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The Republic for Which It Stands : The United States During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896
by Richard White


Overview - The Oxford History of the United States is the most respected multivolume history of the American nation. In the newest volume in the series, The Republic for Which It Stands , acclaimed historian Richard White offers a fresh and integrated interpretation of Reconstruction and the Gilded Age as the seedbed of modern America.  Read more...

 
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More About The Republic for Which It Stands by Richard White
 
 
 
Overview
The Oxford History of the United States is the most respected multivolume history of the American nation. In the newest volume in the series, The Republic for Which It Stands, acclaimed historian Richard White offers a fresh and integrated interpretation of Reconstruction and the Gilded Age as the seedbed of modern America.

At the end of the Civil War the leaders and citizens of the victorious North envisioned the country's future as a free-labor republic, with a homogenous citizenry, both black and white. The South and West were to be reconstructed in the image of the North. Thirty years later Americans occupied an unimagined world. The unity that the Civil War supposedly secured had proved ephemeral. The country was larger, richer, and more extensive, but also more diverse. Life spans were shorter, and physical well-being had diminished, due to disease and hazardous working conditions. Independent producers had become wage earners. The country was Catholic and Jewish as well as Protestant, and increasingly urban and industrial. The "dangerous" classes of the very rich and poor expanded, and deep differences -- ethnic, racial, religious, economic, and political -- divided society. The corruption that gave the Gilded Age its name was pervasive.

These challenges also brought vigorous efforts to secure economic, moral, and cultural reforms. Real change -- technological, cultural, and political -- proliferated from below more than emerging from political leadership. Americans, mining their own traditions and borrowing ideas, produced creative possibilities for overcoming the crises that threatened their country.

In a work as dramatic and colorful as the era it covers, White narrates the conflicts and paradoxes of these decades of disorienting change and mounting unrest, out of which emerged a modern nation whose characteristics resonate with the present day.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780199735815
  • ISBN-10: 0199735816
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publish Date: September 2017
  • Page Count: 968
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds

Series: Oxford History of the United States (Hardcover)

Related Categories

Books > History > United States - 19th Century

 
BookPage Reviews

An era of legends and excess

Between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of a new century, a great transformation—technological, economic, social, cultural, religious and political—took place in the United States. The rise of wage labor led to bitter union and management confrontations. Reformers crusaded for women’s suffrage and Prohibition. Reconstruction brought official gains against slavery, but racism continued against black, Native American and Chinese populations. Contemporaneous historian of the time Henry Adams, from the family of early Adams presidents, believed that by the 1870s, American governance and even democracy itself had failed. The war had extended the role of the federal government, and there was widespread corruption in business and government, while capitalism thrived.

The latest title in the Oxford History of the United States series is the superb The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896 by acclaimed historian Richard White. His brilliant and sweeping exploration focuses on the big picture as well as on individuals, including the true stories behind legends like John Henry, Buffalo Bill and another courageous and very impressive Henry Adams, a freed slave who fought racism in Louisiana. White touches on some deeply ingrained myths. “There is probably no greater irony than the emergence of the cowboy as the epitome of American individualism because cattle raising quickly became corporate.” The American West, often regarded as the heartland of individualism, was where some of the first government bureaucracies began. Railroads also were a symbol of the age, but they proved to be dangerous workplaces where a high number of fatalities occurred in the course of routine work. Railroads were often in financial distress, and by 1895, 25 percent of them were in receivership.

White’s masterful book offers a treasure trove of information about a pivotal time in American history, crafted with a compelling combination of well-written recreations of events and careful analysis based on the latest historical research. The Republic for Which It Stands is the best available guide to the period.

 

This article was originally published in the September 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews