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New Orleans after the Civil War: Race, Politics, and a New Birth of Freedom

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We often think of Reconstruction as an unfinished revolution. Justin A. Nystrom's original study of the aftermath of emancipation in New Orleans takes a different perspective, arguing that the politics of the era were less of a binary struggle over political supremacy and morality than they were about a quest for stability in a world rendered uncertain and unfamiliar by th We often think of Reconstruction as an unfinished revolution. Justin A. Nystrom's original study of the aftermath of emancipation in New Orleans takes a different perspective, arguing that the politics of the era were less of a binary struggle over political supremacy and morality than they were about a quest for stability in a world rendered uncertain and unfamiliar by the collapse of slavery.Commercially vibrant and racially unique before the Civil War, New Orleans after secession and following Appomattox provides an especially interesting case study in political and social adjustment. Taking a generational view and using longitudinal studies of some of the major political players of the era, Nystrom asks fundamentally new questions about life in the post¬óCivil War South: Who would emerge as leaders in the prostrate but economically ambitious city? How would whites who differed over secession come together over postwar policy? Where would the mixed-race middle class and newly freed slaves fit in the new order? Nystrom follows not only the period's broad contours and occasional bloody conflicts but also the coalition building and the often surprising liaisons that formed to address these and related issues. His unusual approach breaks free from the worn stereotypes of Reconstruction to explore the uncertainty, self-doubt, and moral complexity that haunted Southerners after the war. This probing look at a generation of New Orleanians and how they redefined a society shattered by the Civil War engages historical actors on their own terms and makes real the human dimension of life during this difficult period in American history.


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We often think of Reconstruction as an unfinished revolution. Justin A. Nystrom's original study of the aftermath of emancipation in New Orleans takes a different perspective, arguing that the politics of the era were less of a binary struggle over political supremacy and morality than they were about a quest for stability in a world rendered uncertain and unfamiliar by th We often think of Reconstruction as an unfinished revolution. Justin A. Nystrom's original study of the aftermath of emancipation in New Orleans takes a different perspective, arguing that the politics of the era were less of a binary struggle over political supremacy and morality than they were about a quest for stability in a world rendered uncertain and unfamiliar by the collapse of slavery.Commercially vibrant and racially unique before the Civil War, New Orleans after secession and following Appomattox provides an especially interesting case study in political and social adjustment. Taking a generational view and using longitudinal studies of some of the major political players of the era, Nystrom asks fundamentally new questions about life in the post¬óCivil War South: Who would emerge as leaders in the prostrate but economically ambitious city? How would whites who differed over secession come together over postwar policy? Where would the mixed-race middle class and newly freed slaves fit in the new order? Nystrom follows not only the period's broad contours and occasional bloody conflicts but also the coalition building and the often surprising liaisons that formed to address these and related issues. His unusual approach breaks free from the worn stereotypes of Reconstruction to explore the uncertainty, self-doubt, and moral complexity that haunted Southerners after the war. This probing look at a generation of New Orleanians and how they redefined a society shattered by the Civil War engages historical actors on their own terms and makes real the human dimension of life during this difficult period in American history.

31 review for New Orleans after the Civil War: Race, Politics, and a New Birth of Freedom

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Chick

    Excellent book that explains the political chaos of postbellum New Orleans without resorting to dull Reconstruction stereotypes. This nuanced portrayal of the times, with a strong attention to the players of the era (Warmoth, Ogden, Badger, etc.) makes for a rich history, that is more tragic than the narrow emancipationists/revisionist narratives. It would make for one hell of a TV mini-series.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Steffen

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brad Richard

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Ross

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Leyda

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jd

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

  9. 5 out of 5

    Luqdah

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maya

  11. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  12. 5 out of 5

    Manya

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wikimedia Italia

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna C

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robin Kemp

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jane Goldstein

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rappy Winters

  18. 5 out of 5

    Teralyn Pilgrim

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Morton

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Hardesty

  21. 4 out of 5

    Todd Zimmer

  22. 5 out of 5

    John

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mason

  24. 5 out of 5

    Neon

  25. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  27. 4 out of 5

    John

  28. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jasmin Perkins

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christi Taylor

  31. 5 out of 5

    Lucas

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