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The Violent Bear It Away

The Violent Bear It Away

(p.168) Six The Violent Bear It Away
Beyond Redemption
Carole Emberton
University of Chicago Press

During the period from 1868 to 1873, most Southern whites struggled to find the right response to Ulysses Grant’s election and his promise to bring peace to the warring region by protecting black voters. Dejected by their crushing defeat at the polls in the 1868 and 1872 elections, several leading Democrats looked for ways to revive their party and get their foot in the door of the Southern state and local governments. When Grant launched the economic modernization program of constructing cotton factories, the Democrats of the South experienced a legitimacy crisis. To solve this problem of legitimacy, the Democrats applied the “new departure” strategy to distance themselves from the issues of slavery and racial relations and focus more on other matters. To the many white men of the South, these reforms represented a second surrender to the North, as this represented their acceptance of their own defeated fate.

Keywords:   new departure, democrats, Ulysses Grant, racial relations, economic modernization

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