McCrary, and Hans Trefousse's characterization of it as an evolving policy that
became increasingly radical on race issues as the war progressed.
Harris may be correct in his assessment of Lincoln's design, but ultimately
Lincoln's own writings and actions provide enough contradictory evidence to
keep the question open. The President never stated his intentions clearly, and
trying to determine his purposes from his complex actions inevitably leads to
the drawing of conclusions that are at best conditional. What does emerge
clearly in Harris's description of Lincoln's reconstruction efforts is a political
genius of infinite flexibility in securing his goals, whatever they might be.
Within the framework of this study of Lincoln's reconstruction program,
Harris offers one of the clearest looks to date on how that process actually pro-
ceeded in all of the Southern states where attempts were made to create loyal
governments. The student of Texas history will find a good description of the
emergence of AndrewJ. Hamilton as Lincoln's choice for provisional governor
and the efforts at installing him in office during the war. Harris shows the intri-
cate interplay of interests, particularly in New York City and Washington, that
produced the practical application of Lincoln's program.
Unfortunately, the reader will discover nothing about the actual operation of
Hamilton's short-lived Brownsville government or his efforts at reopening fed-
eral courts in the state during the winter of 1863-1864, information that would
be useful in understanding more precisely the range of interests that influ-
enced Texas Unionists.
Ultimately, this book is an important addition to the literature that seeks to
explain what lay behind President Lincoln's reconstruction policy. It may be
even more significant, however, in its portrait of the complex forces at work
where Lincoln's governments were installed.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
CARL H. MONEYHON
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998, periodical, 1998; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/m1/639/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.