- Series: Studies in the Legal History of the South Ser.
- Hardcover: 222 pages
- Publisher: University of Georgia Press (August 31, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0820326240
- ISBN-13: 978-0820326245
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,254,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Reconstruction of Southern Debtors: Bankruptcy after the Civil War (Studies in the Legal History of the South Ser.)
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Thompson clarifies the complex and intimate links between post-Appomattox bankruptcy policies, race-equality-focused Reconstruction, and the swift renewal of southern whites' domination of their states.(Harold Hyman William P. Hobby Professor Emeritus of History, Rice University)
It is known that sometimes narrow topics may yield illuminating interpretations. Such is the case with Elizabeth Lee Thompson's study of the Bankruptcy Act of 1867. It has much to tell us about southerners and states' rights, the immediate debt problem of the postbellum South, the ideological constraints operating on Republican congressmen, the gendered quality of mid-nineteenth-century legislation, and the timing of the end of Reconstruction. This is a fine contribution to the history of Reconstruction.(James L. Huston author of Calculating the Value of the Union: Slavery, Property Rights, and the Economic Origins of the Civil War)
This is a tightly argued, intensively researched book. . . . The strength of this book is its ability to deal effectively with its chosen topic. . . . Its usefulness comes through its suggestions of importat connections with other recent works on debt and bankruptcy and on the economy of the South. Its promise lies in its reflection of an historian capable of giving life to what was once an arcane and obscure topic.(Jonathon M. Chu Civil War Book Review)
Lucid and fascinating . . . The Reconstruction of Southern Debtors is a welcome addition to Reconstruction historiography. Thompson . . . Sheds new light on why Radical Republicans failed to fundamentally transform the South's economic, social, and political hierarchy during Reconstruction.(Florida Historical Quarterly)
This study of the Bankruptcy Act of 1867 is a welcome contribution to both Reconstruction-era historiography and southern legal history . . . The Reconstruction of Southern Debtors is a well-written study of a neglected topic in Reconstruction historiography. The strength of this book is Thompson’s ability to shed light on a significant piece of economic legislation that Reconstruction scholars have omitted from the historiography(Southern Historian)
Thompson’s book adds an interesting and new dimension to this familiar story [of Reconstruction].(American Historical Review)
Carefully crafted . . . This book makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Reconstruction. . . . Thompson writes in a clear and accessible style, and she very commendably avoids burdening the reader with legal jargon.(Journal of American History)
Well grounded in thorough research.(Paul D. Escott Civil War History)
From the Publisher
How federal bankruptcy legislation helped entrench the white power structure in the post-Civil War South
Top customer reviews
Although well written, and seemingly well-researched, Thompson's work suffers from two apparent bias problems. Thompson seems to posit two policy issues that are inter-woven throughout the book: 1) the apparent hypocrisy of federal government hating southerners who nonetheless utilized federal bankruptcy, and 2) the near total absence of African-American debtors using the 1867 Bankruptcy Act. As most modern works are inclined to do, Thompson seems to long for a more punitive Reconstruction. Moreover, even though she acknowledges that the 1867 act was not terribly helpful to African-Americans at the time because most had not had adequate time or opportunity to incur debt, she continues to criticize the act because it did not create more economic opportunity for freedmen. She fails to explain how the 1867 Act, designed to restructure or resolve debt, could have been amended to create opportunity for those who did not yet have debt. Aside from her policy detours, this book seems empirically solid and reveals an under-considered layer of Reconstruction policy.