At the end of the Civil War, Texans existed in a world with an uncertain future. The South - and especially Texas, which had escaped the military ravages of the war - stood poised on the brink of a new social, economic, and political order. Congressional Reconstruction, the Freedmen's Bureau, the U.S. Army, and a Republican state administration all presaged change. Nonetheless, nine years later in 1874, Texas more closely resembled the Texas of 1861 than anyone might have predicted at war's end. Reconstruction had remade little. In Texas after the Civil War, Carl H. Moneyhon reconsiders the reasons Reconstruction failed to live up to its promise. He shows that the period was not one of corruption and irresponsible government, as earlier studies have argued, nor was the Republican regime of Edmund J. Davis devoid of accomplishments. Rather, the fact that the Civil War had shaken but not destroyed the antebellum community made the resistance to changes in government and society even greater than elsewhere in the South. Moneyhon examines the character of violence in the state, as well as the social and economic forces that shaped the response to Reconstruction. Clearly written, this culmination of the last fifty years of research on the era will stand as the definitive synthesis and interpretation of Reconstruction in Texas for years to come.
Carl H. Moneyhon, a professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is a specialist on the Civil War and Reconstruction. The author of Republicanism in Reconstruction Texas, he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and is a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association.