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LSU Press

Urban Emancipation: Popular Politics in Reconstruction Mobile, 1860--1890

Urban Emancipation: Popular Politics in Reconstruction Mobile, 1860--1890

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Scholars of Reconstruction have generally described Republican party factional conflicts in racial terms, as if the Radical agenda evoked unified black support. As Michael W. Fitzgerald shows in the first major study of black popular politics in the urban South in the years surrounding the Civil War, that depiction oversimplifies a contentious and often overlooked intraracial dynamic. Republican political power, he argues, heightened divisions within the African American community, divisions that were ultimately a major factor in the failure of Reconstruction.

Focusing on Mobile, the Confederacy's fourth largest city, Fitzgerald traces how the rivalry between longtime black residents and destitute freedmen fleeing the countryside yielded a startlingly antagonistic political scene. He demonstrates that the Republican factionalism that helped doom Reconstruction went beyond competing cliques of white officeholders. Boldly challenging reigning theories about the nature of post-Civil War politics, Urban Emancipation will spark historical debate for years to come.

Author: Michael W. Fitzgerald
Publisher: LSU Press
Published: 09/01/2002
Pages: 320
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.07lbs
Size: 9.16h x 6.10w x 0.89d
ISBN: 9780807128374

About the Author
Michael W. Fitzgerald is a professor of history at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and the author of The Union League Movement in the Deep South: Politics and Agricultural Change During Reconstruction.

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