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Iron Confederacies: Southern Railways, Klan Violence, and Reconstruction Paperback – May 31, 1999

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Iron Confederacies: Southern Railways, Klan Violence, and Reconstruction + Chancellorsville 1863: The Souls of the Brave
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (May 31, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807848034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807848036
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,401,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A significant and welcome contribution that will stimulate years of important discussion on the nature of Reconstruction." -- American Historical Review

"An outstanding work in social history. . . . Nelson writes in a simple and lively style." -- Southern Historian

"The story is captivatingly written, briskly paced, and contains a wealth of detail." -- Journal of Southern History

"[A] fine study, which offers new and fresh interpretations and does so by integrating a range of disciplines." -- Civil War Book Review

"[This] new book tracing the contributions of slave labor to one sector of the economy helps . . . concretize the reparations question." -- Atlantic Unbound


This impressive book combines penetrating knowledge of the financial and managerial aspects of railroad building with a compelling grassroots depiction of social change and conflict. It advances our understanding of the economic, racial, and social aspects of Reconstruction in a significant way. As an added bonus, the writing is clear and lively.--Paul D. Escott, Wake Forest University

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James Hoogerwerf on March 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
As the title suggests, Scott Reynolds monograph focuses on Southern railroad development from a political, social and economic perspective. Before the war states rights advocates prevented connecting tracks between the states for fear of losing control of established economic patterns. Rail development was also limited by the shortage of investment capital. To raise money states guaranteed stock by a system called "hypethecation" which made the stock marketable abroad. During the war connecting links were forged out of necessity, but wartime use and shortages left the system in a deplorable state. The author well describes this in the harrowing tale of CSA President Davis and his family evacuating Richmond in 1865. The struggle for control after the Civil War pits the conservative elements, i.e. the Klan, against the new economic opportunity of freedmen. The railroad feeds the violence between the two, sparked in Alamance, NC and Spartenburg, SC.

In Reconstruction control is usurped from A. B. Andrews' innovative southern business, the Seaboard Inland Air Line, by a northerner, Tom Scott. He invents the concept of the holding company which served the purpose of shielding those really in power with the result that investors now could confidently put money in securities and not fictional "hypethecated" investments. Money dried up for Southern investors leaving Northerners in control. But peace demanded accommodation. Cotton and tobacco filled rail cars perpetuating staple agricultural and Southern conservatives achieved redemption. On the other hand African Americans suffered a new humiliation in laboring under a convict labor system.

Nelson's scope is limited to the important route between Richmond and Atlanta.
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